The moment we’ve been waiting for since February is a mere week away. On November 2nd the first Michelin Red Guide NYC 2006 will officially be released. Here’s how it’ll roll out:
If you thought the gray lady was getting an exclusive on the info, you’re wrong. The Michelin man’s decided to be trés democratic and release the information online. All the stars and complete list available for one and all at the same time. (Bien sûr it’ll post immediately on Snack. So start checking in…oh say starting next Monday morning.)
Later that night at the Guggenheim Museum, close to 1000 chefs, restaurateurs, media and other Gotham luminaries will gather to toast and get a copy of the book. Invites went out to all 50 three-star Michelin chefs worldwide, with RSVP so far from Georges Blanc, Guy Savoy, Joël Robuchon and Marc Meneau. By the time the Champagne flutes are full, chefs should know what rating they got, so no public surprises of the agony of defeat.
The books hit retail stores across the country on November 4th.
The big question is….who got three stars? Of course there are three star restaurants in NYC, or else Michelin would not have come. My sources say two, no more than three. Per Se is the favorite. Everyone I’ve heard from says it’s Per Se and… Daniel/Jean Georges/Le Bernardin. Pick one. You can make valid arguments for all. They all have four stars from the New York Times, so it makes perfect sense.
Oddly, no one mentions Alain Ducasses’s ADNY, because most assume it’s a sure thing. Ducasse is the world’s record holder for Michelin stars with two three-star restaurants. Is it possible that Michelin could deny Ducasse in NYC? I think not, especially when you consider that much of the staff cited in the restaurant’s disappointing three-star review in the Times has left the building. It’s the perfect non-four-star restaurant to make the cut. It wouldn’t be any fun if Michelin was just a truncated four-star Times list now would it?
Industry insider’s favorite topic, though, is the PR angle. For those playing along at home, Michelin hired Susan Magrino Agency in December 2004 to run the show, partly on recommendation from Ducasse, who hired the agency to represent him in 2001. Indeed the same firm and much of the same staff work on both accounts. Interesting coincidence? Consider the lesser known back-story. Jean-Luc Naret, monsieur le directeur de Michelin, had a long career in the hotel biz before coming to Michelin in 2003. Said career included time at the One&Only Resorts and Sandy Lane, represented by….Susan Magrino. Seems they’ve know each other for years.
So to recap. Three three-star joints. Per Se, ADNY and …pick your favorite. Though Naret has insisted “there will be lots of surprises” in the book. And I’m not quite sure what that means, but I can’t wait to find out.
Note: Due to technical difficulties…I’m unable to pop links in the text to enhance your reading experience. Check back later for the linkage.
The going orange week has come to an end. And a brand new snack on display. But just because we’re not orange any more, doesn’t mean problem solved. The gift giving season is just around the corner. Spending some time with The Food Bank For New York City is a sure way to get off the naughty list and onto the nice.
On Monday night, Mark Bittman celebrated the release of his latest (nay the heaviest?) cooking tome The Best Recipes in the World at the soigné digs of Steve Ruben (publisher Broadway Books) off Central Park West. No burritos with Daniel this time, but nice wine and nibbles with Pino Luongo, Rocco Dispirito, Peter Elliot, Ed Levine and a smattering of literary types. Billed as ‘more than 1000 international dishes to cook at home’ the four-pound book took six years and trips to 44 countries to produce. Bittman outlines his logic and plan of attack in the introduction, a good place to get your bearings because it’s a really big book. His goal was to detail the most common recipes from around the world that are underrepresented in most cookbooks….until now. The international pantry section is particularly helpful and it seems the key to global cooking, as Bittman points out, most techniques are universal, it’s the ingredients that make the difference.
While downtown at One Astor Place, Esquire Magazine commandeered the 16th floor penthouse to fete Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Ted Allen's The Food You Want to Eat. A nattily dress group of metro guys (including Stanley Tucci and Rocco again!) and gals munched on snacks by Kerry Heffernan, while Allen signed books in the media room. His paperback book comes with a nifty clear plastic cover, making it easy to clean after attempting one of the ‘100 smart, simple recipes.’ It’s got lots of basic information to guide your shopping choices and entertaining style, written in a very conversational tone. If you’ve ever seen Allen on TV, you will hear his voice while reading. That can be a plus or minus, depending on your perspective.
Pound for pound - the Bittman book gives more recipe bang for your buck. Though the recipes are pretty accessible, I’d say it’s for people who really cook. Allen’s book is perfect for the occasional culinary romp. The social cook, if you will.
Note* I received both books for free from the publishers. Each came with a handy press release, excerpted below.
The Best Recipes in the World: More Thank 1,000 International Dishes to Cook at Home by Mark Bittman
Published October 11, 2005 Broadway Books $29.95
Back-of-the-book blurbs by: José Andrés, Lidia Bastianich, Daniel Boulud, Suvir Saran and Paula Wolfert.
From the release…
“A journalist, with no formal culinary training, Mark speaks the home cook’s language…”
“…you could be enjoying a delicious homemade caramelized shrimp dish for dinner in about the same amount of time it takes for your take out order to arrive at your door.”
The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes by Ted Allen
Published October 18, 2005 Clarkson Potter $27.50
Back-of-the-book blurbs by: Mario Batali, Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Sara Moulton and David Rosengarten.
From the release…
“…is for men and women, single or spoken for, new or old to the kitchen.”
“Ted wants your hands out of the cereal box and into something you have prepared, using the simple techniques and instructions he provides.”
* Note to the note, I do follow a strict “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything” policy – most of the time. Meaning, I get lots of free books and write about the ones I find interesting. Does that change your view on what you read above?
Admittedly the snack life is the luxe life. Surrounded by chefs (both at home and abroad) I have more than my share of good meals and thankfully have never gone hungry. To attain karmic balance and to turn my gratitude to generosity, I’ve been an avid supporter of The food Bank For New York City for many years. Since 1983, it’s filled the pantries of more than 1200 community kitchens (in the five boroughs) with about 67 million pounds of food annually, feeding 240,000 people a day. 94¢ of every dollar goes directly into their programs. One dollar = Five meals.
This week snack is going orange (along with the Empire State Building, Time Out New York and Fleishman Hillard, just to name a few) to help raise awareness and end hunger. What can you do? Host a virtual food drive or cooking party. Make a donation of $25 and wear the pin designed by Matt Mahurin.
Orange is our color. This week make it yours too because there should not be 2 million hungry people in our city.
Do you remember when you were a kid, how important it was to pick the right lunchbox for school? Whether it was a TV show, cartoon hero or toy, it was an
Last Thursday at NYC’s Wooster Project Gallery, The Edge paid $13,000 for a lunchbox designed and signed by Mr. President himself. Bono lost a bidding war to Chris Martin who paid $20,000 for the Michael Stipe box. The star-studded party auction was the kick-off for The Lunch Box Auction, happening now on EBay. Star boxes on the virtual block include Maggie Gyllenhall, Jeff Bridges, Crash (John Matos) and Helena Christensen. Monies raised go to The Lunch Box Fundand The Food Bank For New York City to help feed hungry kids in NYC and South Africa. Bidding ends October 24th.
Lunch boxes designed by (from top to bottom) Bill Clinton, Mike Meyers, Marie-Louise Parker and Justin Theroux, and David Bowie and Iman.
It’s 10am in New York City. Do you know where you party is? As you read, the street in front of 145 West Broadway has been closed. The tent is going up. All preparations for the super-fete happing tonight for the 25th Anniversary of The Odeon. About 1500 invitations have gone out worldwide (yes you should have gotten it by now) including building residents, members of Community Board #1 (who were nice enough to approve the street closing and tent raising) literati, chefs, actors and the local police precinct. About 1000 celebrants are expected. The 1200 square-foot tent’s technically spec’d to hold 250 – so let’s hope for good weather or svelte guests. Normal traffic resumes at 1am tonight.
Earlier this year Ferran Adria (the one, the zeitgeist) of the renowned El Bulli on Spain’s Costa Brava announced a collaboration with Spanish designer Armand Basi, to create “Couture for the Table” a line of tableware, chef gear and t-shirts. Juste de Nin (pictured with Adria), Armand Basi’s creative manager is the lead artistic director with much input from Adria. The official launch (with the goods on display) happened about two weeks ago at a press breakfast in Barcelona’s La Casa Llotja de Mar. The line will be sold in Spain, Japan, Europe and the US.
Adria may be coming to New York this November to promote the line and the recent stateside publication of his gastro-tome El Bulli 1998-2002. There may be a New York showroom in the works on West 34th Street. Distribution's not yet been confirmed, so it’s unclear where it will be available in America. The retail debut was originally scheduled for this November, but sources say it may be delayed until January. Until then snack on these photos and make your wish-list.
Faithful snackers may have noticed a bit of a gap between the last two posts. Contrary to your assumptions, I was not being lazy; I was en voyage in Zurich. I tried desperately to find that uniquely special Swiss objet to bring home, and came up empty handed. With the malling of the western world near complete, what’s the point of paying more to carry home something you can buy on Fifth Avenue? I was a sad shopper until I went to the grocery store. Happily, there are still a lot of regional differences in terms of what people eat, even amongst the offerings of the global brands. Heinz Exotic Sauce anyone? How about the Knobluach? Everything I brought back in my suitcase was edible.
How could I resist the allure of food in a tube? Seems the Swiss have a penchant for it, with everything from pâté-like sandwich spreads to seafood spreads for canapés and chestnut ‘vermicelli’ for making mont-blanc at home (which I intend to do…at some point before the 2007 expiration date). Grab a six pack of rainbow eggs, a can of budget drink and a tube of tuna and you’ve got a great in-flight picknickeier. Or some very unusual souvenirs.
A faithful snack reader (well-connected in tvland) was nice enough to share the ratings for the Bourdain-athon last Monday night. How did the Foxified and Tony verité versions fare?
Apparently the most valuable viewers (ie, those most likely to buy advertisers' products) are adults aged 18-49. On Monday night there were 3.7 million of them sitting in front of the tube, myself included. 1.7% watched Kitchen Confidential, down from last week's premiere, which hit a solid 2.0%. The top show? CSI: Miami with a 5.7%, revealing America's taste for crime over cuisine.
Over on the Travel Channel, No Reservations pulled in just about 225,000 armchair travelers. Though expectations are different for cable versus network, the show is somewhere around 40th place for the channel.
The overall rating champion at this point is the paperback version of Tony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential -- it's currently ranked #390 on Amazon.com.
Tonight we’ll see if the third week’s the charm.