Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Top 50 restaurants in the World 2007

El Bulli made first place again followed by The Fat Duck and Pierre Gagnaire in second and third best restaurants in the World. The French Laundry, Per Se, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, Daniel, Charlie Trotter in the US ranked in the top 50. Alinea, in Chicago, ranked 36. Tsesuya's in Australia came in 5th place. France ranked first with 12 restaurants in the top 50.
DOM, Alex Atala´s restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, ranked as only Latin America. Astrid y Gastón in Lima, Peru, ranked 72.
To see the complete list, click here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hervé This - Molecular Gastronomy at the IACP 29th Annual Conference

Hervé This, the famed french chemist, author of Molecular Gastronomy, and director of the INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) in France, was the keynote speaker on Friday, April 13 at the IACP's 29th Annual Conference in Chicago. Dr. This came on stage to talk about Constructivism and performed a couple of experiments to proove his points. The following is a very short sample of his presentation. You can read a summary of the session here. If you are interested in getting a full transcript of Dr. Hervé This's plenary session, as well as other presentations and workshops of the IACP Chicago Conference, you can do so by accessing this website.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

International Event - Latin Fiesta at Nacional 27

Nacional 27 in Chicago was the venue for the IACP's International Committee Latin American Fiesta. The party was co-hosted by Adam Seger, CCP, General Manager at Nacional 27. Chef Randy Zweiban served an outstanding array of latin american foods featuring delicious tapas and grazing stations. Guests loved the interactive Mojito station and the music. Latin Rhythms taught some of the guests a few salsa steps. Door prizes were drawn for those who left their business cards, members from Panama and Mexico kindly donated bags of fresh Panamanian and Colombian gourmet coffee beans, bottles of aged rum, Molas, and Mexican sweets. We had fun! Come join us next year in New Orleans!!!

After an intense day of workshops and committee meetings, a little exercise helps to loosen our bodies!

Host City Opening Reception at the Merchandise Mart

The Opening reception took place at the Merchandise Mart on the Chicago River. Traditionally closed to the public, today the first floor houses LuxeHome, the world’s largest collection of luxury kitchen and bath showrooms. It is a mecca of design from modern European to classic American innovation, displaying the highest quality resources for the kitchen.

As we walked through the 30 different boutiques we were able to admire edible artistic creations by Chicago's most innovative artists. Of particular interest was the gelatin sculpture of a man, complete with internal organs that showed through the transparent material.

We had great fun with the guys from Moto, who prepared a Banana Fosters Cocktail, in well... the very post modern way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

IACP 29th Annual Conference Day 2, Cooking Schools and Teachers Section Forum

Day 2 at Conference is usually when the professional sections hold their forums. This year the Cooking Schools and Teachers Section held its forum early in the morning with quite a large audience. Jonathan Zearfoss of the Culinary Institute of America, Molly Stevens, cooking teacher and author, Andy Schloss of Culinary Generations, cookbook author and teacher, Albert Schmid of Sullivan College and Elena Hernandez of the Academia de Artes Culinarias in Panama, were invited to sit on a panel of expert teachers to talk about teaching techniques. The panel entitled "From Socrates to You…to Infinity and Beyond! Raising Your Teaching Skills to the Celestial Level" was moderated by Dan Traster, the Section Chair and cooking instructor.

The second part of the session consisted of roundtable discussions and the attendees were able to interact with peers from all over the world. The roundtables were coordinated by Betty Ann Litvak, the Section Vice-Chair. Attendees included members from Panama, Mexico, Canada, Italy, and the USA, among others.

IACP 29th Annual Conference Internet Coverage

A list of websites that covered portions of our Chicago 2007 Annual Conference.

The Chicago Reader
Cooking with Amy
101 Cookbooks
Betumi Blog
The Chicago Tribune 1
The Chicago Tribune 2
The Chicago Tribune 3
Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page
Menu Pages Blog 1 (The Business of Organics)
Menu Pages Blog 2 (Hervé This)
IACP Website
La Prensa (Panamá)
The Cooking Diva Blog

More links to come!

Monday, April 16, 2007

IACP Annual Conference First Timers Report

I'm not your typical culinary professional, if there is such a thing. I began writing on the web, specifically on my blog Cooking with Amy almost four years ago and that more than anything else launched my culinary career. So I was happy to discover the IACP blog and to take this opportunity to share my first impressions of the conference and some personal highlights.

The first night reception was full of surprises! I really was amazed at the artistic culinary displays and how well they integrated into the Merchandise Mart. I saw molecular gastronomy cocktails being made and vibrant flowers suspended in gelatin. I met wonderful people all evening and saw more folks from home than I could have imagined. Great food, great fun.

The speakers at the general session this morning represented a terrific range of perspectives on the topic of organics. We heard about the future of organics and the roots. I heard how organics is part of a bigger movement that includes ethical treatment of animals, ecological sustainability and safer employment conditions for workers. We've seen considerable focus on all of these issues recently.

The afternoon culinary showcase was like a mini version of the Fancy Food Show, with booths, vendors and new products. At the showcase I discovered some new products like an "antigriddle" which was used for making creamy frozen lollipops, collected samples and made some great new business contacts.

It was a treat to see authors, editors and chefs I respect being honored for their contributions at the awards ceremony. Rick Bayless and Judith Jones were both inspiring to hear. Their connection to the pleasure and conviviality of the table was something I think everyone could relate to. I was especially excited for Karen Page and Andrew Dorenburg who won the Book of the Year because their book What to Drink with What you Eat (and my review of it) helped me to gain another recipe development client.

What an exciting experience! After having read about the conference in Seattle I was determined to come this year and I'm glad I did. The people I met were friendly and there were seemingly endless opportunities to learn and make great connections.

My tips for first-timers:

1. Come early so you can be well rested and ready to take advantage of more of the conference.

2. Wear comfortable but business casual clothes. You never know who you will meet or what great business contacts you will make. Wear layers as some conference rooms may feel warm while others are cool.

3. Bring your camera, there are lots of great photo opportunities.

4. Plan for at least one special meal in your host city and make reservations ahead of time! Popular places book up fast.

5. When there is an opportunity, ask a question of speakers but try to make it a question that others will want to hear the answer to, if not, contact them privately.

6. Bring plenty of business cards. I met three people who ran out.

7. Take notes at the tastings, sessions and lectures you attend. I know I will be referring to my notes for a long time to come.

8. Sit with strangers and introduce yourself. If you sit with your friends, you won't make as many new friends.

My last tip was going to be to have fun, but really that happens without trying. Thanks everyone, for a wonderful conference!

Amy Sherman
Cooking with Amy
San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

IACP 29th Annual Conference Day 1

The 29th IACP Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, began yesterday with a series of tours, food related of course.

Chocolate and Vanilla was the tour I chose. It began at 9:30am at Kendall College where we were received by Chris Koetke, Dean of the College of Culinary Arts. The class was conducted by Elaine Gonzalez, author of "The Art of Chocolate" and Camilla Nielson of Nielson-Massey Vanilla. We tasted vanilla extracts from different beans and we also tasted Chocolate de Gala, a hot chocolate made with chipotle and ancho chili powders.

The tour then continued on to TRU restaurant. We were welcomed by pastry chef and co-owner Gale Gand. We had a delicious lunch of poached Maine Lobster with a vanilla infused lobster jus. For dessert chef Gand served us a lemon chiffon cake, vanilla pot de creme, vanilla-lemon ice cream and citrus salad. We then went on to purchase her latest cookbook, Chocolate and Vanilla, we she kindly autographed for us. Then on to a tour of the restaurant kitchen.

After the excellent lunch we proceeded to take a walking tour of Michigan Ave in seek of the best chocolate Chicago has to offer. We stopped at Vosges au Chocolat where owner Katrina Markoff greeted us and graciously offered us a tasting of her latest creations. We couldn't resist her exotic truffles and hot white chocolate with a lemon thyme infusion.

Our next stop before we went back to our hotel was Sarah's Bakery, where we admired the beautiful diplay of pastries and enjoyed talking to the staff.

As they say, a picture says more than a thousand words, here I leave you with a few pictures of our wonderful day. Enjoy!

by Elena Hernandez
IACP, International Committee Chair

Monday, April 09, 2007

2007 Gourmand World Media Awards

Congratulations to Kate McGhie, IACP International Committee Vice-Chair, for winning the "Best in the World" award for first cookbook for "Cook: Recipes, Stories and Kitchen Wisdom" at the 2007 Gourmand World Media Awards. The award ceremony took place last night in Beijing, China. To see the complete list of winners click here.