Mr. Soft Palms Arrives in Cleveland
Plain Dealer reporter Debbi Snook, who last week compared farmer’s market prices with grocery store prices (showing that the later offered lower prices on produce, if not the quality*), reviews the Cleveland episode of Bourdain’s No Reservations, airing Monday at 10 on the Travel Channel.  Needless to say, earnest Midwestern eccentricity triumphs over New York City snark.

Updates: this from cleveland’s weekly tabloid, examples of the illustrations. And this, this is the kind of thing that makes me hate the guy more. Just when I’m the one being snarky, I find something like this. I’m sorry. I don’t think I can win this battle:

Q&A from the Arizona Star:
Where else do you travel in upcoming episodes? “Tuscany; Hong Kong; We did a great Cleveland show, one of the best shows we’ve ever done. A New York show; Tahiti; Argentina; Sao Paolo.”

Any surprises? “Cleveland was a big surprise. Who knew it would be such a good time? The food was so good. It is never a surprise to eat well in China or Hong Kong. It just was a hell of a lot of fun.”

(*Food editor Joe Crea addresses backlash–many farmer advocates were furious, apparently.  But this is an important story.  Until local hand grown produce and meat are available to everyone, and not just to those who can pay boutique prices, America’s so-called food revolution will not be complete. Obviously, this is a difficult equation to figure out. I’d love to see more local food reporters do what Becks & Posh started; we might then get some meaningful perspective of how growers’ markets look throughout the country.)

More on Celeb Chef Phenomenon
Interesting and long article on celebrity chefs in last weeks Weekly Standard. [thanks big bad bob (sorry about the instant read!)]

Charlie Trotter’s 20th Anniversary
The Chicago restaurant celebrated it’s 20th anniversary last weekend with benefit dinner that raised $100,000 for Chicago’s Mercy House.  Twenty years, that’s a long time to be working at the four-star level.  Trotter brought in his old pals Norman Van Aken and Emeril Lagasse, along with others.  Say what you will about celebrity chefs but you can’t knock their capacity, not to mention energy, to use food and fame to raise money.

News for Grant Achatz Fans and Friends
I was able to have breakfast with Grant Achatz on Saturday and was delighted to see him looking strong and fit.  You’d scarcely know he was battling anything at all, let alone going through chemo to treat squamous carcinoma of the mouth.  He was at ease, confident and determined. As he always is.  And he ate one of Nookie’s enormous omelets.  Best news of all: doctors say treatment is exceeding expectations.