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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Ask a Chef: What’s Your Favorite Food-Related Moment in a Television Show?

 

Ever since James Beard appeared on America’s first cooking show, food has been one of the most popular subjects in broadcasting. In anticipation of our celebration of the role of cuisine on television, we asked some of the chefs cooking at this year's James Beard Awards to tell us their favorite food-themed moment in the medium. 

 

JBF Award Winners Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cooking an omelet on his gastrobike in A Cook on the Wild Side.

 

JBF Award Winner Aaron Franklin
Franklin Barbecue, Austin
The brontosaurus ribs on the car in the Flintstones intro.

 

JBF Award Winner Jessica Largey
... 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.

 ... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Alex Bois of Philadelphia's High Street on Market

 

Armed with a degree in biochemistry, Alex Bois left college determined to make his mark brewing beer, but a bout of Hepatitis E changed his life forever, redirecting his fermentation fervor away from hops and towards the humble loaf of bread. New York City and Philadelphia diners have been the lucky recipients of this happy accident, as Bois has won their hearts crust by crust with his wares at High Street Hospitality Group’s eateries. Read on to see what the 2016 JBF Award nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year learned from his JBF Award–winning mentor Jim Lahey, what the French have gotten right about bread, and the best way to get a customer to try a new loaf.  

 

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JBF: Your mentor Jim Lahey is being inducted into the Who’s Who of Food &
Beverage in America this year. How has his philosophy on bread baking informed yours? What was the greatest lesson you took from your time at Sullivan
... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Grae Nonas of Austin's Olamaie

 

Native New Englander Grae Nonas has put down roots in Austin, Texas, with his white-hot eatery, Olamaie. Working in tandem with fellow chef and partner Michael Fojtasek, this dynamic duo uses their expansive culinary knowledge to treat diners to Southern flavors backed by contemporary techniques. We spoke to the 2016 JBF Award nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year about his culinary perspective, how he showcases the beauty of generic vegetables, and why his former life as a musician is so important to his current gig.

 

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JBF: We hear you collect vintage cookbooks. What’s the most treasured book you have on your bookshelf? 

 

Grae Nonas: My partner, Michael Fojtasek, is actually a more avid vintage cookbook collector, but I do have a small, cherished collection. One of my favorites is The Taste of... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Daniela Soto-Innes of NYC's Cosme

Photo by Teddy Wolff Photography

 

For 2016 Rising Star Chef of the Year nominee Daniela Soto-Innes, cooking is all about joy. The chef de cuisine at New York City’s masa mecca Cosme (a 2015 JBF Award nominee) is well-known for greeting her staff with hugs, and turning up the radio when it’s time to get down to prep. As it turns out, such joie de vivre is a recipe for success, as critics and diners alike have packed Cosme’s tables since its opening day. We spoke with Soto-Innes about drawing culinary inspiration from her childhood, how tortillas can be a game-changer for the Mexican restaurant scene, and where she’s headed when she visits Chicago for the Beard Awards in May.

 

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JBF: You got your first job in the food industry at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott when you were 15 years old, and continued to work for the company for the next several years.... Read more >

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Scholarship Spotlight: Q&A with Semilla’s José Ramírez-Ruiz and Pam Yung

Photo by Signe Birck

 

José Ramírez-Ruiz and Pam Yung have set hearts aflutter at their Michelin-starred Brooklyn vegetable mecca, Semilla. Since opening its doors in 2014, the 18-seat restaurant has earned rave reviews from Eater and the New York Times, appeared on the Bon Appétit's “hot ten” list, and garnered two James Beard Award semifinalist nods: Best New Restaurant in 2015 and Rising Star Chef of the Year for Ramírez-Ruiz in 2016. Before Semilla broke onto the New York dining scene, however, the pair were recipients of our own Jean-Louis Palladin grants, traveling across the U.S. and the world to further their culinary knowledge. Yung explored grain and bread cultures with growers in Copenhagen, Sweden, and at Anson Mills in Columbia, SC, while Ramírez-Ruiz honed his craft at Els... Read more >

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Ask a Chef: Loyal Nine's Marc Sheehan

 

Loyal Nine may have been inspired by a clandestine group of American colonists, but the buzz around this restaurant has risen far above a hush. Thanks to the talents of Menton and Bondir alum (and 2016 JBFA Rising Star semifinalist) Marc Sheehan, Loyal Nine was one of Boston’s best-received restaurants last year. A lucky group of guests will be able to sample Sheehan’s culinary prowess as he joins us at the Beard House for a veritable East Coast feast. In anticipation of the event, we spoke to Sheehan about his quest to cook the perfect roast chicken, New England's culinary history, and his unadulterated love for t... Read more >

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Ask the Chefs: San Antonio's Jeff Balfour and Les Locke Jr. on Great Brews and Texas Eats

 

Set in the historic former home of the Pearl Brewery, San Antonio’s Southerleigh combines modern coastal cuisine, Southern comfort fare, and housemade craft beers. Chef Jeff Balfour and brewmaster Les Locke Jr. will join us at the Beard House to treat guests to an evening of tempting flavors and robust brews. In anticipation of their event, we chatted with this dynamite duo about their Beard House menu inspiration, their favorite places to chow down in Texas, and why they always try to lead by example.

 

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What is your inspiration behind the menu for this Beard House event?

Jeff Balfour: The inspiration behind the menu is to highlight the... Read more >

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Ask the Chefs: Matt Jennings, Tracy Obolsky, and Mike Poiarkoff Talk Maple Syrup and More

Matt Jennings, Tracy Obolsky, and Mike Poiarkoff

 

Hailing from Canada and the Northeast, this syrup-savvy team is on a mission to prove that maple deserves a grander role in the kitchen than simply as a waffle topper. On March 23, this exceptional culinary crew joins us at the Beard House for an ambitious dinner as they tap the savory and sweet potential of this beloved regional and seasonal ingredient. In anticipation of the event, we spoke to Matt Jennings, Tracy Obolsky, and Mike Poiarkoff about how maple syrup defines New England, their favorite places to chow down in Boston and New York, and why eating pizza four times a week should be the norm.

 

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What is your inspiration behind the menu for this... Read more >

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