Last summer, on assignment for Condé Nast Traveler, I visited a farm that raises ducks for foie gras, driven there along harrowing roads in southwestern France by Kate Hill. I’d never seen the practice, vilified in America, of force-feeding ducks and, being in the land of foie gras and confit de canard, I had to see for myself. The farm, Souleilles, run by Yves and Geneviève Boissière, is wide, wide open in the town of Frespech. The husband and wife were warm and welcoming and watched me take an iMovie and iPhone pix of the practice while Yves spoke at length about the process. The ducks are pasture raised most of their lives, then force fed for 14 days, beginning with a little less than half a pound twice a day, increasing to less than Read On »

Share

Video: How Kristopher Bronner shares how he and his brother want to change the world through making better candies, via TEDx.

Share

I’d have thought that an article in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Eat Your Heart Out by Gretchen Reynolds, would have made me happy. I’ve long argued that America’s terror of fat and salt is misguided and blown grossly out of proportion. But all the piece did was make me mad. It notes a study that found that men with heart disease who reduced their intake of meat and saturated fats and increased the polyunsaturated fats in their diet were more likely to die of a heart attack than the control group who maintained their customary diet. It noted the existence of a “small but unsettling body of data suggesting that consuming polyunsaturated oils … may … increase your risk of heart disease.” (There’s lots of hemming and hawing in the piece due to the contrarian Read On »

Share

This 12-minute reading is from The Soul of a Chef, on my first experience with a tasting menu. Though I had special consideration at the meal—I was not a paying customer—it is an honest and emotional description of what remains the most important restaurant meal of my life. I thought it apropos, following my previous post addressing recent criticisms in the media of today’s tasting menus. It’s not a polished video—I simply set up a tripod in my kitchen before dinner and read—so please forgive my lack of video production skills! [For more information on what led up to my unlikely passage from unknown Cleveland-based writer to dinner at The French Laundry and what was to follow, read The Main Dish, a 35-page memoir of becoming an accidental food writer. It was published as a Read On »

Share

  “I always say this to the young chefs and mean it: The customer is excited, he says you are an artist, but we are not, just craftspeople with a little talent. If the chef is an artist, he doesn’t succeed. Why? Because he is inspired today but not tomorrow. We cannot do that.” —Andre Soltner (quoted in Forbes, May 2012) Back in in the fall of 2008, nearly five years ago, I moderated a discussion between Tony Bourdain and Marco Pierre White (insofar as those two former chefs can be moderated at all). MPW railed against the multi-course tasting menu, and Bourdain reiterated it, while Grant Achatz, feeling personally attacked, fumed in the audience. As I pointed out in a post addressing the event, The End of the Multi-Course Tasting? (scroll down past Tony’s curious remarks), Read On »

Share