Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Top Chef's Tom Colicchio Saves fellow IACP member's life

Top Chef's Tom Colicchio Saves Life
By Gina DiNunno

Tue Jan 20, 8:44 AM PST
Top Chef head honcho Tom Colicchio may be considered the "bad guy" when it comes time to axe one of the cheftestants during judge's table, but for now this restaurateur could be called a hero.
The reality-show judge saved fellow foodie Joan Nathan from choking to death during the "Art. Food. Hope." benefit in Washington, D.C. on Monday, according to the Internet Food Association. While being cornered by some bitter Top Chef fans who where less than thrilled about last week's elimination of Ariane, Colicchio heard a cry for help from another famed chef, Alice Waters, and immediately ran over to perform the Heimlich maneuver saving Nathan who had a chunk of chicken lodged in her wind pipe.
"I did what anyone else would have done and was just happy to be there," Colicchio told "I'm thrilled Joan's well."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mexico is guest country at Madrid Fusion 2009

Notimex Photos/Juan Carlos Rojas

Mexico is the country of honor in the seventh edition of Madrid Fusión, a top culinary event that will run through Thursday in Spain.

Patricia Quintana, Mónica Patiño, Ricardo Muñoz, Enrique Olvera and Bricio Domínguez will have the task of representing the nation's cuisine - old and new - with 70 other top chefs from around the world who are doing the same for their countries.

"More than being at the vanguard, I'd like to say that we'll give a personal interpretation of Mexican food," Olvera told state-owned news agency Notimex.

Mexican Ambassador to Spain Jorge Zermeño said the chefs "would promote Mexican products, our gastronomy, our dishes - we know it's going to be a success."

What all five seem to share is an almost religious reverence for traditional Mexican food, but a willingness to incorporate new methods into its preparation to foster a sort of natural evolution.

Click here to read the complete article.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mexico City contends as top food city

Stan Sesser from the Wall Street Journal writes up a fantastic story about Mexico's city food scene.
Design by Joe LeMonnier

"It was my first bite of food in Mexico City, a snack called esquites, consisting of kernels of corn boiled in water with strips of jalapeno peppers and an herb called epazote, then garnished with lime juice, chili salt, mayonnaise and grated cheese. "One of the best things I've ever eaten," I wrote in my notebook. The cost: 70 cents at a street market.

A couple days later, at the restaurant Pujol, I was dining on a soup of squash blossoms topped with coconut foam, and venison coated with a pungent seasoning of Yucatán oregano and dried burnt chilies and served on a purple-banana purée. Washed down with high-quality wines from, of all places, Mexico's Baja Peninsula, the meal was $50 for the fixed-price dinner plus wine, and worth every penny."

Click here for the complete article.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lenôtre passes away

Gaston Lenôtre, Who Built a Culinary Brand, Is Dead at 88
Published: January 9, 2009
Mr. Lenôtre was the founder of the restaurant, catering, retail and cooking school empire of the same name, and rejuvenated pastry making in the early 1960s.

To read the complete story click here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Xochimilco Market, Mexico City

Ruth Alegria and David Aman of DocNo Productions paired up to make this fantastic video featuring Mexico City's colorful Xochimilco Market.  Join IACP Mexico´s country coordinator Ruth Alegria as she guides you through the different food stalls and points to dozens of indigenous ingredients available in the "mercado".  

Xochimilco Market, Mexico City from DocNO Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Remembering IACP member Maria Teresa Berdondini

Maria Teresa Berdondini

IACP friends Maria, Lisa, Ruth, and Maria Teresa Berdondini (far right)

Maria Teresa Berdondini, who served as IACP Italy Country Co-Coordinator with me for the past two years, died in August after a long illness. Though she was unable to come to recent international conferences, something she loved to do, she did attend our Italian Section luncheon in Rome last year and had every intention of participating fully in the future; however, at certain point she wrote that she felt she was “fighting against windmills”. The following is taken from notes that she wrote about herself last year. I will always treasure the memory of this accomplished, energetic and beautiful woman who enriched my life, and the lives of others, by her friendship. --Elizabeth Wholey, Italy
* * *
Maria Teresa Berdondini, originally from Emilia Romagna, spent 18 years as a manager of five-star hotels in Italy and Spain before settling in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany, with her husband, Giuseppe, who is also in the travel business. She served as IACP Italian section co-representative, was a licensed AIS Sommelier and culinary demonstrator, and a member of Slow Food. Her passion for research in the food and wine fields enabled her to lecture about the origin and evolution of Tuscan cuisine to many travelers, including groups from the Smithsonian. In 1997 she established Tuscany by Tuscans, an Italian travel consultancy, which coordinated programs for individual travellers as well as for food professionals. Tuscany by Tuscans was created with a desire for freedom in travel, and she designed personalized itineraries into undiscovered areas, visiting lesser known art treasures, artisans practicing traditional crafts, and small agricultural producers and wineries. Her company was recognized by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine as a Top Travel Specialist in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
* * *
I would like to share this memory of Maria Teresa with my fellow IACP members. I first met Maria Teresa at the Montreal conference in 2003 when we sat together at lunch. A warm and engaging personality, she made sure that I met other international members during subsequent days. We kept in touch after the conference and started making plans to meet again at the next conference. In 2005 we shared a room together at the Dallas and had an incredible time. In 2007 my husband died of cancer and Maria Teresa was diagnosed. I never deleted any of the messages that Maria Teresa sent me that year. Even as she battled cancer, undergoing operations and chemotherapy, she kept sending me messages of hope and expectations, that I finally would visit her in Italy and that she would be able to visit me in Mexico. The last message that I received was her 2008 New Years greeting. She never gave up hope for herself and for others. She will be missed.
--Ruth Alegria, Mexico

IACP Italian Section Third Annual Autumn Luncheon

Florence, Italy, November 2008

For IACP members scattered around Italy, our annual get-together is a happy reward at the end of the busy tourism season. This year, we met in Florence near the San Lorenzo market and the Medici Chapel, at the Osteria Cipolla Rossa, owned by a butcher from the central market and two talented chefs from respected Tuscan restaurants.

After a brief welcome statement, Elizabeth Wholey read members’ tributes to Maria Teresa Berdondini, Italy Country Co-Coordinator with Elizabeth for the past two years, who died in August after a long illness.

Following the announcement of Sonia Di Centa as the new Country Coordinator, which was met with enthusiasm, the seventeen guests introduced themselves and brought the rest of us up to date on their activities.

And then we proceeded to chiacchierare, to chat the afternoon away, while being served a series of delicious and creative small plates.

Over time, we have learned some rules for making a success of this event. (Note: It takes a few tries to build up the momentum and for people to learn that this is something not to be missed.)

Our Recipe for Success:

First and foremost, great food! Pick an interesting location, a popular city that is fun to visit, and a restaurant near the train station. Keep the price affordable. Have a member in that city choose a venue that will be appropriate for an afternoon gathering. (Judy Witts selected it this year.) Enlist that person to help get the group together, making contact with friends and inviting family members and interested non-IACP members, as well. We also put out the word to the IACP board and we welcome guests from outside of Italy. This year we were joined by Dede Wilson and her husband, Dave, from Amherst, Massachusetts, who happened to be in Tuscany at the time. If possible, we provide lodgings or arrange for a discount at a hotel. Lucy Luhan generously offered her Villa Lucia near Lucca for out-of-towners.

We always have our luncheon at the same time every year, in late November after the olive harvest, a date people can plan around, and we send out the invitations well in advance. In 2006 the location was a Tuscan villa, and in 2007 it was held in Rome at a beautiful rooftop garden restaurant, the Hotel Mediterraneo, owned by the family of IACP member, Jo Bettoja.

We emphasize that this is a relaxed, convivial get-together, not an IACP membership drive, though we do have applications available and some of our guests have signed up.

Over the years, new friendships as well as joint ventures have been formed, and we always come away full of good food, wine and inspiration.

If you are in Italy at the end of November, 2009, you are invited to join us.

Elizabeth Wholey

Chair, Culinary Tourism Committee

Umbertide, Umbria, Italy