Massimo Bottura and his global movement to feed the hungry: Massimo Bottura is running late. You imagine this is probably a perennial condition. In the previous week, as I know from various emails, the man who was in 2016 voted the number one chef in the world, has been in Tokyo, Melbourne and London, returning between each trip to cook at Osteria Francescana, his three Michelin-starred restaurant in the northern Italian city of Modena.
See how he’s disrupting fine dining – and he isn’t even a chef: The clean lines and chilled vibes of the dining area at Nahm, one of Bangkok’s most renowned restaurants, are what you’d expect from a joint with an acclaimed, history-driven menu that has set it apart as one of the best in the city. But behind the scenes, back in the kitchen, you encounter the clatter of pans, bursts of flames, staccato knocks on chopping boards and shouts of “Yes, chef!” and “Service!” It works, this careful chaos, thanks to a delicate balance of trust between the waiters, the line cooks, the assistants and the leader of the whole show, the executive chef. This week, the chief isn’t there. He’s in Slovenia. In his place is an acclaimed but unfamiliar French chef from San Francisco. Why? Because Andrea Petrini said so.
Brexit and the coming food crisis: ‘If you can’t feed a country, you haven’t got a country’: On 24 June last year, the few hundred residents of a temporary village, hidden from view in the middle of a West Sussex soft fruit farm, received letters. They were signed by David Kay, the managing director of the Hall Hunter Partnership, a business that grows 10% of the UK’s strawberries, 19% of its raspberries and a whacking 42% of its blueberries across thousands of acres, of both glasshouses and polytunnels. The recipients were his seasonal workforce, some of the 3,000 pickers from Bulgaria, Romania and elsewhere who come here each year to get the harvest in, and without whom the business would simply not exist.
Feel the burn: why do we love chilli? I’ve been procrastinating. On my dining room table I have lined up three hot peppers: one habanero, flame-orange and lantern-shaped; one skinny little Thai bird’s eye chilli; and one relatively innocuous jalapeño, looking by comparison like a big green zeppelin. My mission, should I choose to accept, is to eat them.
Stories without a sweet ending: Is every sweet a dessert? What is the role of sugar? Is dessert necessarily the end of a menu? Sweetness and sugar have been our obsession since we started The Candy Project, which made us think a lot about this flavor. This year we have aimed to involve our guests in our reflections to share with them our questions about the myths around sweetness and the function of desserts.
Celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio: ‘We Can End Hunger In This Country’: Hunger in America can often seem invisible, but recent studies have shown that it is a problem that affects millions of people, many of them children. An estimated 13.1 million kids live in homes with insufficient food, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the number of college students struggling with hunger has prompted more campuses to open food pantries. Seniors and people with disabilities also suffer from hunger, and federal money for programs like Meals on Wheels may face cuts under President Trump’s proposed budget.
A Japanese wine community has taken root in the heart of Burgundy: The restaurant Bissoh can be found through a narrow door off Rue Maufoux, a cobblestoned street traversing Beaune’s imposing 13th-century ramparts. At a low wood counter, Mikihiko Sawahata serves meaty unagi marinated in soy sauce, mirin and, unexpectedly, red burgundy wine. His sushi rice is another example of local adaptation, tangy with a hard-to-place lilt. Good rice vinegar is in short supply locally, explains Sawahata, Bissoh’s chef and owner, so he blends it with cider and balsamic vinegars.
Acidity and wine age – ask Decanter: Jim Boyce, Wolverhampton, asks: Can you settle an argument about acidity and wine age? A friend says that acidity will remain constant, but I say that it will soften. Who is right? Stephen Skelton MW, for Decanter, replies: In technical terms, the level of acidity in bottled wine remains almost constant with age. But that’s not to say that the perception of acidity on your palate does not change.
Q&A with Oz Clarke, author of Grapes & Wines: With an instantly recognisable and highly awarded bibliography Oz Clarke is a national treasure, not just in his native England but across the world of wine. Here he shares his tips to train your tastebuds, tells us what it takes to write a book like Grapes & WInes and ponders which of the Three Wine Men he’d rather road-trip with.