I hadn’t planned this post but when my wife, Donna, started emailing these iPhone shots of the dishes she was served at per se yesterday at lunch I just had to put them up. First of all, Thomas Keller and his ace staff two years ago began offering dishes a la carte in their salon area, outside the dining room. It’s a fabulous way to taste what the per se chefs, led now by CDC Eli Kaimeh, are up to. (It’s no wonder that Sam Sifton, in his final column as restaurant critic for The New York Times, called it the best restaurant in New York City.) Chef Kaimeh did not work lunch yesterday; in his stead was Chef David Breeden.  I once complimented Deborah Jones on her amazing photography in Under Pressure (she’s photographed all of Read On »

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I’ve spent nearly a week in the Napa Valley working on the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook.  This will be the fifth book in a series led by Thomas Keller that began with The French Laundry Cookbook which is one of the best chef-restaurant cookbooks ever (do we need full dislosure here?). Forget the words I write—these books are truly fine and costly productions, and I think it’s important for people to know what goes into books of this magnitude, because so often people don’t know.  A team of people, from the many at Artisan, an imprint of Workman Publishing, who make beautiful books, to the commis at the restaurants who scale out the mise en place for the recipes for the chefs, and all those in between, including myself. In 1997, I flew out here to Read On »

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Thomas Keller shares his kitchen hints on salt, brines and a few recipes in the LA Times new monthly column called Master Class, via LA Times.

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This is the last of the whiteonricecouple‘s video we did at the end of the BlogHer conference in San Francisco last fall. They were off the cuff experimental food and cooking editorials, and this one came on the tail of my linking Richard Wrangham’s contention that it was the cooking of food that gave us the calories we needed to make the leap from hominid to human and what it might have to say about our current state, having largely given up cooking in America for the past 60 years (that’s video here). This video has nothing to do with food, but it does have something to do with awareness, and that has everything to do with the kitchen. Of all the knowledge I’ve absorbed from Thomas Keller, perhaps the most important one of all Read On »

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What do culinary competitions mean in America? Reality shows on Bravo and the Food Network pitting chefs against one another have made compelling TV and earned huge audiences here, but actual not-made-for-TV competitions remain off the radar. American chefs who competed in them were relative unknowns, and the most well-known chefs, those with high profile restaurants, tended to dismiss them for their old fashioned, aspic-coated food platters and the hotel and country club chefs who created them. But in 2008, one of the most revered chefs in the world, Paul Bocuse, famed both for his food and his restaurant as well as his unusual media savvy, aimed to change that by attempting to elevate the competition he created in 1987 in the eyes of America. To do this, he asked two of America’s most famous Read On »

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