Friday, June 30, 2006

Gourmand World Media Awards

For the past 11 years the Gourmand World Media Awards has offered educational presentations in addition to the recognition of books on cookery, wine and spirits in a multitude of languages.

Attendance to these seminars includes, world acclaimed chefs, authors, journalists, publishers and all gathered together with a common denominator, their passion for food.

Included in the line up of classes was the following:

Design and Food Workshop
The session was held on May 19, 2006, with the partnership of Royal Selangor.

The moderator was Scott Givot, Director on the Board of IACP.
(International Association of Culinary Professionals).

The following speakers presented their view of the role of design in tableware:
- Erika Langerbielke Professor of design at the University of Vaxjo, Sweden
- Alberto Bali, designer, Paris, France
- Birgita Watz, Professor of art and design at the University of Orebro, Sweden

Erika Lagerbielke is a professor of design and specializes in the relationship between wine, the glass and the consumer. Her vision is to create “Design for all the Senses”.
“When we the meet around table, design has to enhance the moment, not make it more complicated.”

The role of design is:
- To identify a problem
- To solve it
- To give practical form as the solution

We can identify two types of wine glasses:
- The social glass, which enables the host to show his personality and identity. Its function is not to showcase the wine.
- The functional glass, which will focus on bringing the wine forward. Today it is recognized that the shape of the glass has an influence on the taste of the wine. Thus, we know that to enhance this taste, one must:
- Bring out the aromas of the wine in the glass
- Lead the aromas to the nose

Nevertheless a wine glass should not modify, rather dress a wine, just as a beautiful woman can be prettier with the appropriate dress. Of course ideally you can have glasses adapted specifically to each type of wine, but this creates financial and logistics problems.

After some tests and studies, Erika believes that you can divide the red wines in two categories, young and mature wines. Thus, she has created two glasses. The first one is more elongated to show the youthful qualities of the wine, the second one is shorter and more ballooned, which improves the nose of more mature wines. She follows the same principle for white wine and thus, has created a more elongated glass for those, which are dry, and more open for those, which are fruity.
Erika has not forgotten the champagne glass, or the glass for sweet wines. The red mature wine glass is suitable for sweet wines since they are also derived from mature grapes. Erika’s most recent creation is two wine glasses without stems for relaxed and informal moments.

Alberto Bali lives in Paris and works as a designer for many great restaurants and food brands.
In his warm speech and friendly style, Alberto Bali shows us his work for the Staub Brand of “Cocottes”, Dutch ovens with an elegant French style and clean design lines. In fact they are a modern interpretation of a design from the 19th century, reflecting the industrial durability and strength, while its form follows sheer functionality and clearly displays its brand.
This “cocotte” (Dutch oven) is offered in many colours, and may be used for various purposes. The smallest is to serve caviar!
Woks and other kitchen utensils make the rest of the Staub product line, with its signature golden button on top. There is even a large pan with two handles, which is specifically designed for ease in cooking and simple to pour without burning oneself.
Another design by Alberto Bali is the new bottle for “Saint Geron” mineral water. The challenge was to create a square shaped bottle, which transformed into a round neck. The result is a vessel both elegant and revealing futuristic lines. An advertisement shows a giant bottle in the midst of a Manhattan landscape, towering in the middle of and above giant buildings.

Birgita Watz, 
Professor of art and design at the University of Orebro in Sweden, specializes in the art and design in association with the meal.

Design is defined on three planes:
0. Service
0. Know How
0. Art
Art implies genius and taste. Taste includes quality, elegance, style, refinement and culture.

Let us take the example of a Champagne glass. One will find:
0. The disorder of bubbles
0. The order and symmetry of the glass
0. Between them, the agreeable chaos of the spirit, caused by alcohol.
Thus, champagne symbolized the fact that chaos alone leads to nothing. Also we learn that order alone is not interesting, and that only both order and chaos together are interesting. This association creates equilibrium.
In nature, even among the most ancient fossils, you will find this equilibrium, which is symbolized by the golden number 1,618.
How do you make people aware of this equilibrium? As a professor of design, the idea may be to ask pupils to do one drawing each morning, and for the teacher to do one, to express this equilibrium.
There is always something in the air. When we talk about “the atmosphere”, this is what we imply in a conscious way. It is important to develop the capacity of the mind to understand what is in the air. It is this capacity that allows us to communicate. Culinary art is nothing else.
It is also interesting to work on a specific theme, such as colour. It is surprising to see that students who organize one complete meal around a given colour will develop treasures of the imagination and their own creativity in order to find equilibrium around this colour.
Various studies on this matter have shown that the association of white with colours recognized, as “cold” will compliment one another, for white will give energy to these colours. Similarly, black gives energy to colours known as “warm”.
Only blue is a problem in the kitchen. A test has offered the same food on plates of different colours. The blue plate is much less often chosen than the others, nearly never in winter, and seldom in summer.
We must be pragmatic, stylish, and poetic.
These three traits allow us to apprehend design in the culinary arts and give us a proper framework for: creating esthetics in practical service, bringing cookery to its highest level and giving a new dimension to the moment that the meal is experienced.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Carlo Petrini, Slow Food Delegation and Foreign Press Visit Norway

Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, which boasts an international membership of over 83,000, joined with his colleagues in the organization’s first official visit to Norway last April.

Under the auspices of the mission to protect cultural identities tied to food and gastronomic traditions, safeguard foods for consumers, preserve traditional cultivation techniques and defend wild animal and vegetable species, the delegation had the opportunity to experience some of Norway’s finest artisan products. The journey extended from Oslo to Bergen and the West Country and culminated in a return to Oslo with a veritable feast of ancient foods and drink at Arcus, home to Linie Aquavit.

Slow Food’s “Ark of Taste” has catalogued a multitude of remarkable products around the globe. The working arm of Slow Food called the “Presidia”, serves to support artisan producers with assistance in marketing and promotion, establishing local support groups and sometimes even with funding or production assistance, all with the intent of preserving a viable future for traditional foods.

The following is a list of Norwegian products sited for their economic viability and commercial potential and recognized in the “Ark of Taste”:

1) Artisan Sognefjord Geitost (brown goat’s cheese from Sognefjord)
2) Cured and Smoked Herring from Sunnmøre
3) Kristiansund Baccala (dried cod from Kristiansund)
4) Lutefisk from the Isle of Sørøva (stockfish)

Norway’s “convivia”, or local groups represent just a small fraction from Slow Food’s network around the world. This is coordinated by leaders , who periodically organize dinners, tastings, courses, as well as support food and wine agrotourism.

At the final lunch and press conference, Petrini presented a short film on the Slow Food’s most recent and innovative initiative, Terra Madre , World Meeting of Food Communities, which was held in October 2004 in Turin. It will be held again this fall of 2006. The congress represents a forum for all people, who Petrini refers affectionately to “ants” and their power of influence in numbers.

The scope of diversity in its nearly 5000 attendees was at once an inspiration and at the same time, a reflection of true internationalism.

Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
Slow Food International
Slow Food Norway

by Scott Givot
Oslo, Norway

Photography by Nancy Bundt
(Taken at Arcus,Oslo, Norway)

Traditional Mexican Cuisine in Alimentaria 2006

Mexico City, Mexico : During the second annual Gastronomic Congress (Congreso Mexicano De Gastronomia-Tendencias) held during Alimentaria 2006 Cristina Hernandez de Palacio (Cultura Culinaria, A.C.), a distinguished member of the culinary community gave a class on Traditional Mexican Cuisine. Her focus, a discussion on the diverse manners of produce and herbs used in the prehispanic kitchen. From the vegetables (corn, tomato, chiles, pumpkin, beans, amaranth,cacao, chayote, avocado, quelites, epazote, nopales, ), wild fruits, worms, insects, wild game (venison, iguana,rabbit, turkey, armadillo, duck,snakes), seafood (turtles, frogs, shrimp,salamander, tadpoles, fish from Atlantic and Pacific coasts) to the cooking techniques and utensils she also gave a social and religious overview of the importance of cuisine.

As a tasting she prepared a sauce called Paskal/ Pascale/Paxcal,mentioned by Fray Bernardino de Shagun in his History of New Spain, prepared with pumpkin seeds, turkey broth, chile guajillo, chile ancho and salt. A seemingly simple preparation where the toasted pumpkin seeds are simmered for 20 to 30 minutes in the broth and then ground with the chiles , it is returned to a low heat, stirred constantly until a thick rich consistency is reached. The complex flavors of the ingredients and slow simmers were an incredible taste for the audience.

An accomplished chef and an even more exciting lecturer she left her audience with an intense sense of having had a small glimpse into the complex and unusual world of Mexican cuisine.

We look forward to next year's Gastronomic Congress and invite you, our fellow culinarians, to join us in Mexico City for further cultural "tastes". For more information on Tendencias Alimentarias click here.

by Ruth Alegria
Mexico City, Mexico

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sweet Memories from Dallas

One of the great things about going to the IACP Annual Conference is to be able to explore and experience local food. During last year´s trip to Dallas, my group discovered La Duni Bakery, a Latin American Bakery and Café whose owners are from Venezuelan origin. Dunia Borga, the pastry Chef, has won numerous awards and her bakery is said to serve the best desserts in Dallas.

We had a long breakfast meeting there on our first day in Dallas at the shop on Oak Street. I still remember clearly their beautifully displayed Cuatro Leches Wedding Cake frosted with Swiss Meringue and laced with Arequipe Sauce. Today, I taught my pastry students how to make this cake. I enjoyed every step of the process, not only because I was looking forward to admire the final result, but because it brought back happy memories of great times shared with my dear friends from IACP.

For the recipe, visit La Duni´s recipe index. A bit of advice: make only half of the Tres Leches mix, it´s more than enough for one cake. And if you´re ever in the Dallas area, make sure to visit them and try some of their delicious savory and sweet Latin American food.

by Elena Hernandez

A Cook's Kingdom in Tokyo

Off the beaten touristic path in Tokyo is Kappabashi, the bowery area where chefs and restaurateurs come to set up shop. Very close to the popular Asakusa temple, it is a must-see for anyone curious about cooking. Carefully peruse the knickknacks and see if you can discover your treasure. Click here to read more about Kappabashi.

IACP members with queries please contact Yukari Pratt at

España vs Francia en la cancha y en la cocina

Interesante y divertido, este artículo de Oriol Serra Nadal, un bloggista venezolano que hace de esta narración del partido de futbol de hoy, Francia vs España, un duelo de cocineros. Gracias a Joel Barhamand por la foto.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Desde Panama: Patricia McCausland escribe sobre su experiencia en Seattle

Seattle: un mundo gastronómico que aprecia lo artesanal

Patricia McCausland-Gallo
Publicado en la revista Mosaico del diario La Prensa el 18 de junio de 2006.

Fuera de ser la ciudad madre de Starbucks, famosa cadena cafetera, esta bella población del noroeste norteamericano es una joya de la buena mesa. Los lugareños aún visitan el mercado público los domingos para llevar lo más fresco en pescados, mariscos, frutas, verduras y flores.

Tuve la oportunidad de llegar a Seattle y probar su cocina con un grupo de amigos chefs, cocineros y escritores. El primer día caminamos más de 25 cuadras para llegar a un lugar famoso por sus sándwiches; para mi sorpresa era un local de unos cuatro metros de ancho por 10 de largo, donde además venden pastas y sopas. Se entra por un pequeño cuarto de curación tipo vitrina de unos dos metros cuadrados, en que cuelgan piernas de prosciutto, salamis y quesos que luego dan paso a un tablero con las especialidades del día. Continúa en un mostrador donde se pide y se preparan carnes frías, embutidos, antipastos y quesos para comer solos o en emparedados. Termina con un par de mesas al final del corredor donde algunos comen, aunque la mayoría lleva sus pedidos, y una gran mesa para ocho personas en un cuartito al fondo que comunica a la pequeña fábrica de embutidos artesanales. Aquí encontramos a otros amigos de la IACP (Asociación Internacional de Profesionales de la Culinaria, por sus siglas en inglés), y nos sentamos juntos.

Se trata de Salumi, un negocio familiar de inmigrantes que han montado una fábrica de embutidos y carnes curadas al estilo de su Italia nativa. La familia del reconocido chef Mario Batali, su padre Armandino como jefe, su hermana Gina a cargo del frente y su yerno Brian D'Amato, jefe de producción, nos recibieron con los brazos abiertos. Nos sirvieron lo que compramos más muestras de todo lo que nos había faltado por probar. En una mesa gruesa y simple de madera, con mantel floreado y servicios burdos deleitamos un almuerzo al estilo italiano; una mezcla de salamis, prosciutto, culatello, sopresatta, cordero, quesos, pimentón, con pan fresco, aceitunas y aceites de oliva. Todo de óptima calidad, preparado a pequeña escala con la más alta higiene. Pedimos a Batali padre que nos mostrara la planta de producción y nos llevó a conocerla; entramos a los tres cuartos fríos donde colgaba la variedad de embutidos preparados allí y que estaban en distintas etapas de maduración.

Al día siguiente llegamos a un coctel en la plaza de mercado llamada Pike Street Market, la más antigua del país, que funciona desde 1907, y donde ilustres restauradores locales prepararon un gran menú para unas 1,400 personalidades del mundo culinario internacional. Al caer el sol y partir los vendedores de a diario, se instalaron 20 chefs de los más prestigiosos restaurantes de la ciudad para deleitarnos con sus boquitas, vinos, cervezas y helados. Allí tuvimos la oportunidad de conocer otra joyita de negocio que mantuvo sus puertas abiertas para que viésemos y probásemos sus productos; una quesería que ejerce su arte en su mismo local de generosos ventanales que permiten al público el placer de observar la dedicación y el trabajo que conlleva este arte. Beecher's Handmade Cheese dedica su producción a quesos frescos y madurados de alta calidad, sin aditivos, preservativos, colorantes ni resaltantes de sabor, y solo con leche de la más alta calidad proveniente de vacas de pasteo y libres de hormonas, retirando aquellos animales que han tenido que recibir antibióticos. Su lema es producir quesos de una alta pureza y gran sabor, con métodos artesanales. Hay que ir a este lugar y probar sus quesos Flagship, Marcopolo, las cuajadas frescas o curds con hierbas o picantes, quesos blandos frescos (de untar), bien simples, con miel o tapenade, mantequilla cultivada, sándwiches y pasta con salsa de quesos que aunque se llama macaroni and cheese es algo excepcional. También hay una variedad de quesos preparados por otras queserías artesanales de estados cercanos. No se lo puede perder si llega a Seattle.
Finalmente, el domingo por la mañana decidí volver a la plaza del mercado ya colmada de vendedores, compradores y visitantes. Hay una gran variedad de bivalvos como machas, almejas, ostras de innumerables variedades, conchuelas, moluscos y langostas, langostinos, camarones, cangrejos de Dungeness (del estado de Washington), cangrejos "rey rojo" de Alaska, rodaballo, salmón y más. Sus tamaños impresionan y su frescura se ve y siente. ¡Quería llevarme todo! También tenían preparadas sopas y cocteles: Cioppino, clam chowder, coctel de camarón y de salmón fresco. Centollas, mejillones y almejas al vapor con mantequilla y limón, y toda clase de pescados fritos en trocitos con papas, los llamados fish and chips. Luego pasé a visitar las fruterías y ver los arreglos de ajíes, hongos shitake y espárragos frescos, las distintas variedades de mostaza, lechuga y espinacas. Más adelante vi otras queserías con quesos Jack, Cheddar, Mon Brier, Gloucester, Brie, Port Salut y St Andre. Qué rico ver todavía a la gente comprar sus flores en domingo, envueltas en papel marrón como se hacía antes del celofán y los plásticos; la gente deambulaba por todos lados con sus paquetes de colores.
Decidí sentarme frente a un par de jóvenes que tocaba música country western con violín y guitarra. Se daban el nombre de "Slim Pickens" el famoso cowboy californiano de circo y actor de principios de siglo que montaba a caballo desde los 4 años. Aquí me estuve un rato sentada comiendo un suave pan brioche, preparado con mantequilla e ingredientes naturales y un delicioso café de origen. Había visto más de lo que esperaba y me encontraba lista para volver.

Wacky ideas on food design

Looking for new ideas on food packaging design? Check out these wacky ideas from Cut n´Paste, a blog on design related news and reviews of ideas from around the world. Thanks to Ana Alfaro from Panama for the link.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sake Bar in Tokyo Station

Yukari Pratt in Japan reports on a unique Sake Bar in Tokyo Station. "Tucked away in a corner of Tokyo station is a "tachinomi" or standing bar featuring sake from all over Japan. This unique bar is set up only for the summer - it will disappear after August 5th, so come and get it while you can. There is not much for food, so stop by and have a sample a few sake as an aperitif and then grab a bite at one of the many restaurants in the Kitchen Street area on Tokyo station". To read the entire story on Tokyo´s Metropolis Magazine, click here.

Photo provided by Eric.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ferran Adria at World of Flavors 2006

St. Helena, CA, June 15, 2006 — The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone announces the all-star roster of top Spanish chefs and culinary experts gathering for its 9th Worlds of Flavors International Conference & Festival to be held at the college's historic Napa Valley campus November 2-4, 2006. The conference is sold-out.

Event is SOLD OUT and limited spaces only available through IACP, click here for information on this event.

The CIA's upcoming "Spain and the World Table: Regional Traditions, Invention and Exchange" will be the largest and most comprehensive conference held in the United States about Spanish food and wine, and the contribution of Spain to world menus past and future.

"At a time when Spain can arguably claim to be the hot culinary destination in Europe—and Spanish foods and wines are increasingly finding a place at the American table—Americans are just beginning to grasp the depth and brilliance of these flavors and traditions," said Greg Drescher, senior director of strategic initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America and founder of the college's Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival. "This conference presents an extraordinary opportunity for American foodservice industry leaders to live and breathe three high-impact days of the culinary genius that is Spain today—and discover ways to adapt these flavors to their own operations."

Headlining the conference is Ferran Adrià of the three-star Michelin El Bulli restaurant in Roses, Spain, and considered by many to be one of the most influential chefs in the world. Acting as this year's conference chairman is Jose Andrés, an influential Spanish chef in the United States (Washington, D.C.), and host of a popular TV cooking program in Spain. Joining chefs Adrià and Andrés are a renowned group of chefs and top culinary experts from Spain and the United States, including Andoni Luis Aduriz, chef of Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain; Joan Roca, chef of Cellar de Can Roca in Taiala, Spain; Dani García, chef of Calima in Marbella, Spain; and Manolo de la Osa, chef of Las Rejas in Las Pedroneras, Spain.

Click here to read entire story.

From Japan: Yukari Pratt reviews "Cool Tools"

In a Japanese kitchen, form follows function, and in essence, Cool Tools is a tribute to kitchen design. Kate Klippenstein’s book is more than a catalog of utensils: the featured items are handcrafted works of art. Yasuo Konishi’s vivid photos highlight each piece so that the reader can feel the cool touch of the knife blades and the textures of the different graters. There are also revealing photos of old shamoji (rice servers), saibashi (cooking chopsticks) and yukihira nabe (pots) from a variety of households showing that, despite the wear and tear, these tools still have plenty of life left in them.

Klippenstein deftly guides the reader through the use of each tool, sprinkling each entry with interesting details. For example, the kogi (pestle) made from pepper trees, “which adds a hint of fragrance to the food being processed,” and the ceramic clay suribachi (mortar) on which, “traditionally, the grooves… were made with pine needles.”

If you’re motivated to restock your kitchen arsenal, you won’t want to miss “Five Basic Knives Every Household Should Stock.” The indispensable shop guide and list of Japanese terms make Cool Tools the ideal companion for a trip to Kappabashi. And even if you’re allergic to cooking, this handsome book will look smart on any coffee table.

Visit Metropolis Magazine for more book reviews.

by Yukari Pratt

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

From Mexico: Margarita Carrillo praised for her promotion of Mexican Cuisine

Chef, cooking teacher and entrepreneur Margarita Salinas de Carrillo was profiled by Mexico City's Buena Mesa section of the newspaper Reforma on Friday June 9. She was recognized for her work in promoting Mexican cuisine throughout the world especially in Japan and China and for the Unesco proposal to designate Mexican Cuisine as an Oral and Intangible Patrimony of the World. As a member of Slow Food Mexico, with Alicia D'Angeli, she has investigated and written about the regional cuisines of Oaxaca, Michoacan ,and Chihuahua amongst others. Along with giving cooking classes here in Mexico City she has also created Helados Finos where she manufactures artisinal style ice creams flavored with native fruits such as mamey, guanabana and the classic green lemon of Mexico. When she is not traveling she can be found directing her restaurant Don Emiliano in San Jose de los Cabos in Baja California and soon we hope her book Tamales and Atoles will be ready for publication. To end we also recognize her many efforts on the behalf of IACP as country coordinator for Mexico.

by Ruth Alegría

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From Italy: Museo del Tartufo

Our visit to the Museo del Tartufo, Italy’s first truffle museum inaugurated last year in San Giovanni d’Asso, fortuitously coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the village’s truffle fair, the Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco delle Crete Senesi, held on weekends during the month of November.

When we heard that an old steam train was transporting fairgoers from Siena, we couldn’t resist and booked seats. Leaving foggy Siena at nine in the morning, we travelled south toward Montalcino, passing kitchen gardens and castles, through red and gold autumnal vineyards and industrials zones. And then, after Monte Amiata, the highest point in Tuscany, we came upon the undulating, cypress studded hills of the Crete Senese, eventually arriving at the tiny medieval village which for the past twenty years has awarded an international prize, the “Truffle for Peace”.

Hungry by then, we decided on a quick lunch of hot sausage and melted pecorino crostini washed down by good red country wine, readily available in these parts. We wandered off to pet the truffle dogs, and explore the various booths, bottegas, and cantinas which were showing off their wares and offering samples: olive wood kitchen utensils, honey, pecorino cheeses of various ages, marmelades and condiments. The tavernas delivered up truffle-flavored everything, from antipasti to dolci. The wine flowed, a blacksmith and a falconer displayed their skills, and a fashion show of clothes made from hempfibers rounded off the afternoon’s agenda.

Unlike the big, commercial truffle fair up north in Alba, this is strictly a local production, and everyone seems to know each other. Alongside the tables set up by the truffle hunters, with their traditional blue plaid tea towels filled with fragrant white truffles, other villagers were selling fresh, just-pressed olive oil. Our friend Jeff particularly recommended one vendor who was giving out lots of free samples. I couldn’t resist the salsa of artichokes, the garlic sprouts preserved in olive oil, and the pumpkin mostardo.

The small museum, located in the bright, vaulted castle rooms, still shows traces of 16th century frescoes. The exhibits are self-guided and interactive, designed to introduce all ages to an understanding of what a truffle is, how it can be identified by the senses, how it has been perceived throughout history, how to cook and preserve it. A video takes us on a truffle hunt. Another shows three local cooks demonstrating recipes. At the end of our visit I bought two excellent truffle cookbooks from a friendly staffer, both in Italian, one with an English translation.

If you find yourself in Tuscany some November, I recommend this decidedly un-touristy local gastronomic event.

Museo del Tartufo e Centro di Documentazione
Piazza Gramsci, 1 (Castello Comunale)
53020 San Giovanni d’Asso / 39-0577-803101 (Comune)
Weekends 10-1, 2-6 (call ahead). Admission is $3.70.

by Elizabeth Wholey