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Gourmet Gossip: May 2015

james-beard-320x240In this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without word of an exciting new restaurant opening, a devastating closing, a shocking chef shuffle, or a groundbreaking, must-try dish.  That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites — from who nabbed coveted medals at the James Beard Awards, to heartbreaking news of a food world luminary gone too soon.

Good as Gold: The James Beard Awards (i.e., the Oscars of food) were handed out on Monday night, and unsurprisingly, New York showed up in a big way.  Among the local honorees were Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery (who won the inaugural medal for Outstanding Baker), frequent nominee Christina Tosi for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Del Posto’s Mark Ladner for Best Chef, New York City, Gramercy Tavern (and now, Thomas-Keller-Launches-All-Clad-Collection2Untitled’s) Michael Anthony for Outstanding Chef, and Drew Nieporent’s Batard for Best New Restaurant.  Which means, if you’ve yet to taste Markus Glocker’s gorgeous Octopus Salami, your chances at a reservation just got a little tougher.

Keller Coup: Compared with many of his brand-expanding compatriots, happy to slap their name on ventures in Tokyo, Miami and Dubai, the world-renowned Thomas Keller has kept very few irons in the fire (save for French Laundry and Ad Hoc in California and Per Se in New York, all of his other establishments are offshoots of Bouchon).  Which is why the news that he’s opening another original NYC concept is exciting indeed — a “classic” American restaurant in the new development at the Hudson Yards.  He’ll also have a hand at selecting the 11 other eateries slated to join him in the massive retail complex… The-Wizards-Cookbook-by-Ronny-Emborg-Signe-Birck1Thomas Keller giving your business his seal of approval?  That’s almost as good as winning a James Beard Award.

Atera’s All-In: It appears that more than the menu has changed at Atera since Matthew Lightner’s departure.  Under new chef Ronny Emborg (a molecular gastronomy-loving Dane, from Copenhagen’s Michelin-starred Marchal), a European-style, service-included system has been instituted.  And happily, base prices have actually been lowered as well, which means that, when the restaurant finally reopens next week, Emborg’s 18-course menu will cost $256 per person inclusive, as opposed to Lightner’s $290 menu, requiring a 20% tax and tip.  Those are still decidedly special occasion prices for us 99-percenters, but hey, we’ll take it.

BaccaratHotelLobbyMaitre’Done: Much of the buzz surrounding the impossibly posh, recently opened Chevalier was that La Grenouille’s famed maitre’d, Charles Masson, had signed on as restaurant director.  But after only a month, he announced that he’s departing to take some time off, which according to the New York Times, could mean anything from opening a casual spot downtown, to “retiring, becoming a bohemian, and painting.”

Bar Afar: It appears that Danny Meyer has gotten the bar bug.  Shortly after debuting his first drinks-focused spot, Porchlight, the hospitality kingpin has teamed up with The Dead Rabbit’s Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry to open yet another drinking saloon this summer.  The overall concept and beverage program will be overseen by the duo’s consulting business, The Best Bar in the World, while Meyer’s own Union Square Hospitality Group will take care of design, hiring, and day-to-day operations.  Unfortunately for New Yorkers, this newest venture will be outside of the city, although there’s no word yet on where, exactly, that is.

josh_o_for_time_rt_siloRemembering Mr. Cutlets: As the culinary elite gathered in Chicago for the James Beard Awards last weekend to honor the best and brightest, no one could have imagined they were about to lose one of the most signature, seminal voices in the world of food writing.  Josh Ozersky; the restaurant editor-at-large at Esquire, founder of Grub Street and Meatopia, three-time book author and sought-after contributor at all of the most respected publications, passed away in his Chicago hotel room early Monday morning. Often polarizing but always thought-provoking, its clear — by the onslaught of deeply felt eulogies shared by chefs, restaurant owners, and food writers alike — he’s left an indelible, incomparable mark on the industry.  He was one of the funniest, most eloquent wordsmiths in the food industry, a fantastic dining partner and friend.  He will be dearly missed.




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