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Dan Barber Forgets About Utensils and More News

Dan Barber Forgets About Utensils and More News

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In today's Media Mix, Marc Forgione heads Abe & Arthur's, plus your Instagram food photos in song

The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.

Instagram in Song: Yep, you Instagramming that lemon tart is now part of the lyrics to "Look at this Instagram," set to that Nickelback tune that you know and hate. [Jezebel]

Dan Barber Against Cutlery: Dan Barber talks about a failed attempt to lose utensils in the dining room, but argues for spontaneity and interaction, sans forks and knives. [Food and Wine]

Marc Forgione's New Gig: The Iron Chef has joined EMM group to head up Abe & Arthur's, where he wants to do classic New York in fine dining (think dirty water dogs). [NY Times]

Ferran Adrià's Cooking App: In case you missed it, you can get Adrià en Casa for some cooking fanatic's holiday present. [Fine Dining Lovers]

Gerard Butler's Food Faux Pas: The actor admits that his most embarrassing moment involved him asking Iceland's minister of agriculture for a ham and cheese sandwich. [Newsweek]

Chef Dan Barber & Alexa Join NRDC’s “Save The Food” Campaign

I bet we’ve all had the experience of standing over the trash can, staring at what was once a tasty-looking snack, entrée or piece of fruit before we forgot about it and let it get scary in the back of our fridge. We’ve kicked ourselves over money spent on food we end up tossing out and pledged to do better the following week.

Just over 40 percent of all the food that goes to waste in the United States gets wasted in our homes. It’s nothing more and nothing less than you and me throwing food into the trash, down the disposer, or onto the compost pile. And when food goes to waste, so does everything it took to get it to our plates—water, land, energy, labor and money. The good news is that this means that we, as individuals and families, can make a big dent in the problem just by taking small steps in our daily lives to keep more food out of the trash.

NRDC, in partnership with Ad Council, is here to help. Last year, we launched the “Save The Food” national public service campaign. Save The Food aims to help consumers recognize the problem and inspire them to take action. If you haven’t already seen our videos, caught the action on social media, or seen Save The Food signs on billboards or busses, be on the lookout! Cities, businesses, universities and others across the country—from San Diego to Minneapolis to Nashville—are diving in.

Together, we’re having an impact. New survey data from Ad Council shows that since our campaign launched, awareness is growing nationwide, specifically among moms and millennials – our target audiences. Now, more than half the population strongly agrees that food waste is a big problem, and nearly 90 percent of people who have seen the PSA videos have taken steps to reduce their food waste. Yes! And what will be the topic of discussion at your next dinner party? Two-thirds of people who are aware of the campaign report talking about food waste with their friends and family—more than twice those who aren’t familiar with it.

Chef Dan Barber in new video PSA for Save The Food campaign

Today, we’re seeking to build on that progress by launching phase two of the campaign. The second phase comes with more tools to raise consumer awareness about the problem and empower people to take action in their own lives.

For starters, we’re excited to partner with renowned Blue Hill and Blue Hill Stone Barns chef Dan Barber. Dan stars in a new Save The Food video where he surprises a couple at home to show them how to transform those often-forgotten food scraps into a delicious meal. The hope is that he will inspire home chefs to challenge themselves to get creative and do the same.

In addition to the video, we’re launching a new Save The Food Skill for Alexa—Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual personal assistant that provides users the ability to dictate commands, search the web and more. Now, saving the food is as easy as asking Alexa where to store the strawberries you just brought home, or how to tell if that yogurt is still safe to eat. Need a recipe to use up those browning bananas? Alexa can help with that too. You can watch the demo here.

NRDC has also updated our landmark Wasted report, which helped spark a national conversation about food waste when it was released five years ago. In the five years since, there’s been so much progress ranging from panning the corporate sector to cities, states, consumers, and even international action to reduce the amount of food we waste. Our second edition of Wasted explores how far we’ve come and where we need to go next. It includes updated statistics on the environmental, social and economic impact of food waste in the U.S., and recommendations for the pathway forward.

Personally, I love the Idea that I can minimize my environmental impact when I make sure that good food doesn’t go to waste—and I’m saving money at the same time. Save The Food is showing that being environmentally conscious and budget conscious go hand-in-hand and can be surprisingly fun! Find out for yourself—visit for new food-saving tips, tricks, and recipes, and check out our new report to learn more about the “bigger picture” of wasted food from farm to fork.

If we all start making small changes in our daily lives, together we can make a big difference. Everyone who eats can be a part of the solution.

Last-Minute Gifts: Give These Five Fabulous Cookbooks

If you’re still looking for a present, gift one of these new cookbooks that impressed our columnist.

Aleksandra Crapanzano

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Handout

Even in good years, the sudden appearance of the holidays always seems to take me by surprise.

You’ll find me still lingering in cranberry sauce mode long after everyone else has made that jarring switch to candy canes. But then, in the nick of time, I’m all in because, deep down, I love and fervently believe in rituals. They are, to my mind, the best markers of the passage of time.

And what better ritual is there than the giving of gifts? And I almost always give cookbooks. Yes, as the author of a few of them, I admit to being biased. But, if you’ll forgive me for sounding as corny as a Hallmark card, a cookbook is truly the gift that keeps on giving. A good recipe will last you a lifetime and never go out of style. That, of course, can’t be said for the trendy gift gadgets that make a splash and then inevitably end up in your junk drawer by the end of January.

Here are the five cookbooks I’m giving friends this holiday and why I choose them. And the good news for those of us late to the game—these books are all easy to find, easy to wrap and easy to ship.

This year we’re all spending a little too much time in our kitchens. Most everyone I know, myself included, has hit a few ruts, whether out of dishwashing fatigue or flavor fatigue. (Does pasta five nights a week sound familiar?) Authors Carrie Solomon and Adrian Moore catapulted me back into cooking action with Chefs’ Fridges, an intimate look into the home refrigerators of 35 of the best chefs in the world.

I devoured this book, spending countless hours marveling at the radish kimchi in Dan Barber’s fridge, the bottle of creamy umami sauce in Ivan Orkin’s fridge and the fresh coconut sitting in Dominique Crenn’s perfectly curated refrigerator drawer. I wanted to reach out and pluck the enormous tin of caviar on the bottom shelf of Daniel Boulud’s treasure trove of a fridge, while Pierre Gagnaire’s apparent affection for supermarket applesauce made me feel significantly better about my own predilection for shortcuts. While there are recipes in the book, the true pleasure is in groupie voyeurism it affords. This is the gift for sophisticated food lovers, for whom a private viewing of a chef’s fridge offers the same giddy delight as a tour of Sarah Jessica Parker’s closet would for a fashionista.

A few years ago, my husband’s godmother, Jean Halberstam, died. Jean was the most exquisite home cook I’ve known. Her dinner parties were legendary. Each course was perfectly conceived and executed. At the end of her life, she shared her favorite recipes with me. I knew she was a cookbook cook, not an improvisational cook, but I confess I expected her recipes to be written by the likes of Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that two-thirds of them were straight out of The Barefoot Contessa. I immediately bought all of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa books and became a devoted fan. So, of course, I was among the first to order the most recent of Garten’s books, Modern Comfort Food and start cooking my way through it, cover to cover. Not only does it deliver some of the comfort we so desperately need during this nerve-wracking moment in time, it is also full of fail-proof timeless recipes. A few favorites: Baked Raclette, Cacio e Pepe Cheese Puffs, and Shellfish and Chorizo Stew. Her books are not for those seeking esoteric dishes or hoping to discover rarified ingredients, but the pages will be well-worn and earmarked in nearly everyone else’s library. You can’t go wrong giving this one.

The scent of the holidays may be evergreen and ginger, but come a dark winter’s night, the smell I truly crave is that of Nancy Silverton’s restaurant Chi Spacca in Los Angeles. Enter the restaurant and you’re immediately hit with a pleasant mix of burning wood smoke, rosemary and garlic and—dare I say it—meat grilling—which creates a sort of primal, stomach growling hunger. I’ve been known to walk into the restaurant on some far-fetched pretense just to take a big whiff. Finally, the restaurant has a cookbook, and there’s not a single recipe in it that I don’t want to make. Chi Spacca is known for its carnivorous indulgences—Moorish Lamb Shoulder Chops, Grilled Tomahawk Pork Chops with Fennel Pollen and the best steak in town—but Silverton’s salads and desserts are not to be missed. This is the book for friends who like bold, hearty fare and aren’t afraid of potatoes cooked in whipped lardo or black rice crisped in duck fat.

One of the most inventive books of the year comes from London chef Ravinder Bhogal and is called Jikoni: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from An Immigrant Kitchen. Jikoni means kitchen in Bhogal’s native Kenyan, but her food also carries the influence of her Indian heritage and her years in London. Recipes for Duck Rendang and for Roast Parsnips with Dates, Tamarind Chutney and for Yogurt Saffron-Roasted Turkey with Freekeh, Pistachio and Preserved Lemon Stuffing are original, bold and vibrant. Give this to your friends with wanderlust. Or, really, to anyone feeling landlocked and dreaming of travels past and future.

Jikoni Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from An Immigrant Kitchen

And let’s not forget dessert! From Baking at the 20th Century Café: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake, I plan to make the Kókusz Torta (a coconut marmalade torte with chocolate glaze) for Christmas and a Chestnut Apple Linzer Torte for New Year’s Day. A word of warning: this stunning book is not for the faint of heart. The recipe for honey cake runs four, text-heavy pages, and the cake is composed of ten fragile layers, but the result is spectacular. This is the book for friends who’ve baked their way through the pandemic and are ready to go pro, or who consider baking a weekend project rather than a quick hit of sugar.

How to Make Your Vegan Burger Awesome

Vegan burgers have suffered from a bad reputation for years. People thought they were either dry or mushy, bland or icky. But if you do it right (like Dan Barber’s famed beet burger), a vegan burger can be as umami-packed and rich as your bloody beef burger. No, really. Well, OK, almost. Note the big qualifier there: If you do it right. There are many ways to mess it up, says Diane Bezanski, recipe developer, food blogger and photographer, and chef-owner of the Fogwood & Fig café in Port Jervis, New York.

Bezanski ran a pop-up that sold four kinds of vegan burgers twice a month in Brooklyn, New York, and Morristown, New Jersey. At one point, she offered eight kinds of vegan burgers through her Flirty Burger Bar catering service, such as the chickpea sweet potato burger with Sriracha peanut sauce, ginger sesame slaw, house pickles, onion, and avocado. The most popular burger is her black lentil and mushroom patty with chili cherry sauce, avocado, arugula, onion, and Sriracha lemon aioli.

Then Bezanski moved to the quiet countryside in Milford, Pennsylvania, and hatched her plan to open the cafe. Fogwood & Fig will has a rotating selection of vegan burgers in addition to sandwiches, bowls, and other treats (like vegan cheesecake).

Bezanski has been a vegan for five years and cooking longer than that, so she knows what’s what. She gave us these tips for the very best vegan burgers around.

1. Don’t add too much flour. “That makes it gummy, just a really bad texture and mouthfeel,” Bezanski says. “When you bite into it, the patty falls apart.” For two cups of beans or lentils, she uses a half cup of flour. “I can go up to three-quarters if the batter is a little too wet, but not more than that.” To make your burger gluten-free, grind oats in your coffee grinder or food processor.

2. Bake, don’t fry. Baking is another way to help the burger bond. It’s also a way for you to make sure the inside cooks all the way through without burning the outside. You can sear it afterward, just like you (or omnivores) do with meat. Use a cast-iron skillet or a pan with an oven-safe handle so it can go straight from oven to stovetop.

3. Don’t overcook your legumes. That can make for a mushy burger. Black lentils are Bezanski’s favorite legumes, but black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and cannellini beans are also common.

4. Mix it up. Bezanski’s go-to burger has not only black lentils, but mushrooms, assertive seasonings, rice, nuts, and seeds for various textures and flavors. “Toasted walnuts, ground up, give it a kind of meaty vibe,” she says. Another example: Bezanski likes to use sweet potato in her curry chickpea patty for another dimension of flavor and mouthfeel.

Dan Barber's Culinary Crusade

Dan Barber by a barn at Stone Barns Center in the Hudson Valley.

There are no menus at James Beard Award–winning chef Dan Barber's restaurant in Pocantico Hills, New York. Instead, visitors to Blue Hill at Stone Barns are issued a booklet called "Field and Pasture: Four Season Journal," a monthly compendium of the seasonal ingredients found in the lush, rolling farmland surrounding the family-owned eatery. The entry for July features a selection of ultra-local ingredients—Mokum carrots, Finn Dorset lambs, golden purslane—that will appear on the nightly menu. The last pages are left blank for guests to note their impressions as they taste their way through one of Barber's decadent, intensely flavorful multicourse dinners—equal parts educational experience and unforgettable meal, which is just the way Barber wants it.

Barber opened the restaurant in the spring of 2004 within the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture (the original Blue Hill was founded four years earlier in Manhattan) with his brother and business partner, David, and sister-in-law Laureen, who designed the space. While Barber, 42, still dons chef's whites to work in the kitchen, he is also one of the most vital voices in American food today, an avatar of the still radical notion that what we eat can change not just our health but our culture and environment, too. Drawing on a deep wellspring of enthusiasm and intellect, Barber turns his laser-beam focus to authoring pleas for proper land stewardship in the pages of food and literary journals, giving talks at TED conferences on topics like sustainable fisheries, and working with the Obama administration on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Though Barber is one of locavorism's most articulate advocates, he isn't a purist. His gastronomic mission is too nimble for dogma. So how does one sum up Dan Barber's beliefs? Let the chef speak for himself.

I'd like some to explain the phenomenon of the self-righteous vegetarian to me. I'm not here to say I don't eat vegetables—I do, a lot of them—but, from a soil perspective, they're actually more costly than a cow grazing on grass. Vegetables deplete soil. They're extractive. If soil has a bank account, vegetables make the largest withdrawals. So without animal manure, where are you going to get your soil fertility for all those vegetables in an organic system? You are, by some measures, forcing crops into a kind of imbalance.

At Trattoria La Tavernetta, the five Vittozzi sisters, their parents and grandmother fill handwritten menus with Neapolitan classics, from lasagna and calamari fritti to meatballs.

Photos: Christopher Warde-Jones and Connie Miller of CB Creatives Styling: Christine Tobin

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In bold heaps and gilded piles, Christmas spills from doorways along Via San Gregorio Armeno, a cobblestone alley dedicated to a peculiar Neapolitan tradition&mdashthe assembling of elaborate, often offbeat home Nativity scenes. Dozens of artisans craft and sell miniature characters: Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the Magi, of course, but also lesser-known attendees at the birth of Christ&mdashthe pizza maker, the butcher with charcuterie, the nonna making meatballs. It is Naples, after all.

That last character amused me most as I wound my way past the shops, down toward the Gulf of Naples and into yet another, less festive alley. I’d come to Italy to learn this city’s way with meatballs. I’d been told one bite would change the way I thought about this simple red sauce dish. That seemed a stretch. But then again, if they were good enough for Jesus.

Down that new alley, I was greeted by yet more heaps and piles. This time in the windows of Trattoria La Tavernetta. Mounds of eggplant, mushrooms, peppers and zucchini, all glistening, charred and doused in olive oil. Next to them, taped to the glass, a photocopied handwritten menu for the day. Lasagna classica Napoletana al forno. Penne al pomodoro. Calamari fritti. Fettuccine alla Bolognese. And, of course, polpette al sugo. Simply, meatballs with sauce.

Walk into Tavernetta&mdashall white tiles and red brick arches&mdashand you quickly realize family is as foremost as food. Five sisters, their parents and their grandmother, Maria Grazia Cibelli. At 74, she holds forth in the tiny kitchen, assembling that lasagna, carefully layering one sheet of noodles, one ladle of ragu, one handful of tiny meatballs at a time. She was so good a cook at home, she opened a restaurant back in the ’70s. Her family followed her.

Making Neapolitan Meatballs

I sit at one of the restaurant’s nine tables and order as many dishes as it will hold. House wine is poured from a chilled carafe. The room hushes unexpectedly. Enza Vittozzi, one of the sisters, offers an impromptu performance. Still in her apron and standing nearly motionless beneath the archway that separates dining room from kitchen, she opens her mouth. Her voice builds and expands, reverberating. “Ave Maria” washes over the room, wine glasses vibrating, the song a presence itself. A classically trained opera singer. The family restaurant is Enza’s side gig between performances. Today it also serves as her stage.

As applause erupts, the food arrives. Cibelli’s lasagna is rich, sweet and meaty, those tiny meatballs tucked between layers of cheese and pasta. Pasta Genovese, a tangle of caramelized onions and noodles, all studded with bits of beef that add seasoning more than substance. A simple broccoli, mostly leaves, blanched, browned and bathed in a mix of red pepper flakes, olive oil and bold garlic.

But without question the meatballs are the star of the impressive spread. Two massive orbs of ground beef set in a shallow pool of ragu, red and glistening. They are served as often with pasta as without. Today, they stand alone. One bite and I understand their inclusion in the Nativity. Based on size alone, I expect them to be dense and heavy, but instead they are deceptively light. My fork cleaves them easily. They are so tender, I can’t believe they hold their shape. The taste is meaty, savory, rich and balanced by the sweet, smooth ragu. Plenty of wine and these meatballs are all I need.

Credit for the meatballs goes to another sister, Rosa Vittozzi. She walks me through the recipe, but it is so minimalist&mdashand the ingredients so common&mdashit’s hard to understand how they combine to make meatballs so different from and so much better than any I’ve ever had. Cheese, eggs, parsley, bread and beef hardly represent a dramatic departure from the norm. So Rosa invites me to return a few mornings later to watch her make them.

Meatballs are a multigenerational family affair at Trattoria La Tavernatta

When I arrive that day by 10:30 a.m., the restaurant already is a fluster of activity. Piles of produce are scattered across the dining room tables, the sisters having turned the space into prep areas. Rosa has spread the meatball ingredients over several. In a large pot, the soft, white innards of numerous sourdough loaves soak in water. In a large metal tray, eggs have been cracked over a mound of ground beef. Parsley and grated pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses round it out.

A handful at a time, over and again, she plucks large hunks of bread from the water and squeezes them like a sponge before adding them to the meat and eggs. Soon, the beef is obscured by the bread. So much bread. Surely too much bread. Then she adds the cheeses and parsley and begins to knead. When the mixture is uniform, she grabs a tennis ball of it and, with hands so fast they blur, rolls it between her palms, at times making it almost levitate.

With all that bread I was certain the meatballs would collapse, but she hardly was gentle with them. From here, they can be pan-fried or roasted before finishing in a ragu of little more than olive oil, tomato sauce and fresh basil. When I taste them, again the tenderness amazes me. Despite their size, I eat two without the usual meat bomb belly feeling.

As I continue to eat meatballs across Naples, I learn that the volume of bread indeed is what sets them apart. Rosa uses a mixture that called for 25 percent bread, but some cooks go as high as 40 percent. All of which explains why they are so tender and moist. And despite my concerns, the bread (helped by the eggs) acts a binder, helping them keep their shape even through multiple stages of cooking.

Back at Milk Street, this was an easy adaptation. We stuck close to Rosa’s recipe, including her simple ragu. The one glitch? We struggled to get consistent results when soaking and squeezing the bread. We suspect Rosa’s years of practice make it easy for her. For us the easy part was getting it wrong&mdashwith bread too moist or squeezed too dry. We also found that bread variety mattered greatly in how it retained water.

Our simple solution&mdashpanko breadcrumbs. The coarse white crumbs held moisture consistently and evenly, and required no squeezing. And we noticed no difference between the meatballs made with them and those with bread. The only thing we couldn’t replicate? Enza’s generous helping of “Ave Maria.”

Have Breakfast for Dinner

Lots of healthy, kid-favorite breakfast foods work in a pinch for dinner, too.

  • Toast whole-grain bagels and top with peanut butter. Add low-fat yogurt or milk, and fresh fruit. Buy fruit already sliced at the grocery store to save yourself a step.
  • Make a turkey- or ham-and-cheese omelet with low-fat cheese. Add chopped veggies to it, or top it with salsa. Serve with whole-grain toast and fruit.
  • Top whole-grain pancakes or waffles with nuts and strawberries, or bananas and peanut or almond butter.


Todd, J. Amber Waves, June 2010 vol 8.

South Carolina Cooperative Extension, Clemson University: "Kids in the kitchen," "Quick meals."

Dan Barber Forgets About Utensils and More News - Recipes

The StarChefs Congress Archives: The Early Years

Fergus Henderson, Anthony Bourdain, and Chris Cosentino at the 2006 Guts & Glory panel

Chefs Norman Van Aken, Charlie Trotter, and Emeril Lagasse at the 2009 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Chef Marcus Samuelsson at the 2006 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Chef Masaharu Morimoto butchering a fish at the 2009 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Chef Wylie Dufresne presenting at the 2008 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Chef Mourad Lahlou at the 2010 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Chefs David Kinch, Thomas Keller, and Dan Barber at the 2010 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Chef Suzanne Goin at the 2010 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Chef Daniel Boulud and team at the 2008 StarChefs International Chefs Congress

Join us December 27 - 29 for the Congress Archival Release, celebrating the 14 years of the International Chefs Congress!

As 2020 finally&mdashfinally!&mdashcomes to a close, StarChefs offers a respite for the hospitality community&mdashthe StarChefs Congress Archives: The Early Years. For 14 years, the Congress , a symposium that draws culinary legends from around the world, has been a venue for chefs to learn from one another. This year, the StarChefs Congress takes the form of a video archive release that showcases the very best of past years.

The videos will drop on Youtube and Instagram from December 27-29 in a pay-what-you-can structure. All donations will benefit the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a workforce development nonprofit that provides low-income teens with culinary, professional, and life skills.

At its heart, the StarChefs Congress is about getting hospitality professionals together to be themselves&mdashteachers, bosses, innovators, community leaders, fighters. We hope this look back inspires, entertains, and distracts you as we head into a fresh year.

Stay tuned and follow @starchefs on Instagram for more information.


Leadership Lessons From the Kitchen, 2006

Anthony Bourdain delivers the keynote address on day one

of the 2006 StarChefs International Chefs Congress.

Paul Liebrandt and Jordan Kahn

Artist to Artisan: The Role of a Chef, 2006

In this presentation, Chef Liebrandt explores the relevance

of art in the restaurant industry as it was at the time.

Cocoa Bubbles, Edible Rocks, and Vegetables, 2007

For Andoni Luis Aduriz, it is an imperative to create food that speaks to emotions and the palate. He shows us how to create his edible &ldquorocks&rdquo from potatoes and &ldquovanity&rdquo in the form of shiny chocolate bubbles, stabilized with xanthan gum and made with a fish tank bubbler.

Behind the Scenes at Lucques, AOC, and Tavern, 2010

On the main stage, Chef Suzanne Goin prepares some of her iconic French comfort dishes and lays out her classically driven approach to California cuisine.

Nontraditional Ingredients, 2006

Sam Mason demonstrates how he uses hydrocolloids, or gum systems, to preserve flavor while enhancing texture and viscosity in his desserts.

Getting Down with Lowcountry Cuisine, 2009

Sean Brock illustrates how he uses heirloom and often nearly extinct ingredients in classic lowcountry Southern dishes.

Aging, Brining, and Flavoring, 2007

David Burke presents taste and flavor as two separate concepts,

each used in different ways to describe a dish&rsquos effect on the palate.

Albert Adrià and José Andrés (as translator)

The Hummingbird and The Rock, 2006

Albert Adrià shows how his innovative

techniques overcome obstacles and turn his visions into realities.

Emeril Lagasse, Charlie Trotter, Norman Van Aken

A Four-Way Discussion on the Roots and Evolution of American Cuisine, 2009

This keynote panel features three chefs who have helped shape modern American cuisine in their corners of the country: New Orleans, Chicago, and Florida.

Contemporary Pan-African Cuisine, 2006

Chef Marcus Samuelsson spotlights the myriad influences on the

traditional cuisines of Africa, as well as the trends that are

developing in modern African food.

Dan Barber, Thomas Keller, David Kinch, and Michael Ruhlman

Creativity: Art vs. Craft, 2010

Is cooking an art, a craft, or something in between? This keynote panel

features four individuals who weigh in on all sides of this question.

New Tools of Gastronomy: Service-Ware Reimagined, 2008

Grant Achatz is known for breaking the serving dish mold his presentation illustrates how service pieces can be tools of modern gastronomy.

Putting Vietnamese Street Food on the American Map, 2009

Charles Phan demonstrates two Vietnamese street foods that he&rsquos adapted for the American setting of his pioneering modern Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door.

Audrey Saunders and Tony Conigliaro

Getting to Nose Your Cocktail, 2009

In this seminar, acclaimed mixologists Audrey Saunders and Tony Conigliaro delve into the ingredients, temperatures, techniques, and volatiles that can add scent to cocktails.

The Evolution of a Dish: An Interpretation of Eggs Benedict, 2008

Wylie Dufresne leads the audience through the different phases of preparing eggs benedict: egg, hollandaise, English muffin, bacon, and chives. While executing the components, he describes the history of the dish and the creative process.

Grant Achatz, Daniel Boulud, and Pierre Gagnaire

Modern Cuisine: A Generational Discussion, 2009

A free-flowing conversation among the three renowned chefs covers topics from where they get their inspiration to the art of opening multiple restaurants.

Dave Arnold and Nils Norén

High-Tech Delicious, 2009

Dave Arnold and Nils Norén put on a knockout demonstration of their latest kitchen expeditions: extracting pecan butter and oil using a centrifuge "gluing" thin sheets of lamb and tuna on a warped board to create a marbled meat slice clarifying with pectin X and, as usual, distilling moonshine using a rotary evaporator.

Rohini Dey and Maneet Chauhan

Bastardizing Disparate Cuisines or Innovation? The Deal with Fusion, 2009

Restaurateur Rohini Dey and Chef Maneet Chauhan take the main stage to address the controversy behind fusion cuisine. They interpret the meaning of authenticity, the role of cultural influences in cooking, and where regional cuisine comes into play.

Architecture of Taste, 2006

Pierre Hermé is an explorer of taste in every sense of the term. His presentation focuses on organizing structures and flavors that helped him build a pastry empire.

Traditional Mexican Techniques in a Fine Dining Context, 2008

Enrique Olvera&rsquos presentation puts street food and traditional techniques of Mexico into context and shows how he transformed rustic cuisine to white-tablecloth dining.

Anthony Bourdain, Fergus Henderson, and Chris Cosentino

Guts & Glory Panel, 2006

Bourdain, Henderson, and Cosentino speak candidly and passionately about all things offal. They consider the practice of sustainable eating and why using the entire animal, not just a few of the most prized parts, makes sense from a philosophical, economical, and culinary standpoint.

José Andrés

American Cuisine Through a Spanish Lens, 2009

In this main stage presentation, Chef José Andrés offers his interpretation of traditional American cuisine, examining how American dishes become richer as other cultures contribute new layers to classic American recipes.

Eating is a Multi-Sensory Experience, 2008

In the keynote address, Heston Blumenthal speaks about the ways in which his research ignites his imagination and factors into the creation and development of new dishes.

Putting Soul on the Plate, 2010

Join Mourad Lahlou for a dynamic main stage presentation, in which he shows off a selection of signature dishes that combine Moroccan ingredients with modern techniques.

A Recipe for the Recipe: Concept-Building at Blue Hill, 2010

Get a rare glimpse inside the mind and kitchen of one of the country's most celebrated chefs. In this exciting presentation on the main stage, Chef Dan Barber details his culinary philosophy and illustrates through various preparations how chefs practice both an art and a craft.

Recent Restaurante Arzak Experiments, 2007

Elena Arzak focuses on advanced techniques as a means for maximizing the potential of each ingredient. Her culinary pursuits are based on three pillars: culture, pride, and the universality of ideas.

Joël Robuchon and Bruno Goussault

Classic Sous Vide, 2007

Beginning in 1984, Joël Robuchon worked closely with Bruno Goussault of Cuisine Solutions to develop and perfect the sous vide technique in fine dining. Robuchon&rsquos &ldquoNouvelles Premieres&rdquo menu, created more than two decades ago, retells the stories of French cooking using modern, precise techniques.

Mentor / Protégée Cooking Demo, 2008

Daniel Boulud offers a cooking demo based on the theme of mentoring with the help of three of his protégées: Executive Chefs Jean François Bruel, Damian Sansonetti of Bar Boulud, and Olivier Muller of db Bistro Moderne.

School Lunch Lottery, 2007

Two versions of a school lunch (traditionally unhealthy fare and the organic, healthy hot lunch of the future) serve as both lunch for attendees and fodder for the Ann Cooper-led school lunch roundtable.

Paris to Tokyo: French Cuisine, Japanese Techniques, 2009

David Bouley shares ways to incorporate Japanese techniques into any kitchen with examples from his French-Japanese fusion.

A Peek into Pastelería Totel, 2009

Paco Torreblanca offers a glimpse into his creative process and the techniques he used at Pastelería Totel.

Anthony Bourdain, Marco Pierre White, Michael Ruhlman (as Moderator)

The Role of a Chef, 2008

Three of the culinary industry&rsquos best-known characters come together to debate the role of a chef and much, much more.


Grant Achatz (Alinea), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup), Elena Arzak (Arzak), Dan Barber (Blue Hill at Stone Barns), Jonathan Benno (Benno), Jamie Bissonnette & Ken Oringer (Toro), Michel Bras (Restaurant Bras), Sean Brock (Patchwork Projects), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Kyle Connaughton (SingleThread), Abe Conlon (Fat Rice), Chris Cosentino (Cockscomb), Vinny Dotolo & Jon Shook (Animal), Wylie Dufresne (Du's Donuts), Kelly Fields (Willa Jean), Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen), Will Goldfarb (Room4Dessert), Eric Kayser (Maison Kayser), Christopher Kostow (Meadowood) Pierre Hermé (Pierre Hermé), Francis Mallmann (Patagonia Sur), Virgilio Martínez (Central), Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto), Kwame Onwuachi (Kith/Kin), Marcus Samuelsson (Samuelsson Group), Michael Solomonov (Zahav), Alon Shaya (Saba and Safta), Chris Shepherd (Underbelly Hospitality) Daniela Soto-Innes (Cosme), Curtis Stone (Gwen), Missy Robbins (Lilia and Misi), Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca), Michael White (Altamarea Group) and Bryan Voltaggio (Volt).

Don't Toss That Sour Milk! And Other Tips To Cut Kitchen Food Waste

As we show in the video above, this is what chef Dan Barber demonstrated earlier this year, when he temporarily turned Blue Hill, his Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, into an incubator for garbage-to-plate dining.

Barber's intent was to raise awareness about the vast issue of food waste. As we've reported, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. each year. The typical American family tosses out about $1,500 of food yearly.

All this wasted food is the largest component of solid waste in our landfills, and when it rots, it emits methane — a potent greenhouse gas linked to climate change.

The Salt

It's Time To Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste, Feds Say

So, you may be wondering, what can I do in my own kitchen?

I talked to Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Her new book, Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook, which is out this month, is full of tips for tackling food waste at home. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.

I've got to start with my favorite tip in the book: eggs. There's actually a simple test to tell whether they're still good to eat?

Yes. I was really surprised to learn that eggs are good for three to five weeks after their expiration date. And a trick to know if they're still good is to put them in a bowl of water, and if the eggs sink, they're still good to eat. But if they float, they're not good to eat.

The science is that the eggshells are somewhat air permeable, and so over time, they lose moisture and it gets replaced with air.

Most fruits and vegetables — particularly after being cut — store better in an airtight container, Gunders says. And it's best to store them in see-through containers so we don't forget about them. USDA hide caption

Most fruits and vegetables — particularly after being cut — store better in an airtight container, Gunders says. And it's best to store them in see-through containers so we don't forget about them.

Decoding expiration dates: A lot of Americans toss food away once the date stamped on a food package passes. But, as we've reported, lots of food is still perfectly good to eat. Is this correct?

Yes. A lot of people misunderstand the dates on food packages. Those dates are actually a manufacturer's best guess as to when a product is at its freshest. Often products can be eaten days, weeks and months after those dates, depending on the product.

To extend shelf life, there are a range of tips. For instance, cheese is best stored in wax paper, because it lets it breathe and it's less likely to mold.

The Salt

Don't Fear That Expired Food

[Editor's note: The book has a directory listing over 85 types of food and information on how long the products stay fresh and how to store, freeze and use them up.]

The Salt

Think Nobody Wants To Buy Ugly Fruits And Veggies? Think Again

I know I'm guilty of letting farmers market produce sit in the back of a crisper drawer too long, and once I finally find, say, a head of greens, it's all wilted. I see that in the book, you say there may still be hope for these sorry-looking vegetables?

Yes, most vegetables that wilt in the fridge can be soaked in a bowl of ice water, and that will crisp them up. [For instance, this works well with carrots, greens and broccoli.]

I've been amazed at how a droopy carrot can perk up in a bowl of ice water.

Even lettuce? It seems once lettuce goes a little brown and watery, it's too far gone to eat.

We saute all our other greens. Why not lettuce? When it gets a little brown or wilted, sauteing it is a way to use it up. It's especially good for those bags of mixed greens [that often sit in the fridge too long].

You talk about the importance of using your freezer to its full potential. Can you give some examples?

If I have a bit of a leftover ingredient — say, an onion — I'll chop it up and toss it in the freezer. Or, if I have a half-can of tomatoes, it's easy to pop it in the freezer. They'll last longer.

Bread is a great thing to stick in the freezer. If it's unsliced, it's best to slice it before freezing. That way, you don't have to defrost the whole thing. You can just pop it in the toaster.

And milk. It's easy to put your milk in the freezer when you go on vacation. Defrost it when you come back. Then you don't need to go to the store to get milk for your coffee on the first day back!

I'm imagining that milk is one of the more common items that Americans toss out. I know we don't often finish an entire gallon in a week. But your tip here is that you don't have to throw away sour milk. You can actually cook with it?

Actually, cooking with sour milk is delicious. It's a substitute for buttermilk. You can [use it] in pancake or biscuit batter. And you can't taste the sour! I've pushed it, and let the milk get really old. The pancakes turned out fluffy, and really good.

[Scroll down for Gunders' pancake recipe. Note: As long as it's pasteurized, sour milk is unlikely to make you sick, Gunders writes, because as milk ages, it becomes more acidic, creating an environment "unfriendly to microbes that might cause illness." Raw milk is a different story.]

In the book, you talk about the proper ways to store food in the refrigerator. What are the most useful tips to remember?

Most fruits and vegetables — particularly after being cut — store better in an airtight container. [There are exceptions to this rule.] And it's best to store them in see-through containers so we don't forget about them.

Your refrigerator is coldest on bottom and warmest on top, says Dana Gunders. So store items that need to be colder, like meats, on the bottom and those that don't need to be quite as cold, like yogurt, higher up. Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders hide caption

Your refrigerator is coldest on bottom and warmest on top, says Dana Gunders. So store items that need to be colder, like meats, on the bottom and those that don't need to be quite as cold, like yogurt, higher up.

Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders

Also, your refrigerator is coldest on bottom and warmest on top. So storing things that need to be colder, like meats, on the bottom is helpful. And [store] things that don't need to be quite as cold, like yogurt, higher up.

Where should eggs be stored? My fridge has a built-in egg crate space on the door.

Never put eggs on the door of the fridge! This is the warmest place, because it gets a blast of room temperature air every time you open the door. So it's better to keep eggs in the main part of the refrigerator.

The Salt

When Edible Plants Turn Their Defenses On Us

There must be things that we should toss, right? For instance, meats that have gone off in smell or color? Or what are some other examples?

Potatoes are actually something you want to be careful with. If there's any kind of green tint to the potato, that's something you do not want to eat. It has a natural toxin once it turns green.

Speaking of what not to eat, I was surprised to read that the leafy tops of strawberries are edible. Or maybe I'm just used to slicing them off.

The green tops to strawberries are edible, but they don't taste very good. If you want to use [the whole] strawberry in a smoothie, it saves time.

How can we be smarter in the grocery store?

Industry research shows that about 55 percent of purchases we make in the grocery store are unplanned.

So if we plan better, we may waste less?

Yes, have a few meals in mind. And when you get to the checkout, look in your cart and make sure you're going to have time to eat everything that's in there.

Planning your meals does not need to take two hours. It's just thinking ahead about what you're going to cook that week.

There are lots more planning tips, recipes and storage guidance in the book.

How do you prevent food waste at home? Join the conversation with @NPRFood on Twitter and share your kitchen tips at #foodwaste.

Dana Gunders' Sour Milk Pancakes

Uses up: milk that is beginning to sour

1 cup/120 grams all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour (or use 1/2 cup/60 grams of each)

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil, such as light olive, grapeseed or canola

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup/240 millileters sour milk

Butter or oil for the pan

Raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries

Peanut butter or almond butter

Most of us have had the experience of sniffing a carton of milk, making a gruesome face and going straight to the drain with it. But it turns out there's something better you can do with that milk! Next time you give the sniff test and you're on the fence about it, use it as you would buttermilk in pancakes, waffles and other baked goods. It's amazing how you won't taste even the slightest bit of bitterness.

Of course, you can only eat so many pancakes, so if you know you're not going to get to use milk before it turns sour, put it in the freezer. It may separate a bit when it thaws, but it will be perfectly fine. And if you completely forget about your milk and it's a clotted mess surrounded by a thin, bitter liquid . . . well, it might be time to throw it out.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda until well-combined. In a medium bowl, beat together the milk, eggs and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and blend in the milk mixture until the batter is smooth.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and coat with a little butter.

Ladle 1/4 cup/60 millileters batter onto the pan to make 4- to 5-inch/10- to 12-centimeter pancakes. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until bubbles appear and "dry out," then flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes on the second side. Repeat with the remaining batter, using more butter for the pan as needed.

Serve warm with the toppings of your choice.

Planning ahead: Baked goods freeze very well, so you can bake them up to rescue your sour milk, then freeze them for later. You can even do this with pancakes and waffles: Once they're cooled, freeze them solid and store in an airtight container or zip-top bag. Then reheat straight from frozen in a toaster oven or microwave for a real grab-and-go breakfast.

What is honeynut squash?

Is it just a tiny butternut squash? Yes, and no. It has a similarly smooth and starchy texture, but much sweeter, like buttercup squash. You may have spotted this mini squash at the grocery store or farmers market. It&rsquos available from fall until the end of december. It&rsquos grown mainly in the Northeast, although you can store it away for a few months.

Honeynut squash has only been commercially available in just the past few years. The small 6-inch stature has its culinary advantages. The flavor is more concentrated as it contains less moisture, which makes it bursts with caramel-like flavor when cooked. You don&rsquot need to peel the skin because it&rsquos so thin, and that deep orange skin contains three times more beta carotene [source].