This is not a great photo, technically, but it’s a favorite of 2012 for all that it represents. That’s Billy Harris, apparently looking for tonsils to nibble on. Next to him is Paul Kahan, the Chicago chef, entrepreneur, badass cook, and purveyor of fine meats. At right is Jonathan Waxman, chef-owner of Barbuto in NYC and one of the godfathers of the new American cuisine. Bless them, they’d all come with many other colleagues to my town to benefit our amazing West Side Market and celebrate its hundredth birthday. The head, it will be no surprise to Cleveland food lovers, is courtesy of Jonathon Sawyer, chef-owner of The Greenhouse Tavern (he also just started an ancillary vinegar business; see below). It had come to the table with much roasted meat still attached and was deeee-licious. How can you not Read On »

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I’m such a homebody, I dread book tour trips and typically stress about them, and I nearly always return thrilled to have gone and surprised and amazed by what I encountered. Last week was Chicago and the schedule was so tight that I took a taxi from O’Hare straight to the Chicago Tribune’s test kitchen where Monica Eng, formerly a food reporter now on the investigative beat, reverted to her former purview to join me in making an easy Coq au Vin from Ruhlman’s Twenty (I forgot how good it was till I tasted it—haven’t made it since Donna took the pix). I had time for a quick lunch after across the street at The Purple Pig (pig ears and the artichokes), excellent casual place recommended by a twitter friend. That night there was a Read On »

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I was cleaning out my iMovies and came across this quick clip my son James filmed a while ago. I’d just been to Bar Symon to break down a hog American style. Matt Harlan was the chef there (he’s now back at Lolita, front of the house) and the kitchen was huge; he had a hog ready and a big table to break it down on. I’d done it and written about it but needed to be able to teach someone else to do it.  And I needed to be sure my verbal descriptions were accurate. After we’d finished both sides, and Donna and I were packing to go, Matt, aka Chatty Matty, gave me a piece of their prepared pork skins.  His boss, Michael Symon, had picked up the technique from Paul Kahan, who Read On »

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Two very good memoirs have been published by chefs I admire and whose food I have eaten many times with great satisfaction, though the experiences are wildly different.  Gabrielle Hamilton, chef of Prune has published Blood, Bones and Butter, which I reviewed for The Wall Street Journal. It was preceded by a much talked about, high-six-figure advance, which had to be returned when Hamilton failed to deliver, after which the book was repurchased and published last month. It’s a fabulous read by a very odd creature who has a visceral love of the homey food she serves at her restaurant.  Frankly, it’s exactly the kind of food I love most, personally, braises and bone marrow and offal. It’s the kind of food that chef’s love to eat when they get off work. She cooks the Read On »

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