Anyone catch the Nightline story on Portland, Oregon and its claim to fame as the portable food capitol of the world? And did you get the stat about a getting a license to vend with just a $600 check and a 10 day waiting period? I love that! Well, here is another food truck debuting in St. Paul. Bravo to Mayor Chris Coleman and the St. Paul City Council for making it easy for entrepreneurs to develop businesses like this one. Wake up Minneapolis and rise from your lethargy!!! Write your local reps and council members and let’s pass some citywide legislation allowing for the quick rise of a mobile food community. I think that the summer of 2010 should be the Season of the Food Truck! I don’t want to practice contempt prior to investigation, but the menu for this new food truck seems awkwardly dull to me at first glance (chicken Caesar!?!?!?), but if the food is good that ennui will disappear faster than a customer’s first blush at the Bunny Ranch! Speaking of getting a rise .
I am a Top Chef addict and the folks at Magical Elves, which produces both TC and TC Masters , are making some of the best food television available anywhere on the dial. Earlier this season on TC , I thought the Joël Robuchon episode was as good as an ep could get. It was superb commentary and candid learning moments from a legend (Robuchon himself) combined with amazing food from the chef-testants (check out andrewzimmern.com for an interview with the casting team) and a unique point of view, since the Quick-fire challenge winner (Kevin) got to eat dinner with Robuchon as part of his prize. It was awesome.
I tuned in to see the show last Wednesday, and I guess I must have missed a boatload of promos cause there on the TV were a bunch of my friends making life very hard for the final five—Mike, Brian, Jennifer, Eli, and Kevin. I can not remember ever seeing Thomas Keller on a food show like this before. What a huge get! And with the youthful Gavin Kaysen, the James Beard Award-winning chef of Café Boulud in NYC, judging the Quick-fire with a challenge based on his experience at the Bocuse D’or, I got really excited. Gavin is from the Twin Cities and is one of the top food talents in the country. So, Jennifer wins the Quick-fire and the elimination challenge gets laid out cook a protein (lamb or salmon) and pair it with two ambitious vegetable dishes as garniture, a classic Bocuse D’or challenge. Besides Keller and Kaysen, other heavy hitters sampling the dishes were Paul Bocuse’s son, Jerome, Daniel Boulud, and Tim Hollingsworth, chef de cuisine at The French Laundry and the most recent USA competitor at the Bocuse D’or (In 2009 he came in 6th out of 24). Keller, besides being the greatest living American chef, and the most famous outside our country as well, is the chair of the Bocuse D’or USA committee. Anyway, Kevin won the challenge (Eli was sent home), which was a staggering tribute to the most essential and critical element in the world of food, one that is oddly often overlooked—simple food that is prepared well and tastes great always trumps all. So as we head into the finals in Napa, the final set of shows promise to be the best in recent memory. But Kevin, more than others, seems dialed in when it comes to flavor and execution. I think he is the one to beat.
Speaking of Thomas Keller, when I worked for him, the sheer volume of what I learned was overwhelming, but the most primal tenet of his was the idea of taste. “Taste is everything,” he used to say. The menu at the restaurant he co-owned at the time (Rakel in NYC) was filled with many of his classic signatures, some of which he still cooks today (Oysters and Pearls for example), but the dish that always amazed me was the stuffed veal breast, a rustic composition that TK prepared all the way, portioning out slices of veal breast into small sous vide pouches, then spooning the perfectly reduced sauce into each pouch before seasoning and sealing. TK would do this himself every two days. When an order came into the kitchen, the pouch would get dropped into the circulator, where it would heat up before being slit open and spilled out onto the plate, accompanied by pommes puree. Technique wise, the service style allowed every dish to taste the same, and the sauce never suffered from being over-reduced by an errant cook. The dish was pure peasant fare, rustic and earthy, and it was a HUGE seller that stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the other more complex and dazzling dishes on the menu. But it was the only dish that Keller always made himself from start to finish, because as he told us one day, the goal was perfect taste, and it’s the hardest to do in a dish so utterly simple.
And last but not least, this Rochester City Newspaper clip proves why Tony might be the funniest man I know “Is Anthony Bourdain worried that Scripps Howard, the parent company of his ex-employer and current-day nemesis the Food Network, has purchased his current employer, the Travel Channel? He tells Rochester City Newspaper : “Um, yes. We are about halfway through shooting season six, ratings have never been higher, but I think ... I'm definitely taking a wait-and-see [approach]. I'm not happy about sharing a hot tub with Guy Fieri, is what I'm saying.” Bourdain also has a typically great quote about his current job title: “I'll live with celebrity chef, or television personality, but in my heart of hearts, I'd put it on the same level as lighting director on porn film, habitual masturbator, or aspiring arsonist.”
Read more: Bourdain Has Reservations About New Boss -Grub Street New York