On the Menu: Week of February 15


Here’s what’s coming up at the James Beard House and around the country:

Wednesday, February 17, 7:00 P.M.

New Orleans Charm

A four-time James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef: South, Justin Devillier is celebrating the tenth anniversary of La Petite Grocery, one of the most popular restaurants in the Big Easy—and we’re getting in on the fun. Come and see why Devillier was named Chef of the Year by New Orleans magazine.


Thursday, February 18, 7:00 P.M.

The Art of the Chef... Read more >

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True Grits: 5 Formulas for the Ultimate Southern Side


"There are instant grits, but no self-respecting Southerner would eat them, unless they're at a roadside place or something," says four-time James Beard Award–winning cookbook writer Nathalie Dupree. Aside from her comprehensive Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, Dupree literally wrote the book on grits (that would be Shrimp and Grits). Along with bitter greens and corn bread, grits are one of the most iconic Southern sides. Although they're traditionally a breakfast food, simply dressed with butter and eaten with bacon and eggs, grits are a blank canvas that can take on a whole host of sweet and savory flavors.


So what exactly are grits? They're ground corn, though the resulting cornmeal can vary in texture—sometimes you'll get them with the kernel, sometimes without. Dupree prefers coarser stone-ground versions like Anson Mills and Geechie Boy Mill, which maintain more of the corn flavor. Some chefs recommend soaki... Read more >

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Throwback Thursday: A Caribbean Valentine's Day with Cindy Hutson


When you think of Valentine’s Day, you might imagine chocolate, flowers, and decadent dinners—perhaps in Paris, known as the City of Love. Many of our dinners dedicated to the holiday have featured talented chefs exploring the captivating qualities of French cuisine, their menus replete with lavish dishes like Roasted Squab Breast and Foie Gras with Truffle Périgourdine Sauce or Butter-Poached Lobster with Roasted Tomato Tartare and Red Beet Essence. But the French don’t have a monopoly on romantic gastronomy. This Throwback Thursday, we’re looking back to 2005, when chef Cindy Hutson won the hearts of Beard House diners with her Caribbean-themed Valentine’s fête. Hutson, a self-taught chef, proved that Curried Beef Puff Patties were just as sexy as Cheese Soufflés. Featuring zesty, bold flavors, this vibrant meal sent diners on the rela... Read more >

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Recipes: It's Valentine's Day and You Should Go For It


A home-cooked Valentine's Day dinner should be a little over the top. Roast chicken stuffed with foie gras? Bring it. Pasta carbonara topped with Dungeness crabmeat? Of course. Dark Valrhona chocolate baked into individual soufflé cups? It's a special occasion. Now's not the time to hold back. Give it your all with recipes like these:


Roasted Chicken for Two

Can chicken be sexy? This one is.


Crab Carbonara with Meyer Lemon, Black Pepper, and Parsley

You could eat this Lady and the Tramp–style, but chances are you're not going to want to share.

 ... Read more >

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Beard House Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Pancetta


We think it's safe to say that cauliflower is having its moment. From crispy fritters to a silky puréed base for seafood to a stand-alone vegetarian entrée, we're devouring the cruciferous edible in a myriad of delicious ways. One of our favorite recent encounters with the trendy vegetable went down at the Beard House, when the culinary team from Atlanta's Cooks & Soldiers created a spirited Basque holiday feast. Rich, creamy, and full of flavor,... Read more >

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Awards Watch: Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists Announced Next Week; Nominees Will Be Announced in San Francisco

2016 James Beard Awards

The first milestone of Beard Awards season arrives next week! On the morning of Wednesday, February 17, we'll post the complete Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists right here on the JBF blog. The list will include semifinalists for our ten regional "Best Chef" awards, as well as for national honors like Outstanding Restaurant, Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Outstanding Bar Program.


Where do the semifinalists come from? The process began in October with an open call online; anyone could submit up to two entries per category. After receiving about 20,000 submissions, our Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, compose... Read more >

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The Bookshelf: Vegetarian India with JBF Award Winner Madhur Jaffrey


It’s no exaggeration to call Madhur Jaffrey the “Godmother of Indian Cooking.” The actress, chef, and multiple JBF Award–winning author has been guiding natives and Indophilic foreigners through the subtleties of the Subcontinent’s edible empire since her first cookbook was published in 1973. Last week, she visited the Beard House to share stories and insights from her latest work, Vegetarian India (Knopf), for our monthly Beard on Books series. During his introduction, JBF executive vice president Mitchell Davis explained that this was, in fact, a triumphant return—Jaffrey was the very first author to kick off our Beard on Books series, and even before that, was a friend “when there was no James Beard Foundation, only a James Beard.”


Read on for some of our favorite snippets fr... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Pork Belly with Celeriac Purée, Braised Apples, and Apple Jelly


Perched on the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont's historic Basin Harbor Club beckons guests with its spectacular surroundings and singular cuisine—much of which comes directly from the resort’s bountiful on-site farm. Last month, lucky Beard House guests sampled the rich flavors of the Green Mountain State’s terroir when chef Christian Kruse served up a hyper-seasonal feast. His menu brimmed with dishes like golden beet risotto, graham-crusted venison with spiced pear purée, and a curried delicata squash soup that would make any New Englander proud. A true standout of the night was Kruse’s luscious 16-hour-cooked local pork belly with creamy celeriac purée. Tart and juicy Champlain Orchards apples accompanied the dish in a trio of preparations: braised, jellied, and whipped into an airy foam. By the end of the evening, guests were ready to book their next Vermont getaway,... Read more >

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Recipe: Cornmeal-Fried Pickles


Known for his regional classics at New Orleans hot spot Purloo, Ryan Hughes recently traveled to New York to give Beard House diners a flavor-packed glimpse into his love affair with Lowcountry cuisine. One of our favorites: his utterly addictive fried pickles, which were taken to the next level with crispy cornmeal and fragrant crab boil seasoning, yielding a perfectly salty, sour fried treat. Get the recipe to give these a whirl at home.




Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at... Read more >

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Ask a Chef: New Hampshire Native Brett Cavanna


After coming up the ranks at FIG and Café Boulud, chef Brett Cavanna returned to his native New Hampshire to helm the kitchen at Louie’s, where he offers up comforting, handcrafted pastas and rustic Italian fare. For his upcoming Beard House dinner, Cavanna will serve a delicious, stick-to-your-ribs winter feast—the perfect antidote to mid-February doldrums. In anticipation of his comfort-fare fête, we spoke to the chef about his love affair with agnolotti, his Beard House menu inspiration, and why chicken tenders are still great at any age.



 ... Read more >

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