The restaurant that employs grandmas instead of chefs: What’s better than grandma’s cooking? Well, nothing. Which is the raison d’etre of Staten Island’s Enoteca Maria. The brilliant brainstorm belongs to owner Jody Scaravella, who started out a decade ago with just Italian nonnas but has branched out to include 30 grandmas from around the world; think Argentina, Algeria, Syria, the Dominican Republic, Poland, Liberia, and Nigeria. Every night there is one Italian grandma in the kitchen, joined by another nonna with a different culinary tradition.
Milan leads fight against food waste – with ugly fruit and Michelin-starred soup kitchens: On a Saturday afternoon, as soon as the market is drawing to a close, traders bring their boxes of unsold fruit and vegetables to a corner of Viale Papiniano in Milan. They are welcomed by Rebecca, a 25-year-old student who’s behind Recup, a project that distributes leftover food to people in need in the local neighbourhood. Along with 20 fellow volunteers recruited through social media, Rebecca collects and shares unsold tomatoes, cabbages and bananas from the market stands.
Top chefs and Instagram star show solidarity with Syria – in the kitchen: It was breaking the rules, said TV chef Angela Hartnett, but nobody minded as she urged the most creative of Britain’s food lovers to get behind an “amazing” campaign of solidarity with Syria – in British kitchens. Hartnett was picking up a prize at the Observer Food Monthly Awards last week on behalf of the Instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy, an anonymous blogger and food critic whose photographs and opinions of much of what he consumes each day in eateries around the capital have become an internet phenomenon.
When you moan about the cost of a meal, think about who’s slaving in the kitchens: An email arrives from a young, discouraged restaurant cook who has recently parted company with her employers. It had been her dream job; the kind of serious kitchen in rural England to which she had long aspired. There was a contract, giving her 40 hours a week on minimum wage. No, she wouldn’t get rich, but she would be doing something she loved.She would be learning on the job. Then the rota turned up: 60 hours a week. With no extra pay. For her labours she would be getting below the minimum wage. She took it up with her bosses. Ach, they said. Standard industry practice. She pointed out it was illegal. Now she is looking for another job.
Ireland’s newest Michelin star restaurant is booked up for 10 months: Dublin restaurant Heron & Grey in Blackrock received its first Michelin star at the start of this month and is now fully booked until the end of next year. “Fortunately, we are now fully booked out until August 2017,” wrote head chef Damien Grey on Twitter.
Nuance: Nuance opened in 2008, situated in the little town of Duffel near Antwerp, noted mainly for its invention of the heavy woollen cloth that is used to make the familiar duffel coat. Just in case any visitors had missed this connection, there is a large status of a figure in a duffel coat on a roundabout as you enter the town. Head chef Thierry Theys had previously trained at Plaza Athenee in Paris, Bar Boeuf in Monaco and a two star restaurant called Beluga in the Netherlands before opening Nuance at the tender age of 24. The restaurant earned its first Michelin star in 2009 and a second in 2010, which it has retained ever since. Two Michelin stars at the age of 26 is exceptionally rapid culinary progress. This is a family affair, with his wife Sofie running the front of house. Thierry and his wife opened a second restaurant called Vintage in 2014. The chef was in the kitchen this evening, something that almost seems to go without saying on the continent but is far from assured in London.
Mapped: Every Michelin-starred restaurant on Earth: The 2017 Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland was released last week, with the return of the Fat Duck to the top table – after a one-year hiatus Down Under – making the headlines.
Always buy the cheapest bottle on the wine list in restaurants, food critic Jay Rayner says: Diners should only buy house wine in restaurants in protest at complex and overpriced wine lists, Jay Rayner has suggested. The critic, 50, recommended that customers buy the “cheapest bottle on the list” due to the snobbery of wine connoisseurs.
Bordeaux 2016 – quality and quantity: Nature has been kind to Bordeaux this year. A bumper crop for many, and a fine harvest – so far. It may be over for some growers in this vast region but there are plenty of bunches still out there, as numerous châteaux hold on waiting for the later-ripening Cabernets and the last Merlots from cooler soils.
The history of coffee shows people have been arguing about the drink for over 500 years: Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug (you can thank globalization and rough Monday mornings for that). But before we had a Starbucks on every other block, the drink endured years of prohibition and reinstatements, picking up plenty of advocates and critics throughout its existence.