2018 has come and is about to go and it has been an incredible year for Food and Wine Gazette. Before I take you on a tour of what we covered during the year, I would like to thank you and express my gratitude for your constant support be it through reading, liking, sharing or even providing valuable feedback on a constant basis.
We don’t often hear about Maltese chefs but at the start of the year we put a spotlight on one of the most successful Maltese chefs Marvin Gauci interviewing him about his ventures, the opening of his restaurant in Budapest at the Corinthia Hotel and also how he intended to expand his business.
Nick Bril announced the launch of a private dining room in his office next to The Jane in Antwerp called The Jane Table. Our first long form interview was with Bart de Pooter who touched upon the dinner at el Bulli which changed his perspective on food forever. That was barely posted when Gert de Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens shocked the Belgian scene with an announcement that they would close their 3 Michelin star restaurant Hertog Jan in December this year. We interviewed Gert de Mangeleer about the news to find out more.
In January, we also took a look at what was cooking at Azurmendi with an indepth look at what Eneko Atxa was doing with his initiative JAKI(N). And we were at Bon Bon for the first Bon Bon Origins dinner of 2018. Gert De Mangeleer cooked for the first time in a four hands dinner in Belgium with Christophe Hardiquest. We interviewed a radical Italian cheese maker Giorgio Rotolo.
January ended with a story on how Michelin accepted Sebastien Bras decision to hand back his 3 Michelin stars. The French chef decided he no longer wanted to be listed in the red guide.
February marked the opening on Noma. We went inside the new Noma to see how Rene Redzepi reinvented the restaurant. We also look at how this new star was born.
We interviewed Nick Bril, the chef and co-owner of The Jane Antwerp on how he manages to combine not just his work as a chef and entrepreneur but also writing a book and deejaying in his free time. It was a fascinating interview. Isabel Gilbert Palmer interviewed Nancy Singleton Hachisu on her new book Japan the Cookbook.
In March we looked at the first cookbook to be published with augmented reality. We wrote about a Roman restaurant, Roscioli, that has become a must visit for locals and tourists alike. We wrote about how Rene Redzepi believes everything needs to change in the restaurant world.
Massimo Bottura opened Refettorio Paris with Alain Ducasse and Yannick Alleno cooking on the first night. There were also three interviews with Niko Romito on his meticulous work with vegetables, Konstantin Filippou on creativity and with Sang Hoon Degeimbre on the refurbishment of L’Air du Temps.
In April we went behind the scenes at Bon Bon to report on the four hands dinner with Jose Avillez as well as Christophe Hardiquest’s visit to Cantillon to cook rabbit with Gueze. We interviewed Niko Romito on simplicity, wrote about Nick Bril’s first book, the David Chang podcast, the embarrassing and curious incident of the OAD European top 100+ list. We ended with an interview with Jose Avillez on the newspaper review that saved Belcanto.
May marked the announcement of the World Restaurant Awards. Chefs and food writers from around the world convened in Paris for a workshop to discuss the awards and shape them. We featured Dan Giusti’s quest to feed school children for $1.25 without using processed foods, the news that Gert de Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens would open a second L.E.S.S. in Ghent and convert the former location of Hertog Jan (currently L.E.S.S.) into a traditional Flemish bistro. We also wrote about how Bozar restaurant chef Karen Torosyan became the pie king of Belgium.
June marked the shock death of Anthony Bourdain. We wrote about it here. We also published the full interview with Karen Torosyan. He is a determined chef he spoke about how to evolve you needed to compete with yourself and not with others. We report about how 8 restaurants dropped out of World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and how Massimo Bottura reclaimed the top spot in the list.
We also went to Malta to report about chef Tim Butler of Esenzi in Thailand who will open a restaurant in Malta. We spoke with Kasper Kurdhal about the offer from Ferran Adria that was too good to accept. He is the executive chef of Brussels restaurant Le Chalet de la Foret. And we wrote about Sergio Herman’s third new restaurant in Cadzand which opened in August.
In July, René Redzepi spoke about the full vegetarian menu at Noma was the biggest challenge of his entire career. We went behind the scenes at Restaurant Bon Bon to write about the four hands dinner between Ana Ros and Christophe Hardiquest. Nick Bril returned back from holiday with a problem. On one sitting alone 38 out of 80 guests asked for something different because of an allergy or because they didn’t like a given ingredient. He said people wanted to dine in a fine dining restaurant but they did not want to dine in finesse. We spoke with Matthieu Beaudaert about his decision to close his fine dining restaurant and convert it into a more casual place saying tasting menus were dead. And we also interviewed Ana Ros on the challenge of working with humble ingredients.
August started with a personal post about dealing with the loss of a loved one. It was also the month where the world lost Joel Robuchon aged 73. We reflected on what Massimo Bottura’s return to the top of the culinary world meant for Italy. We also went to the salt pans of Sal Marim, in the Algarve, Portugal where we spoke to Jorge Raiado about the importance of preserving what we have. We ended the month with an interview with Hans Neuner, the Austrian chef who fell in love with Portugal.
September marked the launch of The Jane Instantly, an Instagram account to help you secure one of the most sought after tables in the restaurant world. We wrote about the launch of Blueness, the new Japanese food bar concept by Sergio Herman and Syrco Bakker in Cadzand.
Zaiyu Hasegawa and his team at Tokyo restaurant DEN returned to Belgium to cook with Gert de Mangeleer at L.E.S.S. We interviewed Syrco Bakker on perfecting the Hierbas de las Dunas recipe.
In October, we wrote about one of the rising stars of Italian cuisine Riccardo Camanini who is slowly starting to make a name for himself not just in Italy but also outside. The categories of the World Restaurant Awards were announced and the search for the tattoo-free chef and the tweezer-free kitchen was on. We report on a wine battle between biodynamic and natural wines as well as the launch of Dow’s Aged Tawny Ports in Belgium. We visited Retro Bottega in Rome while Isabel Gilbert Palmer reviewed In My Blood a cookbook by Bo Bech.
November was the month of the awards. The chase for that elusive 3rd star in Belgium continued. We wrote about the opening of Cake and Bubbles in London, Albert Adria’s first venture outside Spain. Don’t miss the 10 lessons we learned from Kasper Kurdhal. And if you are heading to Malta, you might want to give restaurant Risette a visit. We look at its evolution. Mauro Uliassi clinched a third star in Italy and David Martin a second in Belgium.
One of our top reads this year was about how Gary Vaynerchuk and Empathy Wines plan to cut he middlemen and sell the best $20 wines. We also spoke to Tom Kerridge about how the London opening at Corinthia London was a big deal for him.
This month, we brought you two interviews from London, one with Sunny Hodge from Diogenes the Dog, a wine bar that is going against the grain and another with Tom Kerridge about how British cuisine has evolved given that it has no shackles and therefore chefs can take it where they want. We also interviewed Niki Segnit, the author of Lateral Cooking about the art of unleashing your creativity in the kitchen.
Last but not least we report on Low Food, the start of a small food Dutch movement and the first long list of the World Restaurant Awards. The year also ended with the news that Dani Garcia who clinched 3 Michelin stars three weeks earlier had decided to turn the restaurant into a hamburger joint.
Happy New Year to all. Here is to an even better 2019.