...more recent posts
Celebrity Chefs Dish Up Dinner Party Neurosis
The Daily Telegraph London
December 14, 2001
THE great British tradition of the dinner party is coming under threat from an unlikely source: unrealistic cooking standards set by celebrity chefs, a survey shows.
Culinary experts such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Ainsley Harriot are undermining the public's confidence and giving rise to a phenomenon known as Kitchen Performance Anxiety.
The survey carried out by Prof David Warburton, of the University of Reading, showed that more than two thirds of the public had stopped giving dinner parties because of the pressures.
Most people still holding them said they were often more stressful than a first date or an interview. One in eight people felt such anxiety when entertaining friends that it made them physically ill.
Prof Warburton said: "Cooking for guests has always caused slight worry and some `butterflies' because it is natural to want to give guests the best one can.
"Unfortunately, my research shows that for many people it had moved beyond this and they had become tremendously stressed because they burdened themselves with irrational and unrealistic expectations of their cooking skills.
"For these people `butterflies' can become physical sickness and nervousness can become extreme irritation and impatience. They may even avoid giving dinners altogether."
More than a thousand people were interviewed in the survey, which was commissioned by Piat d'Or, the winemaker.
Prof Warburton defined Kitchen Performance Anxiety as the fear of one's cooking and entertainment being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, which would lead to feelings of embarrassment, inadequacy, humiliation and the avoidance of entertaining.
But there was some relief for the party-giver. Ninety per cent of those interviewed said good company and good wine were more important than good food.
all i will post from dinner tonight [and we would have joined you yatters at aka but we were only available late tonight] is that, aside from yet another extremely yummy meal at locanda vini et olli, en route home, wheel and the cabbie were ROCKING out to a highly caffeinated merengue band, which i am listenting to as i write b/c we somehow got the cd from rubin the driver in exchange for a slight increase in fare, sounding like a cross between salsa and polka, BLASTING from the car driving down atlantic avenue, from which there was quite a lot of hooping and hollering from rubin and wheel. needless to say we will only be taking rubin's car from now on and he has an even better cd for us next time.
i think Captain Wylie will be cooking for only 8 more nights at 71CFF, than its nothing public till summer 2002 i hear, time for seats at the bar next week, we did this week--YUMMY STUFF!!!
jim whats the possibility of a bloody dead bird on the top of this page?? another yum yum in brooklyn we ate at last week is...Al Di La Trattoria 248 5th Ave, 7187834565...need to try more but we eat every bite and had to get one dish repeet on the spot...nice wine list...."baby Lupa"....i hope to go back Tues 12/11....
Jean-Louis Palladin, a fearless and passionate cook who helped to free French cuisine in the United States from a hidebound orthodoxy while influencing a generation of chefs and food lovers, died yesterday in McLean, Va. He was 55.
November 21, 2001
Up there with best meals ever, which I normally don’t associate with fine dining situations being more prone to romanticize the sausage and bread by the side of the road in Italy over any starred situation: Mju in the Millennium Hotel, London on Sloane Street. The Japanese/Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda serves his fare in a hotel room reminiscent of some starship bridge crossed with a crusty hotel dining room, i.e. ugly, but this did nothing to detract from the tasting menu whose courses ran into two digits. In fact I began to enjoy our strangely incongruous surroundings. The tasting itself was beautifully orchestrated (I usually balk at these assaults on the taste buds and digestive process) with modest portions that built in flavour to a crescendo leaving us all uncharacteristically speechless. Some of the courses came two at a time. He is one of those smart chefs, reminiscent of a certain hirsute one on Clinton Street, that understands perfectly the harmony of flavor, texture, and the visual elements of food. I kept thinking of Huysmans; I’m not ready for redemption—y et. You eat whatever is being served but the kitchen will accommodate requests/allergies. Here is the full confession: tomato tea consomme; oysters with ginger & mirin dressing; salad of tuna, orange, shiso sauce; some mousse/lobster concoction; tataki of venison, truffle peaches with rosemary & honey; roast langoustine with tea & shellfish oil; confit of wild Scottish salmon with marinated celery; carpaccio of sea scallops with foie gras & citrus soy; lobster ravioli with seaweed vinaigrette & shellfish essence; shitake & buckwheat risotto with grilled foie gras; steamed razor clams with cauliflower and broccoli florets; double cooked de-boned spatchcock (Scottish poussin) with braised daikon & bread sauce; Scottish Black-Angus beef with shitake mushrooms on truffle mash; sorbet of lychee & strawberry; floating island with vanilla bean & praline anglaise. Great wines too, one of which was apparently absurdly underpriced, a Rousseau Grand Cru that the wine detective spotted and which they were gracious enough to serve at the listed price. 50 English pounds for the tasting. Go while the fares remain low.
Santiago lunch 11/17
baby bay shrimp in garlic
salad of lettuce w/roe, scallops, toasted almonds, parma cheese, lardons, basalmic vinagrette
spinish pasta ravioli filled with smoked chicken in a pepper tomatoe sauce
lemon fettucini with fruta del mar (hard core mar!!!)
lemon sorbetta with lemoncella
(off to Mendoza)
Medallions of fine dining
6 months into a delicious new year, our critic reviews his top tastes
By Jerry Shriver, USA TODAY
Francis Mallmann 1884 Restaurante, Mendoza, Argentina (1188 Belgrano; 011-54-261-424-3336). Argentine chef Francis Mallmann is one of South America's stars, thanks to his sophisticated renderings of regional produce at his restaurants in Buenos Aires, Uruguay and here in the heart of the Mendoza wine country. He seems completely at home at this spacious, Colonial-style outpost, where my dinner highlights included flatbread topped with bresaola, dried tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh figs; roasted lamb with pureed potatoes; and perfectly simple chocolate mousse.
????guess i will see????
truffles in paradise
Three of us had dinner at Papillon last night (Hudson & W. 11th.) Probaby it deserves more of a write up then I am going to give it. They've been open about 2 weeks and have not been reviewed yet that I know of. This is the chef from the much hyped but ill fated Atlas (Central Park South) which closed earlier in the year. Evidently the chef went back to Europe, but now is back again in NYC at this much smaller location.
The place gave me a weird feeling at first. You have to enter through the bar next door (which looks like just another bar on Hudson, but is actually part of the restaurant.) Then you go through the back into the actual restaurant. Not a problem, really, but there's something about the layout I don't like. In any case, our waiter was very good, and she quickly turned my intuition from doubtful to hopeful.
The menu is short. Either a two or three course prix fixe (where the third course is either cheese or dessert) for $35 and $45 resepctively. We had a thai spiced pumpkin soup (with a martini glass on the side filled with some crazy pumpkin sorbet concoction,) frog leg salad with some sort of (Atlas signature) foam all over it, and the best item, a langoustine tartar with a crustacean foam and an anchovie (it worked.) We drank a nice Meursault. Other apps included a fois-gras, a mushroom dish, and I think one thing I can't remember. Everything was small (or, not overly large) and well presented. Definitely get the langoustine.
For the main course we had a chicken dish, a stripped bass, and pig cheeks. Pig cheeks got the thumbs up although I didn't indulge. Very rich like the short ribs at 71CFF. The chicken was reportedly cooked to perfection, as was my stripped bass. The bass is all I can comment on really, and it was done well, over a puree of jerusalem artichokes. A big pile of bitter greens on the side was a great touch. Very nice.
And then dessert. Get dessert. Get five. By far the best part of the meal. Three chocolate dishes which the waiter explains with the actual percent of cacao involved. Something called "Wylie's Margarita" which is another one of those crazy foam concoctions involving limes and salt served in a martini glass. It's named after 71CFF chef Wylie who I guess gave them some sort of special lime juice to use (I don't think he knows his name is on the menu though.) If you can wrangle a few words with the pastry chef maybe you can get sent the little sampler we closed with which contained some small cookies and a bunch of strange tasting sugary cubes which completely blew my mind. Oh yeah, and the toasted sugar coated macademia nuts weren't too bad either. Did I mention dessert was the best part?
Anyway, aside from the weird room (which I can't even say why I think it's weird) Papillon is looking good. Very empty last night, so you might want to go soon (before the reviews come.) At $45 it's a pretty good deal for the level of food you get. The wine list seemed small to me, and I had trouble locating a red to start with, but we had a decent rioja with the mains. My guess is they need some help in that area, but I'll have to wait for the more learned opinions on matters of the vine.
Afterwards we walked into the White Horse Tavern where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death, learned of the Yankees loss, and sat for awhile discussing WWIII. The table next to us kept going for the juke box, playing Frank Sinatra over and over: "Start spreadin' the news..." It seemed like everyone thought the Yankees had done well enough. I think the same goes for Papillon.
Today was a beautiful day, spend a few hours at the brooklyn botanical garden: rose garden if full bloom, fragrant garden where you can rub all the plants and smell, local plant garden with seseme seed, sunchokes, jimson weed.....
The daily news had a devastating review of Opia (130 E. 57th) which contained this gem of sentence describing the "plaster mound of chickpea purée" that came under the grilled bass: "If taupe had a flavor, this would be it." Ouch.
Argentina again ...
Argentina has the best store-bought mayo I've ever had. Good oil, good eggs, and lemon juice.
Mike, that monkfish you cooked last night was first rate. Any tips for the rest of us less gifted over the fire? Also, do you have a favorite spot to buy fish?
Thanks for dinner!
had some extremely tasty and clean chinese on the upper east side last night Henry's Evergreen 1288 First (69 st)
sautewednesday.com is a food weblog that might be interesting.
In the first-century A.D., the Roman poet Martial sent his friends the following invitation:
Impressions of Argentine food
Basic food groups: beef, sugar, caffeine.
Produce: Tomatoes and lettuce rival Salinas, CA quality -- whether in Buenos Aires or at a fruit stand on a dirt road in the remote northwest provinces. Fruits and veggies are plentiful, high quality, and cheap. Can't speak for produce quality in Patagonia, suspect may be similar to Scottish and Welsh produce quality. (Gotta love them root veggies!)
Seafood: I've never seen such a dearth of seafood in a country with such a long coast line. (See "beef" under basic food groups.)
Beef: $5 bucks at a sitdown restaraunt for a large, tasty and tender steak from sirloin or beef tender.
Cabrito: If you're ever in Salta, check out the cabrito asado -- an explosion of flavors
Empanadas: Favorite snack food in Argentina. (See "beef" under basic food groups.) They consist of filling held in a small round "tapa" of dough which is folded in half. Beef, chicken and sometimes onion/cheese are the most common. Baked or fried, but baked is best.
Salteño Empanadas: People in Buenos Aires and the pampa speak in reverential tones of the empanadas from the Northwest. "My grandfather is from Salta, and he always makes Salteño empanadas -- the best." BA empanadas are very simple, but the Salteños use a dozen different ingredients in the mixture for the filling.
Mate: The people of Argentina are obsessed with mate, a bitter and mildly stimulating (i.e., caffine-like substance) tea made from yerba mate. To add sugar or not is a touchy subject. Mate preparation and consumption is a group activity, which plays into the close personal interaction typical of Argentines.
Dulce Leche: Can be described as a jam-like substance made from camelized milk. It's sweetened, carmelized condensed milk -- much more condensed than typical US condensed milk. Argentines love to have bits of bread coated with dulce leche as an afternoon break during the long interval between lunch and late-night dinner. Dulce leche with peaches sounds like an odd combination, but is a delightful dessert.