People always ask me what serious eaters like to eat and where. Most of the best meals I have had are not traditional restaurant meals per se, but rather informal tastings in restaurants or food events where great chefs get together and cook for a cause. Here are four events that you won’t want to miss. You are hearing about this before anyone else, so don’t tell me later that I didn’t tell you to BOOK NOW!
June 14: Patricia Quintana, the Julia Child of Mexico, cooks for one night at Masa. You can drop your reservation at El Izote in Mexico City and just eat Patricia’s seven-course tasting menu for only $100, and all the dough benefits a Mexican charity aiding homeless and abandoned children.
June 26: Auriga’s Doug Flicker cooks at the Beard House in NYC. The most under-appreciated chef in the Twin Cities takes center stage in New York for one night only.
July 20: Seth Daugherty hosts another great dinner at the Grave 601 flagship restaurant Cosmos benefiting Share Our Strength. Daugherty is a 2005 Food and Wine 10 Best New Chefs conferee and he always lures his famous chef friends into town for the night to do a course at these meals. Look for this to be a knockout event.
July 26: 2006 Food and Wine 10 Best New Chefs conferee Stewart Woodman, the chef-owner of Five, will cook his meal at the Beard House. This promises to be a great meal, and Woodman’s NYC connections should make this a popular evening indeed.
Beard dinners take place in the old brownstone in New York where Jim Beard lived, taught, and cooked. The prices are $90 for Beard Foundation members, $120 for civilians, and include wine pairings. These dinners are always memorable—chefs tend to pull out all the stops for these events and you can rub elbows with many famous chefs, TV personalities, and writers as well. Click here to become a member. I'm one, and you should be too.
I am off to Africa and Spain to shoot a few shows for the Travel Channel. My new series, Bizarre Foods, debuts this January, on Monday evenings, so warm up the Tivo. I’ll be blogging a lot from the road, so look for my globe-trotting updates over the next few months. I will be camping in the Moroccan desert with nomadic Bedouins, eating camel and sleeping under the stars. Then hanging out with El Bulli’s Ferran Adria, the king of molecular gastronomy, in his laboratory in Rosas on Spain’s Catalan coast.
In a recent issue of Time Magazine I found the following: Adria's recipe for innovation is "cold and methodical." Adria starts with "information, information, information"—garnered by traveling, tasting, and above all, reading. He has an extensive gastronomic library installed in his new "laboratory workshop" in nearby Barcelona, and claims to have memorized thousands of tastes on his "psychological palate." He says, "What I hate most is monotony." He doesn't have to worry. Says superstar chef Paul Bocuse: "He's doing the most exciting things in our profession today."