wolfgang_puck.gif
It is the nightmare of everyone. You go out. You are having the time of your life at one of the most important functions of the year. Then someone barfs on you and ruins the mood. Worse, an advisory has come out that one of the caterers in Chef Puck’s team, who catered the party you went to, has been diagnosed with acute Hepatitis A. Health officials say though that Chef Puck’s team has been very cooperative and done their best to keep it from contaminating the food and their patrons.

There were hundreds of guests at the Oscars party, any number of whom may have gotten the disease. There are three other parties as well that may be affected since Chef Puck had helped prepare food for three other events that day, including the party for Sports Illustrated.

The instructions are simple. Anyone who was at a party that Chef Puck catered for needs to look back and recall if they ate any raw or uncooked food. If they were barfed on, they are also at risk. If either of these two things has happened to them then they need to go to their personal physician and have an immune globule shot.

james martin portrait 2.jpeg
Everybody needs to eat, that we all know. It is a requirement of living. Cooks all over the world know this and strive to present the best possible tasting dishes under any circumstance, even when you work in a submarine.

James Martin recently got to try out the new galley of the HMS Ambush and was surprised at how spacious the galley was. He said it was bigger than most galleys he’d seen and was very well arranged, with the refrigerators and freezers easily accessible. He also noted that everything was well thought out and made to last.

James Martin got to try out the galley, preparing pancakes with a nautical rum sauce. On hand to assist him was Royal Navy Chef Andy Patton of the HMS Turbulent. Chef Patton noted that this galley was bigger than any he had used in the past 11 years. He notes that everything is conveniently placed and is a very comfortable work environment.

OscarsPuckcourtesyAcademyArtsSciences.jpg
For the 13th year, Wolfgang Puck is the man in charge of the kitchens for the most important gathering. The post-Oscar party at the Governor’s ball is where most of the stars will gather after the awards show and they are usually hungry. After all most of them don’t eat before the Oscars to make sure that they look great in their dresses – though a few are sure to have had no appetite, waiting to see if they brought home the Oscar.

For the hoard that is due to arrive, Wolfgang puck formed a team of over a thousand people to prepare the feast for the party. It was a necessary move in order to be able prepare everything on time. What was on the menu? Nothing but the best. Kobe beef is on the menu. There will be Chinois lobster and smoked salmon. Don’t forget the organic vegetables that are stir fried perfectly.

Then there is the dessert table. There is something for everyone. Brownies, pistachio squares, lemon bars and of course, chocolate, lots and lots of chocolates.

Here’s the recipe for the Spiny Lobster Shanghai Style with Crispy Spinach courtesy of Wolfgang Puck.

Ingredients:
1 piece fresh ginger, approximately 1 inch
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup plum wine or port
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 2-pound lobster, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 scallions, cut into 3/8 inch slices
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup homemade or store-bought fish stock
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon dried hot chili flakes
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

2. Peel the ginger, reserving the peels, and cut it into fine julienne strips. Cut the peels into coarse strips and set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, cook the ginger and garlic with ½ cup of the plum wine and the rice wine vinegar until 1 tablespoon of liquid remains. Remove from the heat and reserve.

4. Place a heavy heatproof 12-inch skillet over high heat until it is very hot. Add the oil and heat it almost to the smoking point. Carefully add the lobster halves, meat side down. Cook 3 minutes. Turn the lobster over and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Continue to saute until the lobster shells get red and the butter is nutty red. Transfer the lobster to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the lobster is just cooked. Remove from the oven, remove the lobster from the skillet and keep warm.

5. Add the scallions, ginger peels and curry powder to the skillet. Saute the mixture lightly for 10 to 15 seconds, then whisk in the remaining plum wine and the white wine, stock, chili flakes and the vinegar. Reduce the liquid to ½ cup. Add the cream and reduce it by half. Add any liquid from the julienne of ginger, then whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Crack the lobster claws with the back of a large chef’s knife. Arrange the lobster halves on a warm oval platter, meat side up. Strain the sauce over the lobster, then sprinkle the sweet ginger on top. Garnish with Fried Baby Spinach Leaves (recipe follows).

gordon_ramsay.jpg
It is an honor for any establishment to be granted a Michelin star. Earning Michelin Stars is like winning the Oscars or A Golden Globe for the professional cooking world and restaurants. Gordon Ramsey must be proud that two more of his establishments have been added to the book and awarded Michelin Stars.

Petrus is run by Gordon Ramsay’s protege, Marcus Wareing. It is one of only two restaurants to gain the honor of being added to the 2007 edition with two Michelin Stars. La Noisette, the newest of Ramsay’s restaurant is one of only thirteen to be given a Michelin Star this year.

There are only three restaurants in the country to have been given three Michelin Stars – the most coveted prize. One of these restaurants is Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous restaurant. Ramsay has 5 more restaurants with One Michelin Star each.

Gordon Ramsay must be well pleased with how his year is shaping up.

Marco Pierre White.jpg
There’s a new star in Hell’s Kitchen. Marco Pierre White is the new host of the show, taking over from Gary Rhodes and Jean Christophe Novelli. Word of this move was leaked last October but only confirmed the other day.

Marco Pierre White is the original super chef and is considered the Godfather of British cooking. He’d actually been retired for several years but was thankfully coaxed back into the kitchen by the network. White says that there will definitely be many changes taking place. He won’t be following in anyone’s footsteps but will definitely be making the show his own. He wants to change the image of the show. He notes that whenever people have spoken of the show, they never talk about the food. He says he wants the show to be inspiring, not a way to belittle people or put them down. He’s got a crew of 10 celebrities to work with on the upcoming season of Hell’s Kitchen.

White is well known in the professional cooking world. He trained many chefs including Gordon Ramsey, who first presented Hell’s Kitchen. When asked why he agreed to do the show, he said, “I am a person who loves my industry very much, and I don’t like the way my industry is being portrayed on TV at this point in time. I think people are capitalizing on it and not showing it for what it really is.”

When asked about Gordon Ramsey, he says that they used to be friends but that they are no longer on speaking terms. He says that he likes to surround himself with people who enrich his life. He has no use for those who have nothing to contribute to it.

There’s a new festival to be held in Edinburgh this summer. It is called the Taste festival and will be at the Meadows from June 7 to June10. The event is jointly owned by Channel 4 and Brand events, a London based company.

Ramsey and Fearnley whittingstall.jpg
With a festival called Taste, you naturally have to have great tasting food and interesting guest presentors. Channel 4 has asked Gordon Ramsey and Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall to go and promote their TV shows, the F-Word and River cottage respectively. The chefs are expected to hold a live cooking demo and have a question and answer section as well.

The 15 best restaurants from Edinburgh have been invited to be present and have their own pitches. It’s a great way to attract more people to their restaurants and to Edinburgh. As of this time, Skipper’s, Restaurant Martin Wishart, and Duck’s at Le Marche Noir have signed up to take part.

A set fee will be charged of anyone attending the festival. This is a day pass that will allow them to sample everything at the festival – as much as they like. The top chefs will be preparing everything in front of them, showing off their culinary skills.

After Edinburgh, similar festivals are scheduled to be held in Dublin, Bath, Birmingham and London. There has been no details on these festivals at this time.

Anthony Bourdain2.jpg
Anthony Bourdain is going to be a dad soon. The 50 year old author/novelist and TV host and his Italian girlfriend are expecting a baby girl this April. This will be his first child.

Bourdain says that he is excited about the baby. He takes his coming fatherhood very seriously. He is looking forward to raising a wild child. He says that he would love to have a kid who has Vietnamese and Indonesian playmates. It would be ideal if his kid also spoke Bahasa Indonesia aside from English and Italian. He says it would be pretty cool to have a kid who is street smart, knows kung fu and can speak many languages.

For now though he still has a bit more than two months to get ready for the arrival of his daughter. It is sure to be a joyous occasion indeed, one that is very eagerly awaited.

Restaurants Against Hunger.jpg
Chefs for Humanity has teamed up with Action Against Hunger, forming a campaign called Restaurants Against Hunger. One of the projects of this new group is the “Save A Life in 30 Days” which begins in April.

The campaign targets diners in 25 cities across the US and Canada. The goal is to use the restaurants to help reduce global hunger by raising funds which will be used to help people during emergencies and to help create solutions to prevent hunger that are long term. They also aim to provide people with a means to have safe drinking water.

President of Chefs for Humanity, Cat Cora, says that they “join the hunger campaign with great excitement. Restaurants are such a great place to ask people to give a little back for hunger after their fine dining experience.”

The campaign Restaurants Against Hunger is set to run from April 10 up to May 9, 2007. More than 250 restaurants have already committed to take part. A Restaurants Against Humanity Celebrity Gala has been set on April 12, 2007 to kick off the event. It will be held in New York City and have food from some of the finest restaurants of the city as well as live music and an auction. The council of Chefs of Humanity will definitely be taking part. This includes, Rick Bayless, Bobby Flay, Gale Gand, Katie Lee Joel, Ming Tsai, and of course, Cat Cora.

Anthony Bourdain has been guest blogging on Ruhlman.com and recently wrote about the celebrity chefs on Food Network. Yes, he admits to watching the Food Network and laments at what it has become.

He praises Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Giada de Laurentiis even as he mourns their truly awful shows. He points out that these chefs are successful business people, restaurateurs and chefs. They can all cook but the network does not make the most of their talent.

The chefs he does not praise are Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen. As he points out, Rachael Ray announces that she can’t really cook and yet she beat out Giada de Laurentiis who truly can cook and indeed makes great meals. What is the network coming to?

He ends his entry with his dream Iron Chef match ups. The one I agree I would like to see is Marco Pierre White vs. Gordon Ramsey.

Check out his blog entry for yourself and see if you agree with his opinion.

ironchef.jpg
Celebrity chefs often gain fame from having a television show. The term celebrity chef is often seen as derogatory by those chefs who eaned their title through school and hard work. As we all know, it takes a lot of sweat and practice to be a professional chef, cooking for many people none of whom are related to you.

The show Iron Chef gives the celebrity chefs a chance to prove that they aren’t just for show. Iron chef show began in Japan and a spin off was later made called Iron Chef America. In both shows, there are preselected Iron Chefs. These chefs are masters at their craft. In the US, The Iron Chefs are Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto (who was also an Iron Chef in the show in Japan) and the first female Iron Chef, Cat Cora.

Every week a challenger comes forward. These are chefs with good reputations theselves in the cooking field. They choose which Iron Chef with whom to do battle and then they are given a secret ingredient which they must use in all their dishes.

It is a tough battle with only 30 minutes to make a full course meal. It challenges each chefs creativity and ability to the limit. It is also a great show because it shows that no true chef works in the kitchen alone. He has to have a great team – who themselves are great in their respective areas.

The question is: whose cuisine will reign supreme?