Heston Blumenthal: from brink of bankruptcy to giant of gastronomy: “When I was 15, I went to a restaurant in Provence with my folks. I could hear the legs of lamb being carved and the clink of glasses, I could smell the lavender. The waiters’ feet crunched on the gravel and the crickets sang. I went into a multi-sensory wonderland, and I was hooked.” It was this moment, 35 years ago, that convinced Heston Blumenthal to become a restaurateur.
Alinea 2.0: Reinventing One of the World’s Best Restaurants: “Did that work?” Nick Kokonas asks from the atrium of the recently renovated Alinea. It’s Tuesday afternoon. The restaurant reopens on Friday night, after undergoing a five-month, seven-figure facelift. And its owner can’t find the light switch. “I’m still learning where everything is,” he says as the lights turn on over the service station in one of the four dining rooms — each of which has totally different decor and an entirely new menu. Meanwhile, Grant Achatz is fixed to his station in the kitchen — where you can find him from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on his day off, according to Kokonas — trimming an artichoke with the precision of a surgeon.
Paris’s Local Restaurants Are Their Best in Decades: Paris, with its Old World charms, had begun to look old hat as a dining destination in recent years after London, New York and other cities grabbed attention as centers for creative cooking. No more. French chefs are looking again at how to build on their country’s culinary traditions, absorbing ideas from around the world while retaining the integrity of their cuisine. There’s a new spirit of imagination and focus.
This Free Feast for 5,000 Was Made From Food Waste: As sirens wailed and pigeons wheeled, thousands of people in Union Square on Tuesday feasted on a lunch of tasty ratatouille; a dollop of pickled peppers, carrots, apples, pear and celery; and a wedge of torte made of vegetable trimmings mixed with 1,010 eggs. But this was much more than a free lunch. All of the food was either surplus from wholesalers or farms, or had cosmetic imperfections, such as nicks and gnarls, that grocers won’t tolerate. Known as Feeding the 5,000, this New York City event was organized by Feedback, a British nonprofit that campaigns against food waste by presenting boisterous eat-ins sourced entirely from food that would otherwise have gone to waste.
10 rules for eating in restaurants with young children: Avoid places with tablecloths, cleaning up before you leave and tip handsomely … Stuart Heritage offers tips based on experience.
Food in books: the treacle tart in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Kate Young blogs about what inspired her to cook meals from books – and why, since that first tart, she has never looked back. The answer lies in Harry Potter.
In French, this article about Champagne winegrower Lucas Fays, son of Philippe Fays who produce their wines in Celles-Sur-Ource. If you cannot read French, save this link because it will be translated into English shortly.
Wines of change: I am standing in the shade of an olive tree. Sweating grape pickers race frantically up and down the sloping hill before me in the scorching heat of Emilia-Romagna. This is Italy’s famed “fertile crescent” – its food basket – but the land beneath the vines is compacted and dry. Dust devils swirl between the gnarled roots. There is much shouting. The owner looks tense. The grapes need harvesting. Subito! But he has a problem: if the pickers cannot get the grapes in fast enough by hand, the vines will shut down from the heat and the grapes will die on the vine. The year’s crop will be lost. What does climate change have to do with wine? Everything. Wine is made from grapes and grapes are a fruit – and so much more than that. They are the crop most susceptible to climate variations.
Entrepreneurs are trying to tap into a new generation of wine-loving millennials: Impressing guests with great wine at a dinner party isn’t always easy. It’s even harder if you’re young and only just starting to take fermented grapes seriously. Thankfully, help is at hand. Tech entrepreneurs around the world are creating apps and websites to help young people educate themselves on wine, while hopefully turning a profit for their company at the same time.