96 of the world’s best chefs share their favorite food experiences: Shopping local markets, the perfume of durian, Andean mountain cooking, oyster omelets with Sriracha sauce and warm milk straight from the cow — these are some of the world’s best chefs’ favorite food experiences. On the eve of the 2016 World’s Best Restaurant awards, we asked chefs from the world’s current top 100 eateries to nominate an all-time favorite culinary experience that they’d recommend to traveling foodies.
Why did I fall in love with fermentation: Growing up in a house void of inspiration, I always looked outward for my involvement, expression and stimulation through food and creativity. I grew up in the mountains of New Mexico and then in my teens moved to a larger city where I quickly embraced the best of both cultures.
Take it with a pinch of salt – the food marketing myths we’ve swallowed whole: What came first, the chicken-is-healthy study or the eggs-are-unhealthy study? Nutritional advice is notoriously nebulous, and food groups regularly alternate between demonisation and deification. Fat makes you fat; fat makes you thin; carbs are basically crack; carbs are back. Corporate agendas are behind much of this confusion. But, more worryingly, they’re also behind many of the food “facts” we take for granted. Much conventional health wisdom is actually commercialised wisdom: the result of canny marketing campaigns or industry-funded studies. Even if you think you’re above advertising, immune to the seductions of pseudoscience, you would be surprised how many marketing myths you may have inadvertently swallowed.
The annoying restaurant trend ruining our dining experience: The other night I was eating a plate of noodles, and enjoying it. I was out to dinner with a friend, hunched over a meal we had been planning for weeks. The restaurant was newly opened and highly regarded. Life was good. And the food was great. But then it happened. Again. “Are you done with that?” the server asked, fingers already comfortable with the rim of my plate. “Can I get it out of your way?”
Hannah Betts: I had lunch at Britain’s first naked restaurant: Normally the most amiable man on earth, my boyfriend just kicked a fake prehistoric tree stump in a fit of what may be termed “hipster rage”. A chap with a beard has just insisted he remove his trousers, be stripped of all writing implements, and surrender his phone. It is hot – swelteringly, broilingly hot – and we are surrounded by tiny bamboo booths. It feels like a 6th form recreation of the Japanese internment camp drama Tenko.
Italy’s answer to Potato Chips? Taralli of course: Taralli are like the potato chips of southern Italy, according to the chef Rocky Maselli, who runs the A16 restaurants in the Bay Area. “You get them at gas stations but also at fancy hotels,” Mr. Maselli said. “They’re just the ultimate bar snack.”
From Polish ghetto to Bronx slaughterhouse: On a crisp December morning, with daylight still an hour away, I arrived outside Unit B-14 at the Hunts Point Meat Market in the South Bronx. A trio of white-coated workers stood on the loading dock, rubbing their gloved hands together and stomping their feet to keep warm. A guy with a dark wool cap pulled down over his ears explained that they were waiting for a trailer to arrive from Chicago. “It’ll be hauling the carcases of a hundred steers. Once it gets here, we’re lookin’ at four, five hours to unload the stuff.”
The Noma Way: On the first day of 2016, chef René Redzepi walked into his new kitchen in a construction zone at the end of Sydney’s Barangaroo pier. He arrived at 1 p.m., later than planned, because his wife and two of their three daughters had fevers, and then he had no idea how to catch a water taxi across the harbor from his temporary home in Birchgrove. He was scruffy, wearing a T-shirt, dark jeans, and battered flip-flops, and tan from three weeks in Mexico, where he hadn’t touched a stove. (“The ‘mamás’ cook for us there — best cooks in the world,” said one of the best cooks in the world.) He had recharged on their slow-simmered mole and roadside tacos, and now he was bristling with energy.
How technology is transforming the wine business: On a daily basis, we are subjected to headlines about how technology is negatively affecting our world. The truth is that bad news sells and good news does not. However, there is clear evidence to suggest that technology, when used correctly, can enable positive changes that deserve to be recognized. We often hear about how the music and book industries, each of which is worth around $130 billion globally, have been disrupted by technology. But there is another industry that is seldom mentioned but is also going through a technology transformation. Wine is a $300 billion industry, and so far, only a handful of start-ups have been making big waves in this niche area. Vivino allows users to scan any bottle of wine and immediately retrieve user reviews, average ratings and price for the bottle, along with other essential information to help them choose the right bottle.
Loire frost may cause wine shortages: Severe spring frost has ruined the equivalent of between 20% and 30% of an average harvest in the Loire Valley, according to an official report by regional body InterLoire. An average harvest is around 1.9 million hectolitres, or 253 million bottles, it said. But, losses for 2016 are up to 80% of potential harvest in the worst-hit communes, said officials, who have spent several weeks assessing damage.
In search of the real Champagne: The first high land north-east of Paris, about an hour and a half by car, is occupied by the vineyards of Champagne. They’re the northernmost vineyards of significance outside Germany. But the Mosel and other German wine regions are deeper in the continent, and they become hotter in summer, so the grapes become riper; Champagne, closer to the Atlantic, stays cooler, which is an advantage for a sparkling wine. The location is at the limit of what, at least until the age of global warming, was climatically possible for a major wine region. Cool ripening produces delicate aromas as well as the high acidity needed to carry the flavour past the bubbles. In addition, the vineyard soil is poor, as you would expect in a great wine region, just a thin layer of topsoil covering deep, white chalk. As a rule, the best wine in any part of the world comes from a single estate and often a single vineyard, certainly from just one vintage. Yet not long ago, when you bought champagne you almost always bought a brand — a bottle that was a blend of vineyards and vintages.