ES Chats with the Michelin Man

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Wednesday morning was the equivalent of Oscar nominations day for New York City chefs of a certain caliber, who woke up and found out whether they had won or lost a star from the esteemed French food critics at Michelin. (Yes, the same people who replace your tires are also the world’s most feared and respected food critics — go figure.) But it was also an interesting day for Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin’s directeur general, whose job is to personally call each chef and break the good (or bad) news. We caught up with the foodie world’s Santa Claus/Grinch to see how his big day went.

ES: So you actually call each of these chefs yourself? Are they expecting your call?
Jean-Luc Naret: Yes, I call each newly starred chef every year. You never know if they are expecting you. It’s sometimes really beautiful, such as with a chef like Cesar Ramirez at Brooklyn Fare [the first Brooklyn chef to ever receive two stars] who I called this morning and told him that he has two stars. That was a great call because he knows what it means. And it’s not two stars in Brooklyn — of course it is in Brooklyn, but it is two stars period. It means that his kitchen is becoming one of the best kitchens in the world. So he’s going to have a lot of focus on him now and hopefully he can keep it the same way.

But you also do the other call — when someone loses a star. Sounds awkward. How does that go?

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Seltzer Works

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Believe it or not, there was a time when you could not just make sparkling water at home. Long before Sodastream, households across New York received their weekly shipments of fresh seltzer via deliverymen, just like we used to get milk and eggs (and how many of you have started getting veggies once again).

Today, there is just one seltzer deliveryman left in Brooklyn, down from several thousand 100 years ago.

Earlier this summer, I caught a screening of Seltzer Works, Jessica Edward’s short film about the last old-school Seltzer man in Brooklyn, at the Rooftop Films festival. It’s a well-made film that bubbleheads everywhere will appreciate.  This week it can be seen on the PBS series POV — Tuesday Aug. 24 at 10pm — or check your local listings.

Feed Us Back: Comments of the Week

Cucumber Salad

– Many of you have opinions on the ”can you cook cucumbers?” debate. Maids:

My roommate says she used to cook burritos in her microwave in college using tortillas, rolled with cheese and cucumbers inside. Sounded disgusting to me, but she has a palate I respect so maybe cooked cukes aren’t so bad?

I don’t know about these cuke burritos, but I’m definitely going to start ranking my friends by how much I respect their palates.

JoeHoya and the Mrs. coin an amazing term for the frustration found in fava beans:

We LOVE fava beans and make it a point to buy them in bulk during their all-too-brief season at the farmers’ market. But the prep is definitely a pain in the ass. Elizabeth refers to favas as the Beans of Diminishing Returns because you buy them by weight and then promptly through out half of what you paid for in the form of the outer and inner pods.

– Finally, anyone who can get worked up about indefinite articles in convenience store advertising is welcome at ES. BigOldCar:

The thing that bothers me most about the Hoagieman commercials is that the song ends with:

“At the Hoa…gie…Fest!
At the Wawa!
The Hoa…Gie…Fest!
At the Wawa!”

Why “THE” Wawa? Why not “your,” or some other gap-filler? But the definite article doesn’t belong here, and it bugs the shit out of me!

I don’t get the Sgt. Pepper theme, but it’s so interesting-looking that I’ve come to accept it.

I cannot, however, get past that improper article.

(Photo: inSinU8)

Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Morimoto is a Pimp!

The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Masaharu Morimoto needed surgery after he slipped in the hot tub.  Badass.  I choose to believe he slipped because he had to climb over three or four sweet honeys.

– Tom Colicchio testified before Congress about childhood nutrition, not about corruption in the Teamsters, as I initially thought.  I should know not to assume that simply because he’s a bad-ass looking Italian man in a suit.

After the jump…sage advice for new parents, drinking for a good cause (as if you even need an excuse) and “is that a hair in my sandwich?”

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Matilda Cuomo…My New Hero!

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The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Presented without comment, a quote from Matilda Cuomo on the fact that her son’s girlfriend, Sandra Lee, makes lasagna with cottage cheese and canned tomato soup:  “I don’t know that that’s true. You know, maybe she puts cottage cheese because he doesn’t want to put on weight. He’s watching his diet. But that’s not the way you make lasagna.”

– Rachael Ray is the latest celeb on the “our kids are too fat” bandwagon.  I don’t know what they’re talking about.  Mom packed me a lard sandwich every day and I turned out just fine.  (He said, as he reached for his home defibrillator.)

After the jump…wall-to-wall Top Chef.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: A Taste of the Exotic East?

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The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Wait…there’s an Indian food show on television?  On American television?  Really?

– Easy Joke Alert:  People were angry when they couldn’t get in to a taping of Emeril’s show.  Even more angry?  The people who did get in.

After the jump…a Philly chef gets southern and stays local and Cat Cora gets herself some of that Oprah money.

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Pork and Nail Polish

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I stopped the paper trail. When I lazily let my Gourmet subscription expire, I also stopped receiving Bon Appetit. Coincidentally, my dad stopped getting Cooking Light. I went from getting at most four magazines (Cook’s Illustrated expired just previously) down to tired zeros.

I realized that tired wasn’t an issue though. There was no way every month that I could flip through 4 mags. I saved the mags that were never opened. And now I have a pretty clear collection of just-old publications to scroll through. I forgot how much fun it is to flip through pages of carefully worded articles and recipes.

Blogs are pretty perfect. Perfect for their searchability. Perfect for their brevity. Not perfect, however, in the physicality. Which is why in this drunken typing state I present to you: an ad that is geared to women, possibly  a sexist ad, but that I don’t care because I love nail polish that much.I’ll also see it a real live and flesh magazine. Crap. Not making sense. Sorry.

I miss magazines.

Advertisement language and commentary [Tigers and Strawberries]

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