Interview with Jen Hidinger and Ryan Smith of Atlanta's JBF Award–Nominated Staplehouse

 

One of Atlanta’s hottest seats to snag is at Staplehouse, a neighborhood restaurant known for its warm hospitality, locally sourced ingredients, and thoughtful menus. In addition to their expertly crafted fare, another standout feature of the 2016 Best New Restaurant nominee is the fact that it contributes 100 percent of its post-tax profits to the Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides emergency assistance grants to metro Atlanta restaurant workers facing unanticipated hardship. We spoke with business manager Jen Hidinger and head chef Ryan Smith about Staplehouse’s history, their favorite places to eat out, and why their goal is to make memorable food.

 

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Interview with Alon Shaya of JBF Award–Nominated Shaya in New Orleans

 

The phrase “New Orleans cuisine” may not conjure images of crispy halloumi with caramelized celery root and pomegranate molasses; shakshuka with chermoula and Jerusalem artichokes; or matzoh ball soup with escarole and slow-cooked duck. Yet one of the most coveted tables in the Crescent City is at Alon Shaya’s eponymous eatery, Shaya, a 2016 JBF Award nominee for Best New Restaurant. Shaya and his team blend the indigenous flavors of Israel with locally sourced ingredients and Louisiana culinary traditions, and their efforts have garnered acclaim from all corners of the industry. We caught up with last year's Best Chef: South award winner to learn about his love affair with wood-roasted cabbage, how Hurricane Katrina changed the course of his life, and his favorite Big Easy eats.

 

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JBF: What does modern Israeli cuisine mean to you?

 

Alon Shaya:... Read more >

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Interview with Ashley Christensen of Best New Restaurant Nominee Death & Taxes

 

Ashley Christensen made a name for herself as one of North Carolina’s notable tastemakers when she first opened Raleigh's Poole’s Diner in 2007, and hasn't stopped since. Known for her comfort food classics using locally sourced ingredients, the 2014 JBF Award winner for Best Chef: Southeast has another hit on her hands with her year-old hot spot, Death & Taxes. Nominated for a 2016 JBF Award for Best New Restaurant, Death & Taxes wholly dedicates itself to its enormous two-ton wood-burning grill, serving tempting dishes like ember-killed salad with country ham and poussin with coal-roasted carrots. We caught up with Christensen to find out where her flame-loving tendencies originated, where that quirky name came from, and why collaboration is so important.

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Interview with Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable, Nominated for Best New Restaurant

Photo c/o Spoon and Stable

 

After JBF Award winner Gavin Kaysen left his post at Café Boulud to return to his roots in Minneapolis, the long-missed-local received a hero’s welcome, and Twin Cities residents are now flocking to Kayen's Spoon and Stable, a 2015 Best New Restaurant nominee. We spoke with him about his homecoming, his penchant for pilfering flatware, and his vision of Heartland cuisine.

 

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JBF: Your restaurant is called Spoon and Stable. What’s the story behind the name?

 

Gavin Kaysen: The building we took over was a horse stable that was built in 1906, so the stable part comes from that. The spoon part comes from something I’ve been doing for years, which is "collecting" spoons from places all over the world. They come from places that have inspired me, perhaps while eating dinner, or working there. We now sell spoons at... Read more >

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Interview with Stuart Brioza of the Progress, Nominated for Best New Restaurant

 

San Francisco power duo Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski are no stranger to the James Beard Awards: in 2013, the pair took home our Best New Restaurant medallion for State Bird Provisions, and now, just two years later, they’re nominated in the same category for their newest concept, the Progress, located just next door. Read on for Stuart Brioza's insights on the restaurant's unique shared-plates format, its organic environs, and where he plans to chow down in Chicago.

 

JBF: We’ve been asking all of the chefs behind our Best New Restaurant nominees to tell us the stories behind the restaurants’ names. Can you share yours?

 

Stuart Brioza: ​The Progress was actually the name of the theater that our restaurant’s building was originally built as in 1911.

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James Beard and the Art of Picnicking

Michael White Picnic Recipes Perhaps we’ve said it before, but James Beard loved picnics. “Since my earliest recollections of food, I have fancied picnics and eating out of doors more than any other fashion of eating,” Beard writes in his memoir, Delights & Prejudices (our blog’s namesake), “It is perfectly true that under these circumstances food tastes better. One relishes the fresh air and the escape from crowds, and delights in being simply oneself.” Jim goes on to reminisce about a picnic that coincided with an important first. “I can recall my first automobile ride, we drove in a huge touring car…it was an exciting day for all of us, for picnicking in a car was relatively rare, and to drive out of town with a hamper of food was a great adventure. I remember this picnic especially, because it had been suggested at the spur of the moment

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JBF Kitchen Cam