Legendary French chef Pierre Koffmann on his 50 years in the kitchen: Few mission statements are as accurate, yet leave so much unsaid, as the one that opens Pierre Koffmann’s latest book. “I am a typical French chef,” he says at the top of the first page of Classic Koffmann. It’s an interesting opening gambit, and a reminder of the extent to which the man embodies French cooking. Even in his 50th year as a chef, and his 46th in London, he has steadfastly refused to fade from relevance, just as his country’s cuisine has – even if both are operating in a different landscape now to when French food was the undisputed pillar of fine dining a few decades ago.
Harrods keeps up to 75% of restaurant service charge, union says: Harrods has been accused of shortchanging its restaurant staff in the latest row over how service charges added to diners’ bills are shared among workers. The union representing Harrods waiters and kitchen staff believes the Qatari owner of the upmarket London department store retains up to 75% of the service charge, a situation it says reduces their pay by up to £5,000 a year.
The Dark (and Often Dubious) Art of Forecasting Food Trends: Remember when wraps seemed revolutionary? Maybe you had one on your way home from an Alanis Morissette concert in 1996. Then you shifted into a comforting pot roast period, followed by the martini and cupcake years. In the mid-2000s, perhaps you pivoted into a complete rejection of carbs, then slid into the bacon era. Who could forget 2010, when you stood in line at a food truck playing Angry Birds on your new iPad? That line would give way to the Cronut line, the ramen line, the poke line and now the line starting over there by the empanada stand.
Food for thought – how good quality vegetables are being rejected over wonky look: Retailers are leaving farmers out of pocket by rejecting good quality vegetables that have a wonky appearance, a food science expert has warned.
Jamie Oliver Claims Brexit Is Forcing Him to Close 6 Failing Restaurants: The U.K.’s vote to leave the E.U. started kneecapping its once-booming restaurant industry practically on day one, and today Jamie Oliver says his empire of Italian eateries is the latest to be victimized by Brexit. Six Jamie’s Italian restaurants in England and Scotland will shut their doors in the next three months, the Guardian reports; Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group CEO Simon Blagden explains that “every restaurant owner knows” it’s murder out there right now, and that “post-Brexit the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder.”
Mapping the perfect wine and cheese pairings – using data science: A university science professor helped develop a computer program to visually map out relationships between genes and molecules. Then his wife pointed out he could use it to find perfect wine and cheese pairings. Next time you are planning the ultimate wine and cheese party, reach for your computer or tablet, because there’s a map for that.
Oak barrels: What they do to wine: Many of the world’s greatest white wines ferment and mature in oak casks. It’s labour intensive, but for many winemakers, the benefits amply justify the trouble. The barrels establish intimate contact between the wine and the yeasts that carry out fermentation. As sugar is transformed into alcohol, those yeasts die, sinking to the bottom of the barrel to form a layer of lees.
The ill-health of wine writing: It’s not been a great year for wine writing. Several fellow writers have lost their newspaper columns and regular gigs. It has been particularly tough for those who rely solely on writing for their living; for many like me who have had quite a good year, it has been the lecturing, judging, consulting, presenting and other communication-related activities that has made the difference.
With Champagne, Big Can Be Beautiful, Too: Over the last 15 years, the rising appeal of grower Champagne, wine produced by small farmers who grow their own grapes, has transformed our notion of what the region’s wines can be. These farmers demonstrated that Champagne could be as much a distinctive expression of place as any other great wine, rather than the smoothly consistent product portrayed in so many marketing campaigns, blended to meet a house style year after year by consummate cellar masters. The movement effectively splattered vineyard dirt over Champagne’s urbane, tuxedoed image, redirecting the narrative from the cellar and placing it back on the farm.
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