The (Mis)education of America’s Culinary Schools
The (Mis)education of America’s Culinary Schools
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On the ground with the future leaders of the restaurant world When MJ Sanders was a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, she looked forward to the “Cuisines of America” class. This was 2009, and the class focused on regional cooking in North and South America. One day of the course was dedicated to the American south, an ambitious task given the diversity and sheer expanse of the region. Sanders, a Georgia native, knew the lesson wouldn’t cover everything, but she hoped it would convey the breadth of ingredients and cooking techniques that define southern cuisine. That day, she suited up in her school-issued chef whites, ready to dive in. “We made a plate of fried chicken and collard greens,” Sanders remembers. Instead of exploring the abundant seafood of the Gulf Coast, or the round, layered umami of Lowcountry cooking, her instructor compacted the lesson into one lumpish look at one of the region’s most enduring culinary stereotypes. The tasks for the day were divided among students so Sanders didn’t even get to participate in making each component on the plate. “We spent at least 12 weeks learning French food and technique,” she says. “This is supposed to be the premier American culinary school — so how is this the only southern food we’re learning?” Today, Sanders is the director of operations for Brownsville Community Culinary Center , a culinary training program in a historically Black neighborhood in Brooklyn founded by Claus Meyer, the culinary entrepreneur behind Noma , and Lucas Denton, a former hospitality worker. Sanders creates content for Brownsville’s 40-week program, emphasizing Africa’s influence on the world’s food, where participants research African ingredients, learn about Black chefs who have impacted American cuisine, complete internships in top restaurants, and work in an on-site bakery and cafe. Brownsville prepares its mostly Black and Latinx participants to enter the industry and teaches them about their heritage cuisines. Sanders wants the young cooks to learn what she didn’t in culinary school. “I want them to be able to ask questions and find answers about their own stories.” Culinary schools are meant to offer aspiring chefs, writers, food photographers, and restaurateurs a toolkit of foundational techniques and working knowledge of professional cooking history. In recent years, America’s landscape of celebrated fine dining restaurants has expanded, creating more opportunities for cooks to work in restaurants that aren’t French or Italian. But many elite institutions’ coursework doesn’t yet reflect the diverse cooking happening in today’s restaurants. Since the first American culinary arts school was founded in Boston in 1879, curricula at schools like Johnson & Wales , the International Culinary Center , Institute of Culinary Education , and the Culinary Institute of America have emphasized French techniques and dishes, and a professional kitchen environment based on the brigade system (modernized in the early 20th century by chef and culinary world demigod Auguste Escoffier ). Program length and coursework for degree or certificate programs in culinary or baking and pastry arts can vary, but many spend weeks or months using French repertoire to teach basic cooking skills. The International Culinary Center promises students six months or 400 hours of what they call French “fine cooking,” which culminates in learning the aforementioned brigade system — students work saucier, garde manger, or patissier stations. Even when schools highlight cuisines from other parts of the world, those cuisines don’t receive the same reverence. At the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, students take a “Cuisines of Asia” course, which attempts to cover the cuisines of Thailand, India, China, and Japan in a mere 48 hours of classwork . (For comparison, the school also offers a course highlighting the regional differences of French and Italian cuisine in the same number of hours.) What these schools don’t list is time dedicated to regional Mexican, American Indian, African, Middle Eastern, or South American cuisines, a glaring omission as the restaurant scene adapts to match an increasingly diverse nation. As a result, culinary school students graduate with a flattened idea of which foods comprise culinary arts. Beyond that, many face significant knowledge gaps and must learn foundational cooking of other cultures on the job or on their own time. If the goal of culinary schools is to produce a well-rounded chef, curriculum that only prioritizes French or Italian cuisine seems insufficient. Why not teach a Mexican mole next to a French mornay or Nigerian jollof rice next to a pilaf? Or a Hoppin’ John next to cassoulet? Why don’t American culinary schools reflect the multi-faceted world in which they exist? The economics and affordability of culinary school is a big deterrent from attending, as others have reported . Spending up to $30,000 per year isn’t an option for many would-be cooks, especially when the food you wish to learn isn’t adequately covered in class. Diana Davila, chef and owner of Mi Tocaya , a causal Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, decided against culinary school for this reason. “I could be debt-free and learning another way in a restaurant,” she says. For Davila, cooking and eating regional Mexican dishes with her family in Chicago is more important than a European-focused education. The mother sauces of Mexican cuisine have depth and complexity and require as much skill as the French varieties, she says. “People are always like, ‘French food is the best’ and no, it’s not,” says Davila. It’s true — France is considered the standard bearer of culinary tradition. But that’s thanks to hundreds of years of documentation of techniques, ingredient pairings, and regional dish variations that have formed a culinary canon. Colonization disseminated these traditions (and French language and culture in general) to different corners of the world. To put it simply: those who write the history books get to create the standard for everyone else. Chefs like Marie-Antoine Careme , Urban Dubois , and Paul Bocuse receive credit for advancing the profession, while other cultures get left out of the conversation. Alternative schools and programs add different dishes and cooking techniques to their curriculum by incorporating global cuisines alongside French fundamentals used industry-wide. Their goal is to create cooks who can create the best final product, not just a replica of what they’ve learned in a classroom. Jodi Liano, founder of San Francisco Culinary School , says traditional culinary schools produce “recipe robots,” or cooks that reproduce what they’ve been taught without thinking about why they’re cooking a dish or making a sauce a certain way. “We want to create graduates that are equipped to make decisions about using certain flavors or ingredients,” Liano says. Guest lecturers like chef-owners Gonzalo Guzman of Nopalito or Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s introduce students to ingredients and flavors in their respective Mexican and Chinese cuisines, and teach the cooks how to use them. Amanda Cohen, chef and owner of award-winning, plant-focused Dirt Candy in New York and a graduate of the recently closed Natural Gourmet Institute, says culinary schools should do a better job of preparing students for restaurant realities. “I had a grad come in who had never used a deep fryer,” she says. She credits her time at Natural Gourmet Institute, where she studied plant-based cooking, with helping hone her vision independent of dining trends. “We learned how to make quinoa as part of the curriculum in the ’90s,” she says. “It was always ahead of its time and it allowed me to be ahead of the curve.” When hiring, Cohen looks for workers that demonstrate consistency. She’s not concerned with whatever top culinary school might appear on a resume. The Culinary Institute of America has to reckon with not only a shift in student interests but the evolving role of chefs as well, according to provost Mark Erickson. He graduated from the associates program in 1977. “Before, we were preparing someone to put on a white coat and work the line at a hotel, but that’s changed,” he says. Erickson hosts “chat with the provost” meetings where students give him feedback about coursework, and he says their desires go far beyond making the best pastries or seasoning something properly. “These young people want to do things that not only impact the culinary world, but society in general. They’re really passionate.” For those that can’t or choose not to attend culinary school, restaurants that focus on regional cuisines offer cooks another way to learn skills and flavors that interest them. Davila says since opening her restaurant, she’s been floored by the amount of Latinx cooks who apply. Many say they’re seeking out her kitchen specifically to learn Mexican cuisine. “It was so emotional for me because they want to learn the food of their heritage,” she says. When foods like mole verde or masa made with Oaxacan heirloom blue corn come up, those cooks often already have a connection. “We’re able to get the best out of each other because we share a reference.” Seeing someone who looks like you in a leadership role can also impact a cook’s trajectory. Back in Brooklyn, a Brownsville participant took Sanders’s recommendation to intern at Cosme with chef Daniela Soto-Innes . The participant had already worked in French-style kitchens around New York City. “She came back without a question in her mind of where she wants to be,” Sanders says. “She spent an afternoon with Daniela and felt that she could be her — because she saw it.” Access to successful chefs from varied backgrounds who tell their cultural food stories is as valuable as any school degree. That guidance can illuminate a clearer path for young cooks to define their unique culinary voice, as chefs like Angela Dimayuga and Mashama Bailey have stated. Sanders hopes her participants pursue careers where they feel empowered to cook the food they want, not just the food that institutions have told them they should idolize. “You don’t have to wait for some cisgender white dude to pat you on the shoulder and say you’re good enough,” Sanders says. “You can tell your own story and work somewhere else.”
Book Review: Inside the Twisted Mind of Rifle Range Boy
Contemporary Literary Review India Brings articulate writings for articulate readers. eISSN 2394-6075 | Vol 6, No 1: CLRI February 2019 | p- 181-187
Book Review on Farouk Gulsara’s Inside the Twisted Mind of Rifle Range Boy
Prof Shiv Sethi
‘Inside the Twisted Mind of Rifle Range Boy’ is a melange of profound thoughts penned down by Farouk Gulsara. Hailing from a family where everybody perceives that there is only a single way to deal with the things either black or white whereas the writer is inclined to have an altogether contrary viewpoint. As he advances in the years and grows mature, he becomes aware of the harsh reality that the family of his parents has innumerable blood-curdling tales to narrate because they had witnessed the seamy side of life during the turbulent times of early Malaya.
Farouk Gulsara makes the most of that opportunity and begins to write his own blog known as �Rifle Range Boy�. There is no denying the fact that we the people very conveniently bend rules and regulations to cater to our own whims and fancies. Brahmins are normally considered as the propagators of vegetarianism, but the Brahmins dwelling around the Bay of Bengal and Kashmir have not set such prohibitions for them and they place fish on their platter as their staple diet. Thus, Man is basically a bundle of contradictions. The writer renders twelve years of his services as a Government employee. But he is badly disillusioned and thinks of himself as an idiot for his unwavering commitment to work when he observes that others are being paid lucratively without toiling hard. The varied cultures, diverse civilizations and religion have dovetailed with one another and everything has become a religious event. Indian mythology and festivals have been cherished with unshakable faith, but no one is keen to give heed to the similarities among these different fiesta. The author appears to be deeply agitated at heart when people question him over his ethnicity or look upon him as an Indian Malaysian. His parents belonged to Malaysia and so does he. Though he has never even set a foot on the Indian soil and evidently specifies in the book that he has no intention to visit India. For he is least interested in beholding the spectacle of poverty ridden people for that he need not pay visit to india. He can have that repulsive glimpse in his own backyard. And a big No to temples , as God is omnipresent for him. Farouk Gulsara has his distinctive views about Hinduism, India, and Bollywood. He holds Late Shammi Kapoor in derision by equating him with a fat monkey, but makes frequent usage of Manoj Kumar’s dialogues for reference in another anecdote. He sheds light on the various cuisines of India, but he has no desire to try Indian food because the menu of Malaysia comprises a vast variety of umpteen delicacies and he is fully content with his life in his native land and its foods. The author poses to be a sentimental fool whereas a discerning reader will take this with a pinch of salt. The downside with the book is that at some places it is marred with prolixity, superfluousness and repetition and one of chapters has been translated into French which is beyond the ken of most of the readers. Undoubtedly,we aspire for perfection in life contrary to that our life has many imperfection and some of which we can never do away with. We whine, we cringe, we fret and fume, we grumble, we demand and we assert our rights but eventually the reality dawns upon us and we come to terms with the fact that we are mere pawns in the hands of the mighty forces of destiny. Here I am aptly reminded of a famed Victorian writer Thomas Hardy who gives much credence to the philosophy of Determinism and Fatalism.
The writer of this book also throws a flood of light on the legal system of Malaysia and its economic state of affairs. Here we come across several stark similarities between India and Malaysia. In both the nations in the name of development poor people have to bear the brunt of displacement and are bound to lead nomadic existence. The education system is in a shambles and they still require interpreters just like their ancestors required some five decades ago. The so-called modern-day parents are shown dancing to the tune of the snake charmers’ flute blinded with abominable superstitions. They are unbothered for the dreams and aspirations of their children and in a way suffer from peter complex.
To lend a concrete shape to one’s pent-up thoughts has not been very popular practice in literature with no specific genre. But soon the writer listens to his inner voice and gets convinced that many roads do indeed lead to Rome, and there is a divine power up there righting the wrong, but still, we have a host of instances of misdeeds committed by the Church and a long lost legacy of the renowned figures. We as humans are capable of inspiring a person to an extent only. Beyond that it is entirely up to his genes or nature whether he succeeds in reaching his place in space on time or not. If a person fails to measure up to certain expectations, it does not signify that he is a failure. We all have to be stretched in order to grow.
In our pursuit to growth and edification rigorous discipline is of paramount importance. Which caste one belongs to does not matter at all. As the author alludes that Hindus would resort to hard penance either through self-imposed starvation, self-flagellation, self-piercing, and observe countless other rituals and customs before Mahatma Gandhi proposed Satyagraha. It is all deeply ingrained in the Indian psyche. The author narrates different stories of the people who arrive in his life and to whom he is all available to lend a helping hand and offer his shoulder to cry on and achieve their Aristotelian cathartic bliss.
The writer is exasperated with the fact that the little cherubic children will be unable to fully bloom into the majestic swan that they always hanker to be. The Asian attitude to life believes in producing a generation of studious book worms only. Nobody bothers if the children have earned enough of life experiences and optimal professional qualifications coupled with the sufficient emotional maturity to match with. Once the formal degrees and material comforts begin to rolling, people here get a semblance of contentment and start believing that now everything will fall in place. Alack! the modern folk dwell in an illusion or a shambolic world. Much to the writer’s chagrin, they are heading towards a cultural bankruptcy as they have lost their connect with their moorings. With great power comes great responsibility. Information is the power and the unquenchable thirst of mankind for knowledge seems insatiable. Some theories are accepted as pure Gospel; while others are debatable. The Government lies to people in the name of National Security, and it creates more curiosity and restrictions to self-expression. In our daily lives too, we see many able bodies leading miserable life.
The world is fraught with hatred and fissiparous tendencies around us. Even amongst apparently homogeneous societies, there is suspicion and desire to dominate over the other. There is West, East, North, and South, Hindus, Christian, and Muslims, the fair skinned and the dark-skinned, indigenous people and immigrants, moderates and conservatives, all exist with their dichotomous ideologies. The list goes on. But still, people flock together and put their resources during the disasters like earthquakes and tsunami. It reflects the humanity is not fully dead yet. Farouk Gulsara makes use of the allusions of Arnold Schwarzenegger to Steve Jobs and Lord Shiva. Though he does not provide any solutions about the different worldly problem, but only offers his opinions, and twisted thoughts of his deviant mind. Therefore, this works emerges as a refreshing and eye-opening read. The language is lucid. The narration is flawless. The author also takes recourse to Hindi and Malay languages at many places in the book. . His spontaneous thoughts spread all over the canvas of the book. There’s no dull moment and It is an unputdownable work.
Title: Inside the Twisted Mind of Rifle Range Boy Author: Farouk Gulsara
Publisher: Inside The Twisted Mind of Rifle Range Boy
Contemporary Literary Review India | eISSN 2394-6075 | Vol 6, No 1: CLRI February 2019 | Page 186 Book Review on Farouk Gulsara’s Inside the Twisted Mind of Rifle Range Boy Prof Shiv Sethi
Prof. Shiv Sethi (Reviewer) Prof. Shiv (Ph D, M Phil, four times MA) is the Head of the Department of English language and Linguistics at Dev Samaj Post Graduate College For Women Ferozepur for the last 17 years.
His research articles have been published in various journals of international repute including The Tribune, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, The Deccan Herald, The Hitavada, and The Daily post and in several newspapers of neighbouring countries like Nepal and Pakistan. He has presented his papers at various universities in India and abroad. He is a guide for research scholars for M Phil thesis.
Contemporary Literary Review India | eISSN 2394-6075 | Vol 6, No 1: CLRI February 2019 | Page 187
http://asok22.wix.com/real-lesson http://.facebook.com/farouk.gulsara www.riflerangeboy.com This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Things to Do in San Francisco This August
Things to Do in San Francisco This August Sponsor Ad
The temperatures may be on the cool side in August , but we make up for it with some very hot things to do, including foodie favorites and Outside Lands. Be Grateful for Jerry
San Francisco’s Excelsior District honors one of their own, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead , with several events in August. The 17th annual Jerry Day concert begins at 11 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2019, in Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park. Performers include Melvin Seals and JGB, Stu Allen & Mars Hotel, and Gary Gates Band. Head to The Dark Horse Inn on Aug. 1, 2019 at 6 p.m. for their official Jerry Garcia Birthday Party near his childhood home at Amazon Ave. and Mission St. Don’t forget to top off the day with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. On Aug. 9, 2019, the San Francisco Giants will host Grateful Dead Tribute Night at Oracle Park . Special event ticket packages will include a collector’s edition Grateful Dead/Giants theme t-shirt. Get Crafty at the Fort Mason Center
The American Craft Show returns to San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture , Aug. 2-4, 2019. As the largest juried fine craft show on the West Coast, the three-day show will showcase more than 250 of the top contemporary craft artists from across the country all under one roof. Craft collectors and design enthusiasts will also have a chance to engage in three special showcases: “Hip Hop emerging artists”, “School-to-Market”, and “Let’s Make”. Third Annual World Dog Surfing Championships
Hang ten with man’s best friend at the Fourth Annual World Dog Surfing Championships , where your four-legged friend can compete for the “Golden Surfie Award.” Happening in Pacifica, just outside of San Francisco, you’ll be able to enroll your pup in a number of activities, including the surf competition, dog beach fashion contest, and much more! The fun takes place on Aug. 3, 2019. The 46th Annual Nihonmachi Street Fair
Head to America’s oldest Japantown for the annual Nihonmachi Street Fair, Aug. 3-4, 2019. Highlights include the “Asian American Basketball Tournament” and “The Art & Soul of J-town,” which showcases Asian artists. The “Food Fest” will feature Asian eats, from teri burgers to okonomiyaki (a Japanese savory pancake). The Doggie World Parade and Pageant on Aug. 4 will feature DIY doggie crafts and a doggie photobooth. 82nd Stern Grove Music Festival
Listen up! You will not want to miss these free music events at the beautiful concert venue running through August 18th. The Stern Grove Music Festival will feature an eclectic and diverse mix of performances including The Psychedelic Furs, Pink Martini, and The Isley Brothers. This iconic tradition of free concerts in the park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy great music. Free Admission Days at San Francisco Museums
Whether you’re an art, history, or other type of buff, you’re in for a real treat during the first week of August! On Tuesday, Aug. 8, the following San Francisco museums are offering admission at no cost: The Conservatory of Flowers , The Contemporary Jewish Museum , The de Young Museum , The Legion of Honor , The Museum of Craft & Design , and The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts . The Asian Art Museum also offers free admission on Sunday, Aug. 4. SAN FRANCISCO’S MUST-SEE MUSEUMS Abracadabra: Magic in Peanuts Exhibit at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa
This exhibition explores artist Charles Schulz’s fascination with sleight of hand and magic and how he incorporated these into his cartoons. You can check out original comic strips and vintage magic tools that belonged to Schulz himself starting Aug. 8, 2019. Outside Lands Festival Returns to Golden Gate Park , Aug. 9-11, 2019
The lineup notwithstanding, even if you didn’t listen to a note of music, you’d have a great time at Outside Lands. The folks behind this annual three-day concert have put just as much thought into food and beverage offerings as they have into the headliners—which include, among others, Childish Gambino, 21 Pilots, and Paul Simon. Fans will have access to more than 80 restaurants, 40-plus Northern California wineries and nearly 30 breweries. GastroMagic, a stage dedicated to culinary and performance art, and The Barbary, a variety tent devoted to top names in comedy, podcasts, music and improv, are both returning. Public transit is always your best option to get around San Francisco . There will be a pre-paid three-day motorcoach shuttle service from Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (near Civic Center BART station) for those who prefer to transfer from and/or park in the Civic Center neighborhood. Find a hotel near Outside Lands Festival. Shows To See
SHN brings Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in concert to Davies Symphony Hall, Aug. 10-11, 2019. This concert will feature a live symphony orchestra performing every note from the movie’s memorable score. See the brand new, award-winning comedy The Play That Goes Wrong at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre, Aug. 13-18, 2019. The world-famous Hamilton is also showing every day this month besides Monday’s, so take advantage and purchase a your ticket today . S’more, S’more. We Want More, More!
The Girl Scouts came up with this brilliant treat in 1927, and on Aug. 10, 2019, campers and restaurants around the U.S. will celebrate 91 years of finger-licking goodness for National S’mores Day. You can pick up a kit at Recchiuti Confection or Dandelion Chocolate in the Ferry Building , or put together your own mix at local grocers. Ghirardelli Chocolate has the perfect accompaniment: their Squares , which come in more than a dozen flavors. Get a bag and then head for the fire pits at Ocean Beach to catch the sunset on the Pacific. Pistahan Celebrates Filipino Culture and Cuisine
San Francisco’s Filipino culture and cuisine will be celebrated with a Saturday parade and a two-day festival in Yerba Buena Gardens , Aug. 10-11, 2019. The parade begins at 11 a.m. in Civic Center and will travel down Market Street to Fourth Street. Colorful floats, a giant human Philippines flag made up of the next generation of FilAm leaders, high school bands, dancers and dignitaries are just part of the lineup. Seven pavilions dedicated to various aspects of Filipino culture will blossom in Yerba Buena Gardens over the weekend. “Steam Day” at San Francisco Maritime Park
The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park will celebrate West Coast steam technology on Aug. 11, 2019. Come explore the past century of shifting maritime technologies, as well as the cultural and sociological implications of this evolution. Get up close with a steam-powered donkey engine and a 128-year-old Eureka Engine, which has rarely been seen by the public. You won’t want to miss seeing these historic pieces of machinery. Admission is free. 9th Annual Polk Street Blues Festival, Aug. 17-18
Polk Street Blues Festival returns to its original home in the heart of San Francisco this year. This free two-day event will feature street festival fun and the best of the blues on Polk St., between California and Post streets. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, you’ll be able to enjoy live music, kids activities, a farmer’s market, and much more. Undiscovered SF: August Night Market at Old Mint
On Aug. 16, 2019, Undiscovered SF , a curated collection of emerging artists and merchants celebrating the rich heritage of the SoMa Pilipinas district, located in the heart of San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, will return to their new location, 401 Minna St. Slated for the third Friday of every month, the market has 40-plus vendors, including food purveyors representing the “third wave” of the Bay Area’s Filipino food movement. Funny Business: Desi Comedy Fest
The largest annual South Asian comedy festival in America, Desi Comedy Fest will showcase 40 comedians of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan descent at Marines Memorial Theatre and other Bay Area venues from Aug. 9-17. The festival also includes comedians from other minority groups and the LGBTQ community. “Raw and hilarious,” the comedians have a wide variety of credits in their resumes, from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival. Battle of the Bay
First at Oracle Park on Aug. 13 and 14 and again at Oakland Coliseum on Aug. 24 and 25, check out this legendary rivalry between the Bay Area’s two teams. Whether you are more of a green and gold or black and orange type of person, grab a hat and head to the ballparks to get the full Bay Area sports experience. Find a hotel near Oracle Park. Food Fests Coming in August
Noe Valley is one of San Francisco’s most charming neighborhoods. On Aug. 22, 2019, explore the area from 4-8 p.m. as the Noe Valley Wine Walk unfolds. Merchants will be offering wine samples and special treats inside their stores on 24th Street, from Diamond to Church Streets, and on nearby Castro Street. Chefs, wine and spirits are celebrated at Eat Drink SF , Aug. 24, 2019, an interactive urban food and wine festival featuring local talent and regional ingredients in a series of tastings, classes, dinners and events at The Midway . Giant Race(rs), On Your Mark!
The tenth annual San Francisco Giant Race half marathon, 10K, 5K, kids race and family relay is coming up on Sept. 8, 2019. The Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K courses tour the scenic San Francisco waterfront. Participants receive a shirt, finisher medal and exclusive runner bobblehead featuring a Giants’ player. Kids Race & Family Relay participants receive a medal and bobblehead. All races finish on the field at Oracle Park , home of the San Francisco Giants. Registration fees go up after Sept. 7, so be sure to register as soon as possible! Find a hotel for the San Francisco Giant Race. Find the Best San Francisco Hotel Deals This August
South Points Christopher Johns shares his favorite Las Vegas restaurants – Eater Vegas
One of these young Indian chefs will get to travel to Japan
Announcing the shortlist of the Himalayan Raw & Fine Journey of a Lifetime to Japan 20:08:05 IST Eight of the 10 shortlisted candidates
The land of the rising sun will soon have a new visitor.
A few weeks ago, we announced the Himalayan Raw & Fine Journey of Lifetime to Japan , a unique opportunity for one up-and-coming professional chef to experience the culinary diversity of the country via Michelin-starred meals, interactions with top chefs, street food tours and more.
We received hundreds of promising entries and spent days sifting through them to judge the best applications. Browse through this shortlist to check out some of the brightest minds in India’s restaurant kitchens today. From inspired chefs who run their own businesses, to brilliant minds working in some of India’s best restaurants, this shortlist represents the vast spectrum of talent that is taking India’s dining scene to the next level.
The winner of the contest will be picked by an expert jury and will be announced shortly.
Akriti Malhotra Akriti Malhotra
Having started her career as an analyst at one of The Big Four’s, Akriti Malhotra was bowled over by the culinary world and went on to pursue her dreams at kitchens such as the Michelin-starred Ai Fiori in New York and DIVA in New Delhi. Malhotra’s food philosophy is all about championing ingredients. She believes that a little goes a long way and takes immense pride in using the indigenous Basmati for her risotto and even her sushi. She now runs AKU’s – The Brrgrr Co, a fast-casual restaurant in New Delhi.
Archit Subramaniam Archit Subramaniam
After stints in Peru and Sri Lanka, this 27-year-old from god’s own country took his culinary skills to New Delhi. Subramaniam was so intrigued by Japanese culture as a kid that he took up karate lessons and is still an avid manga and anime fan. Subramaniam is a sustainability warrior, who believes in using fresh seasonal produce and is particular about zero waste in the kitchen he currently works at, Rooh.
Aliakbar Baldiwala Aliakbar Baldiwala
With roots from the Bohri mohalla of Bhendi Bazaar in Mumbai, this 24-year-old chef finds solace in a mutton dum biryani, with an aroma that reminds him of his childhood. Baldiwala believes that to be a great chef, one needs to master the art of biriyani making, with passion, love and just a pinch of nostalgia. Having grown up in Nashik, Baldiwala has a strong affinity for misal pav, but also swears by a good tandoori chicken, something he grew up eating at his father’s restaurant. You can find him jamming in the kitchen at Masque in Mumbai, where he currently works.
Maia Laifungbam Maia Laifungbam
This Manipuri girl in Goa strongly believes in exploring the unexplored when it comes to food. Currently working at Goa’s Unomas, the 26-year-old wants to conserve and promote traditional food practices from across the country; especially those from the northeast of India. Her philosophy lies in her own Meitei cuisine, with a dish called eromba , a humble household dish made with colocasia that can be eaten as a main or as a side. Laifungbam strongly believes in seasonal eating. She believes that it is not only ethically correct, but also allows for constant innovation.
Malavika Pratap Malavika Pratap
As an individual, Pratap is driven by a constant desire to learn new things and understand perspectives that aren’t her own. Even before she thought of becoming a professional chef, Pratap was interested in the role food plays in our lives. Malavika completed a Masters degree in Food Culture and Communication in Italy and has since gone on to attend sustainable development conferences and events across Europe. She currently works at Qualia in Mumbai and actively lends a hand in menu development at the restaurant.
Neha Joshi Neha Joshi
After working as a teacher and even a journalist, Joshi eventually realised that her true interest lies in the kitchen. Starting off at the Michelin-starred Akrame in Paris, she now works at Le 15 P â tisserie in Mumbai. Joshi likes to incorporate simplicity, community, tradition and flavour to her cooking. This can be seen in the serradurra, a traditional Portuguese dessert she helped develop while working at O Pedro in Mumbai.
Mohammed Eliyaz Mohammed Elyiaz
Hailing from the city of nawabs, Eliyaz’s culinary journey took an alternate path, as he chose to explore the cuisine of Italy. During his career, he has had the opportunity to work with over seven chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants. Currently working at Alba, JW Marriott Hotel, Bengaluru, Eliyaz is keen to travel to Japan to understand the discipline, knowledge and vision that the Japanese bring to their cooking.
Rohit Chadha Rohit Chadha
This young chef’s love for food has often landed him in many foreign countries, without any prior reservations or plans. He currently works at Hyatt Regency in Pune and plans to add at least one new foreign stamp to his passport every year. Chadha believes the success of a dish lies in its basics, and says that he has learnt that from the humble dumpling soup. According to him, a respect for ingredients is important to mould them into a masterpiece; which is exemplified in this dish.
Niyati Rao Niyati Rao
After a stint at Wasabi by Morimoto at Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai led her to travel to Tokyo for a month in 2013, Rao has been aching to return to Japan. If she had to pick one dish that would best describe her, it would have to be the Japanese Bento box, that represents her obsession with colours, flavours and textures. Currently working at Hemant Oberoi in Mumbai, and having previously worked at Goa’s A Reverie, Rao believes in the cardinal rule of maintaining the quality of the ingredients in her food.
Shannon Lawrence Shannon Lawrence
One of the first hires at The Bombay Canteen, Shannon Lawrence is a thinking chef, who loves to research new cuisines, ideas and techniques. A dish that best describes him is the Pork Sambari, a traditional East Indian stew made with pork shoulder, ginger, garlic, pearl onions and bottle masala. A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Lawrence enjoys decoding traditional flavours that are usually unfamiliar to a wider audience.
Logan Square’s New Creative Indian Restaurant Opens Next Week With Butter Chicken Calzones
Flipboard Superkhana International , Logan Square’s brilliant and long-awaited Indian restaurant , will officially open on Tuesday. Reservations are live via Resy for the restaurant that emerged from the Bombay Breakdown pop-ups that stormed through Chicago bars over the last few years. Chefs Yoshi Yamada and Zeeshan Shah have partnered with Lula Cafe chef and James Beard Award nominee Jason Hammel to make creative dishes — like a butter chicken calzone — a reality. Yamada and Shah are merging cultures and generations. Manchurian fries have the crispy stickiness of Chinese-American chicken, blended with a South Asian spice blend. While there’s no formal pairings, alcohol is meant to complement the dishes. They’ll also have spirit-free drinks, like a frothy lassi. GM Colleen Malone, who worked Violet Hour, created the cocktails. There’s a courtyard in back with 10 tables, ceiling fans, and benches to enjoy a drink and a bite outdoors. Some of the menu items are crossovers from the pop-up. But most of it, like korma meatball pizza and cashew hummus, are new creations. The idea of a butter chicken calzone came as a joke. Shah said the thread that bound him to Yamada was their appreciation for Indian dishes enjoyed on the subcontinent, at parties, and with family. Shah fondly remembers how his father would share meals food together on Devon Avenue and elsewhere. The item that best captures the spirit of Superkhana International is the aforementioned butter chicken calzone. Hammel suggested it as a joke while brainstorming menu ideas about a year and half ago. But the light bulbs pulsed for both Shah and Yamada, who thought the dish was so crazy it might work. Butter chicken is the iconic Anglo-Indian dish that serves for many as their introduction to Indian food. Traditionally, it’s enjoyed by tearing off a chunk of flatbread and sopping it up with gravy. The naan dough for the calzone is a little saltier with more water than traditional dough. On Superkhana’s menu, the item’s called “Butter Chicken Supreme.” It resembles a pizza puff, with glorious orange gravy flowing from the stuffed pocket. It’s brushed with ghee (clarified butter used in India) and topped with Maldon salt. “It just clicked for us, there’s something really wonderful about butter chicken and something really wonderful about eating it with bread,” Yamada said while sitting in the restaurant’s courtyard. The idea was to create the calzone’s crust using naan. They went through several dough recipes, but figured to bake the dough in a pizza oven using a pizza stone. The dough is a little saltier and more moist than normal naan dough to work in a pizza oven. Naan is traditionally made in a tandoor where temperatures rise to 900 degrees. The chicken is topped with a blend of mozzarella and Amur. Originally, they baked the calzone without cheese, as cheese isn’t a part of traditional butter chicken. The cheese most associated with Indian food is paneer, but it doesn’t provide the melty gooeyness needed for the dish. While family recipes and methods procured from India provided inspiration, Shah mentioned how they needed to trust their instincts and made modifications. Shah tried butterkase, liberated from his friend Michael Simmons’s restaurant, Cafe Marie Jeanne. That didn’t work. They settled on a a blend of mozzarella and Amul, a processed Indian cheese that comes in a can . Prepping the chicken is a laborious three-day process. They use Gunthorp Farms thighs, leaving it in a salt brine for a day. The next day the chicken gets showered in a yogurt-based marinade augmented with spices like coriander and cumin. On day three, the chicken is picked, not sliced or shredded, ready to be folded into the naan. The calzone is baked at 550 degrees on a pizza stone. While the chicken marinades, the chefs prepare the gravy. Yamada studied the street food of India while on a Fulbright scholarship about 10 years ago. He talked about mistakenly conflating spice for heat. Spice is more about the flavor, not satisfying any pepper-eating challenges. He also mentioned how Americans eat more boneless meats than Indians and how that affects flavor. When sauces are simmered with bone-in meat, it essentially creates a stock. While they’re keeping the chicken boneless, Shah and Yamada are creating their own chicken stock for the gravy. The sauce consists of tomatoes, cream, stock, tomato paste, and butter. The ingredients are spread on to the naan which is folded and baked for about eight minutes at 550 degrees. The result is an Indian-Italian hybrid. Cultural appropriation is something that Yamada said they constantly talk about. He spent two years in India, in cities like Mumbai, learning the culture. How little he knew about the cuisine shocked him. When he returned to America, former Old Town Social chef Jared Van Camp introduced Yamada to Shah. Both confided in Van Camp their ideas for a restaurant. To Van Camp, it sounded like the same idea from two different chefs. The finished product is brushed with ghee and topped with Maldon salt. Sourcing Indian ingredients is still a challenge for chefs away from Devon. Shah said they’re working with Patel Brothers, Reluctant Trading, and Epic Spices. As part of a wave of new South Asian restaurant that have opened this year in Chicago (Rooh, Vajra , Egg-O-Holic, The Momo World ), Shah has one request. “I just want a grocery store to have rosewater,” he said. Check out Superkhana International’s menu below. The restaurant officially opens on Tuesday, but locals may see some activity over the weekend. Superkhana is one of Chicago’s most anticipated openings of 2019 . Sign
THE WESTIN RESORT NUSA DUA, BALI WELCOMES ANIL KAPOOR AS EXECUTIVE CHEF
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali takes great pleasure to announce the recent appointment of Anil Kapoor as Executive Chef. He has arrived on the island direct from an 18-month stint in a similar role at The Yacht Club Canberra, a multi-faceted venue with a high-end parliamentary clientele.
Born and educated in India, Chef Anil began his culinary career as a trainee at Grand Hyatt New Dehli. After showing great promise, he was promoted to the position of Commis Chef in 1999 where he perfected his skills in the preparation of fine dining European cuisine. Chef Anil then enjoyed a brief stint as Chef de Partie at Leela Kempinski Mumbai. This was followed by time as Sous Chef at Grand Hyatt Mumbai, whilst he simultaneously studied for his Bachelor of Arts degree from Delhi University.
In an effort to broaden his portfolio, Chef Anil relocated to Australia in 2007 after accepting a position at Novotel Canberra. However, he soon moved into a more senior role as Sous Chef for Crowne Plaza Canberra where he embraced the challenge of greater responsibility. From 2010 to 2017, Chef Anil was the Head Chef for The Hellenic Club of Canberra where he managed banquet kitchen operations for five busy venues.
Now as Executive Chef at The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali, Chef Anil is in charge of culinary services for several distinctive restaurants as well as banqueting for events held at the adjacent Bali International Convention Centre. Highly experienced in overseeing busy kitchen environments, Chef Anil is suitably impressed by the comradely and creativity exhibited by his new Balinese team.
“Chef Anil has joined us just in time for the peak summer season as we prepare to welcome seasoned travelers from all over the world and anticipate their diverse culinary needs. Being well-versed in Indian, European and modern Australian cuisines, I am confident that Chef Anil will bring lots of fresh ideas to reinvigorate our menus and regular food promotions,” says Mr. Oriol Montal, General Manager of The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali.
For more information, please visit the website www.westinnusaduabali.com or follow the resort’s social media channels Facebook www.facebook.com/westinbali and www.instagram.com/westinbali.
I’m YouTuber Natalie Wynn Of ContraPoints, And This Is How I Eat | Lifehacker Australia
Natalie Wynn has been called the “Oscar Wilde of YouTube” for the sexy, visually decadent, and wildly entertaining videos she makes for her channel, ContraPoints . In these videos, Wynn discusses a wide variety of hot-button topics including the alt-right, climate change, incels, and trans issues, but instead of feeling challenged, one often finds themselves seduced. It should be no surprise then, to find that this hedonistic sensibility bleeds into Wynn’s daily life, affecting how she lives and, of course, how she eats. Unafraid of controversy, Wynn was kind enough to share her opinions on McDonald’s breakfast, pineapple on pizza, and what makes a perfect bite of ice cream. Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Current gig: YouTuber with a focus on sex, drugs, and social justice Do you eat breakfast?
I suppose I do. My meals are sort of hard to categorise in accordance to traditional Western norms. I eat when I wake up so I guess that qualifies as breakfast. What do you usually eat?
First, a disclaimer that anyone hoping to get any kind of ethical guidance from me when it comes to diet is going to be very disappointed, because it just alternates between chaos and evil over here. And the moment I could afford to stop cooking, I stopped. Most days I eat nothing except UberEats. I also have a bad UberEats habit.
It’s about a twice a day thing for me. Today I’m being good! I’m having a smoothie. I’m trying to get better, but to be honest my mainstays are usually a bagel with lox and cream cheese, which I love. That’s actually my favourite breakfast. So I have that a lot from a local cafe, and I’m also not above a sausage egg and cheese McMuffin. Anyone hoping to get any kind of ethical guidance from me when it comes to diet is going to be very disappointed, because it just alternates between chaos and evil over here. What’s in your smoothie, if you don’t mind me asking?
This one is a Greek yogurt smoothie from Smoothie King. It’s Chobani and blueberry, strawberry, some kind of protein enhancement. It has probiotics and fruit. It’s pretty good, especially if you’re used to the McMuffin route. Do you drink coffee or tea?
Yes, both. Although lately, I’ve kind of been relying more on energy drinks out of fears about teeth. I just had my teeth whitened so I’m trying to keep that up. I’d much prefer to drink coffee than to drink, say, sugar-free Monster Energy drinks, but at least for the next couple of months I’m trying to avoid coffee for the teeth reasons. How do you usually take your coffee?
With milk or cream, no sugar. I also like iced lattes and that kind of thing. Do you drink them in the winter?
Yes, I totally do. When you get the Egg McMuffin, do you usually get the hash browns?
Yes. I do. McDonald’s breakfast—it really is, in my opinion, the best thing at McDonald’s by far. When they added the all-day breakfast, that was very “helpful.”
It changed my life. Well it didn’t change my life . It changed my relationship to McDonald’s. It made me a regular customer. God, they completely control me. Between that and UberEats—I don’t have a car so I wasn’t eating any McDonald’s, and then all of a sudden I was eating way too much McDonald’s.
You could take a shower and get dressed—in my case—probably put on some makeup, leave the house, walk or drive somewhere, or you could just stay in bed. It’s a pretty difficult thing to turn down. The choice is clear. Do you usually have lunch or snack throughout the day?
What do I do exactly? I have sort of three meals, I guess. There’s one when I wake up which is usually around—11:00 a.m. is pretty typical around here. Then I’ll have kind of a lunch-ish thing at like 3:00 p.m., and I’ll have dinner at 10 or 11. Well that’s just European.
Yeah, that’s what we tell ourselves. Can we see inside your fridge? Iconic (Photo: Natalie Wynn) What do you usually eat for lunch, or is there a “usual”?
On a day where I just want nutrition inside my face as fast as possible, I will get Subway. I don’t really like Subway—it’s no McDonald’s—but it’s fast, and I get the whole-nine-grain-wheat bun and I feel good about myself, and it’s fine. But usually though, if I want to eat something good , I really love Indian food. There are a lot of good places in Baltimore. I will sometimes get that and then just split it between lunch and dinner, and have the same thing twice because I’m a savage. No, I do that. Sometimes if I get Indian food the night before I’ll eat it cold for breakfast the next day.
And sometimes you don’t want to eat a giant thing of rice and tikka masala in one go. Do you get naan?
Usually I don’t, actually. I don’t know why when it comes to that I’m suddenly like “ carbs! ” I don’t know why that’s the line. I just don’t usually feel the need for it. There’s already so much rice. I’ll order naan if I’m with someone else because everyone else likes naan. It’s always garlic naan too.
And see, I like the Kashmiri naan , the one that has fruits and nuts in it. I like that one better. But I eat it as a little dessert or something. Do you like spicy food?
Love it. Yeah. I can’t get people to make it spicy enough. So, here’s where I’m macho. [Laughs] My favourite is goat curry. In Baltimore there are a lot of Nepalese Indian places and they have this dish— khasi ko maasu . And it’s a goat curry, bone-in—like a traditional butchery kind of thing. I will order that and the order instructions will say “extra spicy please,” and interpretations of that vary. I’ve had it arrive with just a bunch of sliced up serrano peppers in it. I love that. I do love a bone-in meat preparation.
Yeah. it’s very flavorful. I don’t know why goat is my favourite, but it just is. It’s not something that I grew up eating. But it’s apparently healthier for you in a lot of ways than other red meat. I think goats are not factory-farmed in America. Don’t tell me if I’m wrong. I haven’t researched it so I can’t I comment, but that seems correct. Besides Indian food is there another spicy cuisine that you love?
Yes. So, Mexican, obviously. I like getting tacos and things and hot sauce on them. Sometime tacos for me are just a hot sauce carrier. Do you have a favourite brand of hot sauce?
Let’s see. My favourite very spicy one that I’ve tried is the the Tabasco Scorpion Sauce . That’s really good. I like Tabasco a lot, actually. I like the Tabasco Chipotle Sauce . That one’s not that spicy, but it’s flavorful and interesting. What else do I like? I like Valentina Extra Hot . And I said I was macho—it’s not really that macho. Because I hate the culture around hot sauce, like “give me the maximum, spiciest thing.” I hate that. It’s pointless to me, and a lot of these really, really hot sauces—they don’t taste like anything. It’s just a chemical burn that you’re adding to your food. What I like about the Scorpion Sauce is that it has mango in it like a lot of habanero hot sauces, and that mango sweetness adds something besides just heat. Or the Chipotle Tabasco is very smoky and vinegary, and it adds that to the food . I know this isn’t Mexican food, but I have to ask because I’m garbage. Do you ever eat at Taco Bell?
Actually, no. For some reason Taco Bell just doesn’t resonate with me. I just never got into it. It’s because you’re a good person.
I guess. I’m clearly becoming not a good person, though. It’s just accidental virtue, you know. It’s just accidental virtue, you know. How is the Mexican food in Baltimore?
There are some good places. When I go out, there’s a place called Clavel , which is really, really good. That’s the best place I know of in Baltimore. I think the Mexican food is not as good as a lot of other cities. I used to live in Chicago. The things I really miss about about Chicago are really good Mexican food and a really good pho . On the Argyle stop on the the red line, there is this Little Vietnam neighbourhood that has all these Vietnamese and pho places, and they’re really good. Having lived in Chicago, do you have a pizza loyalty to them?
No, I don’t. I think I had deep dish there twice, and I like it, but it’s not really what I think of as pizza. It’s good , but I don’t know. To me, if I want pizza, usually what I would want is the more traditional, flat pizza. Does Baltimore have a style of pizza?
Not that I’m aware of. I don’t think so. I don’t think so either, but I didn’t know Connecticut had a pizza until I started dating a man from Connecticut.
I didn’t know Connecticut had an anything! They have that clam pizza which I have never heard of, and he was so offended.
It’s a clam pizza? Yeah. It’s like a white pie. I don’t think it has cheese on it.
Yeah, I don’t know about that. Might stick to New York on that one. What toppings do you like on your pizza?
So, I realise I am again entering into very controversial territory, but Hawaiian pizza is good, actually. I especially love Hawaiian with jalapeños because of my spicy thing. So you have ham, pineapple, jalapeños— amazing. Hawaiian pizza is good, actually. I’m very pro pineapple on pizza.
Well, it’s objectively correct. Especially with a cured meat, like ham. The sweet and the saltiness—it’s good. It’s like wrapping slices of prosciutto around honeydew melon. I love that as a snack. The salty-sweet-savoury combination. Oh! It’s so good. If you had to pick between salty snacks and sweet snacks, do you have a clear preference for one?
Definitely salty. But I tend not to snack all that much. I know it sounds like I have a super high-calorie diet. This is where I’m making up the difference. I’m not someone who really eats chips or anything throughout the day. Do I ever eat snacks? If I’m just living normally, I kind of don’t. I just don’t have them in the house. Do you have a movie theatre snack?
My movie snack since I was eight is Raisinets. I don’t know why. No one else likes them. I like them! It’s the only format in which I really like a raisin.
Raisins need some help, clearly. Do you get a soda?
I drink Diet Coke a lot. I’d get that at a movie. I will steal little pieces of someone else’s popcorn but I don’t usually order my own popcorn. It’s too big of a commitment.
It’s a huge commitment, yeah. I like the saltiness of it, but it’s just a lot of fibre . It’s like doing work. I don’t want to work while I’m at a movie. And then if you get the butter, your hands are all greasy.
Yeah. It’s the same thing with Cheetos. I’m viscerally opposed to anything that leaves my hands covered in some kind of grease or powder. I know people who eat Cheetos and popcorn with chopsticks for that reason. It’s a little extra.
Oh my God. Yeah, you have to be that person. Am I really gonna bring a couple of metal chopsticks into a movie theatre? I don’t know! I’ve been experimenting with this kind of thing. I’ve been using a parasol in the sun. I mean that’s on the same level. Do you have a “shame meal” or a “sad meal”?
Sometimes I feel like it’s all shame meals because I have this strong sense that I really should be vegan, or at least not eat so much meat all the time. I tried and just can’t do it. I’ve tasted the blood and now my body wants blood. I don’t know what to say. I guess I also feel bad about not cooking because I feel like I ought to cook, and my brothers both cook, my mum’s an amazing cook. I’ve tasted the blood and now my body wants blood. Well, it’s all about how you want to spend your time.
Well exactly, and I’m very busy. But the shame meals are so frequent. I’d say McDonald’s is not a proud moment but it’s so regular around here that the shame just has no sting to it. Just to give you an example of what I mean by “shame meal” and to alleviate your shame: I’ve been doing this thing where I’ll just put shredded cheese in a little bowl and just melt that and then eat that.
Do I have a thing like that ? It’s ok if you don’t.
I’m thinking. Do I? Yeah, not really. See? There’s some moderation here. Because even though I know that in a lot of the big, regular ways that I’m supposed to be controlling in my diet, I’m not. But in little ways it seems in control because I’m not doing stuff like that. But I love that for you. Thank you so much. Are you a burger person?
Yeah. I like a good burger. It’s not my everyday thing but that’s a good hangover meal for me. Do you have a strong cheese preference?
I’d say cheddar or pepper jack depending on what the burger is. Do you like a thin burger or a thicker one?
Probably a thicker one, because I like it kind of medium rare. That doesn’t seem to happen with thin burgers. What about french fries?
I love sweet potato. Those are the fries I like. They’re my fave. Almost everyone says the fast food McDonald’s-style french fry. I appreciate the variety in answer.
Oh, really? I’m not exactly a fan of the McDonald’s fries. The hash browns are amazing, but the fries I could kind of take or leave. Do you go to diners ever?
It’s kind of a historical part of Baltimore’s culture, actually. I like going to diners especially if it’s late at night or something. Do you have a go-to diner order?
It depends on the time of day. I’ll get a burger if it’s late at night, but I love breakfast at diners. That’s my favourite. Pancakes, eggs, sausages, coffee. Yeah, that’s my favourite. You feel like you’re in a David Lynch movie or something, sitting in a diner drinking coffee. I just have some kind of like primordial American association. Speaking of American food: Do you eat hot dogs or corn dogs?
The best hot dog is the Chicago-style hot dog. Which is—what do they call it?—“dragged through the garden” or some expression like that. And it’s a hot dog on a poppy seed bun, with sliced tomato, a pickle, mustard, no ketchup, these things called “ballpark peppers”—these are little green peppers. I think that’s really good. Corn dogs? I guess I do like them. It’s kind of a joke in my videos—there’s a video where I eat like 16 of them in a sitting. The only good way to get a corn dog is at carnival. I’ll buy the freezer ones as props for my videos, but I’m not satisfied by a microwaved corn dog. It’s not really my vibe. They don’t get properly crunchy on the outside.
You want that freshly deep-fried batter. You’re eating a piece of over-processed meat dipped in funnel cake batter—that experience is what I want. I’m not satisfied by a microwaved corn dog. It’s not really my vibe. I do remember reading an article about this ballerina who ate microwaved corn dogs for breakfast.
I remember that too! And I actually started eating corn dogs because of that! Because what I saw was a video where she talked the jouranlist through her diet , and it started with her doing stretches in the morning, eating a corn dog and I was like “now that’s my breakfast.” It’s not actually, because I don’t like them that much, but it kind of awakened me to the idea of microwaved corn dogs. I think it was like “You can eat a corn dog for breakfast and look like that ? I know this doesn’t make sense because I’m not a professional dancer but, I don’t know, it still had a visual impact. Speaking of videos, and stuff that’s in your videos: Do you actually drink Champagne?
Yes. It’s my favourite thing to drink. That’s not a pretense for the videos. I drink it on a regular basis, not just as a celebratory thing. It’s still my favourite. Do you have a favourite producer?
If we’re talking “Let’s drink because it’s Thursday”—my everyday is Freixenet Brut , which is a cava, not a Champagne. It’s like eleven dollars. It’s really good. And then my favourite “special occasion” one is Moët , just whatever the regular one is—the Imperial Brut. Because it’s like fifty five dollars a bottle I could never afford it until a few years ago when I played Pokémon on a livestream and made two hundred dollars. That’s the first thing I bought with my Pokémon money. It felt pretty good. Have you tried Veuve Clicquot?
Yeah! I’ve tried that, and I do like that a lot. I know a lot of people like it more than Moët, but I don’t. I think because Moët is more buttery or something and Veuve is more citrusy. That’s just my amateur taste description. I’m not a big wine person, so I’ll just get whatever my snobby wine friends get.
Oh yeah. I’m like that too with most wines. I do have snobby wine friends who I just defer to their opinion because they know more than me, but with sparkling wine—from pure habit of drinking it so much—I have opinions. I forget which video it was where you said something about drinking Prosecco “like a peasant,” but I liked that.
Oh, that was “The Apocalypse” where I had this one character who’s just a lazy, horrible, climate change-denying person in the bath, drinking a bottle of Moët. I related to that character a lot.
I related to her too. The only way I can think of to make a character that’s relatable is to find something in myself and put it there in isolation or exaggeration. I totally don’t understand the people who are just like “well the science is just wrong somehow,” but what I do understand is laziness, and hedonism . I can understand completely not wanting to do anything about climate change or factory farming or whatever. I completely understand that. And so that’s the only way I can think of to make this character have something sympathetic about her, because that person is totally a big part of me. Are you a dessert person?
Sort of no, in that I eat dessert less than most people, I think. I usually won’t get it at restaurants. That said, I love anything chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate whatever—I just love chocolate. Do you like a dark chocolate or a milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate is the best. I’m really into like any kind of chocolate with salt in it.
I love that. I’ll take a chocolate bar and I’ll take Maldon and just…
Put the salt on the chocolate…that’s such a good idea. Or on ice cream. Salt on ice cream is actually really good.
Oh yeah. I tend to not eat that much ice cream because, again, that’s one of the few areas, for some reason, where I put my foot down and am like “Eh! Calories!” But I recently had all this facial surgery, and my jaw was operated on, so it was swollen and I couldn’t eat solid foods very well for two weeks. And getting enough calories was a problem, suddenly, so I was eating a bunch of ice cream and I got into an ice cream habit. It’s been hard to kick, now that I’ve gotten used to it. Do you have a favourite flavour or brand?
Ben and Jerry’s is the best that you can get in most stores. God, the one that I just can’t stop it with is Phish Food because of the marshmallows—the marshmallows and little chocolates, and the caramel. If you get a spoonful that has the caramel and the marshmallow and the chocolate, it turns into this gooey—ugh, it’s so good. There’s so much variety of texture within a single flavour. I recently tried switching to a Halo Top, but I just don’t really see the point. I haven’t tried that stuff. What does it taste like?
It doesn’t really taste like ice cream. It tastes like some kind of frozen, fibrous, air-puffed snack that’s sort of related to ice cream. I can see eating it if you’re like, “I really need to eat ice cream right now. My body is demanding it but I really don’t want to eat that many calories, so I guess I’ll settle for this.” And then you’re sort of going through the motions of eating ice cream without the sense of pleasure. It’s like smoking CBD oil when what you really want is weed.
Summer Festivals in RVA
Summer festivals in Richmond, Virginia give us a chance to get to know another culture, eat delicious food, hear live music and see our fellow RVA residents in all their diversity. Go to urban intersections, parks, rivers, church yards and breweries to take in the sights and enjoy the balmy, and sometimes steamy, weather. Enjoy!
Festival of the Arts at the Dogwood Dell Byrd Park – With its eclectic mix of old and new, the Festival of Arts has become one of Richmond’s cultural treasures. Through our programming, the Festival of Arts strives to bring the Richmond community some of the most innovative and avant-garde performers, while also respecting the value and importance of traditional and classical works. Throughout June, July, and August, a variety of shows can be enjoyed at the “Dell” including classical music and dance; drama, comedy, and musical theatre; reggae, pop, swing, rhythm and blues, rock, jazz and contemporary music concerts. The Festival of Arts is flavored for every taste. Come early for a seat in the amphitheatre or bring a blanket to sit in the surrounding park.
The Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall is a treasured part of Quill Theatre’s season, and a truly unique experience in Richmond. Come see ‘Shakespeare Under the Stars’, where we perform some of the Bard’s finest work in the courtyard of an authentic Tudor home built in the 15th century and brought over from Lancashire, England in 1926. The grounds of Agecroft Hall open at 6pm for pre-show picnickers. Feel free to bring a blanket and a picnic dinner, and enjoy the beautiful gardens surrounding Agecroft, as well as the spectacular view from the Bluff. As you dine, members of Lord Moxley’s Players, the Festival Young Company, will stroll the grounds and entertain you with Shakespearean monologues, sonnets, and songs. Runs end of May to end of July. At Agecroft Hall, 4305 Sulgrave Rd., Richmond, VA 23221
13 July – RVA Reggae JERK Festival – Brown’s Island – music, food, crafts
13 July – Festival de Musica – 1-4pm – Chesterfield County’s Bensley Community Recreation Center presents Festival de Música. Featuring Plena music by Kadencia, Bomba dancing lessons by Semilla Cultural, Salsa lessons by The Salsa Guy, and music by DJ Peluche. This event also includes food trucks and vendors. Free fun for all ages. Bring your lawn chairs and come ready to eat, learn, dance, and sing.
12 & 13 July – Hanover Tomato Festival – From tomatoes to talented musicians, tomato pies to fried green tomatoes, artisans to agricultural vendors, bow-wow beach to the MaterFUN zone, this event is uniquely Hanover! Presented by Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Mechanicsville Local and Hanover County Parks and Recreation, this is the 40th anniversary of Hanover’s signature event. Visit www.hanovertomatofestival.com for entertainment schedule, vendor list, food vendors and their signature tomato cuisine. Pole Green Park Ln. Mechanicsville, VA 23116
(Check back for more July listings as festivals are announced.)
August (Check back for exact dates as they are announced.)
The St. Elizabeth Catholic Church Jazz & Food Festival , presented by St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, is a community event that blends traditional and contemporary jazz with great food in a Christian, family-oriented atmosphere. It is through fundraising events such as the Jazz and Food Festival, that St. Elizabeth Catholic Church supports its parish ministries and provides outreach to its parishioners as well as members of the Highland Park Community. 2712 2 nd Ave. Richmond, VA 23222 – Stliz3c.com
BrewHaha Virginia Craft Beer Festival – In the spirit of Virginia Craft Beer Month, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture will host its second annual “BrewHaHa” craft beer festival, featuring selections from 10 Virginia breweries and 2 Virginia cideries, live music, food, and more. VirginiaHistory.org/Beer
Festival San Agustin – Carnival rides, Hispanic food, Latin music, crowning of a queen, princess. St. Augustine Catholic Church, 4400 Beulah Rd. Richmond, VA 23237 http://staugustineparish.net/greatfestival.htm
Filipino Festival , Live music, line dancing, cultural performances, traditional food Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 8200 Woodman Rd. Henrico, VA 23228
Richmond International Dragon Boat Festival . teams from across the eastern seaboard and beyond travel to join local crews for a fun day of dragon boat festivities on and off the water. Rocketts Landing is located at 4708 East Old Main Street, Richmond VA 23231 – http://www.gwndragonboat.com/Default.asp?id=richmond&l=1
Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont . Jazz giants. R&B and pop legends. Funk royalty. Retro-futuristic virtuosos. This RJF lineup is one for the books. 1700 Hampton St. Richmond, VA 23220 – richmondjazzfestival.com
Carytown Watermelon Festival – Over 3000 watermelons and you! With 80 musicians, over 100 exhibitors, one of the largest kids areas of any festival on the east coast and all of the great Carytown style. http://carytownrva.org/watermelon-festival.html
28 th Annual Down Home Family Reunion , A Celebration of African American. weekend festival of world music and dance, a Heritage Market, children’s events, interactive site demonstrations & down home healthy food. This is one of the Elegba Folklore Society’s original programs created in 1990 to connect aspects of West African cultural traditions with African Americans and to show their influence on the American South. Bringing the world home, audiences are exposed to the artistic expressions of African world cultures in a lively, colorful and informing celebration of heritage and light.
Latin Jazz & Salsa Festival – Oasis Broadcasting Network, Master and Sons Plumbing, Ritmo Caribe Promotions, and Richmond Soul are proud to present the 11th Annual Latin Jazz & Salsa Festival at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, Byrd Park in Richmond Virginia on Saturday August 25, 2018 from 3pm–8pm. Featured performers in this year’s festival will be VAN LESTER (Tribute to Hector Lavoe), JOHNNY LOVE, WANDA LOPEZ (LA VOZ DE ORO), RAFAEL ORTIZ Y SU ORQUESTA TUMBAO URBANO, ADRIAN GARCIA’S LATIN JAZZ QUINTET, and DJ EDDY MAYORGA. Join your host from The Latin Jazz Show & Salsa Show, Luis “Sweet Lou” Hidalgo as he takes you on a ride into the rhythmical world of Latin Jazz & Salsa.
Chesterfield County Fair at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds. Live music, carnival rides, a petting zoo, tasty fair treats, a parade, and much more.
September (Check back for exact dates as they are announced.)
Armenian Food Festival , 834 Pepper Ave, Richmond, VA 23226. Join St. James Armenian Church for the 59th annual Armenian Food Festival. Experience one of Richmond’s oldest cultural festivals. Delicious food, wine and beer, Armenian music, and dancers. Gift shop of items straight from Armenia. Tour the beautiful church and learn more about the Armenian Orthodox religion.
Northside Big Tent Community Festival – In Tune with the Northside: Celebrating its History and People. The Richmond Northside Festival 2018, In Tune with the Northside: Celebrating its History and People, in conjunction with the Richmond Symphony, seeks to showcase talented artists, outstanding school programs and exceptional community groups during a one day festival to be held September 8, 2018 in Bryan Park. This festival will feature the Richmond Symphony’s state-of-the art mobile stage known as the “Big Tent” and will include a variety of music, dance, theater performances, art exhibits, booths, food trucks, and other creative activities. Bryan Park, 4308 Hermitage Road, Richmond, VA 23227
Hispanic Parade and Festival , Hispanic American School for Advancement HASA,brings the community together as part of celebrating Latino Heritage month. Entertainment, games, live music and food. Broad Rock Park
Pickled & Fermented Festival . The Artisan Pickles club hosts an annual Pickled & Fermented festival – a celebration of all things pickled and fermented! Pickled fruit, pickled veggies, hot sauce, kimchi, BEER, Kombucha, live music from a local band, a pickle themed beer … if it’s pickled or fermented, they’re celebrating it! Hosted by Artisan Pickles and Center of the Universe Brewing. Center of the Universe Brewing Co. 11293 Air Park Rd., Ashland, VA – http://www.cotubrewing.com – http://www.artisanpickles.com/
Indo-Sri Lankan Food Festiva l 2018 – authentic Indian and Sri Lankan Cuisines prepared fresh on site! FREE Admission, FREE Parking & FREE LIVE Music. 10509 Greenwood Rd. Glen Allen, VA 23059-4687
Gallmeyer Farms Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch , 4506 Millers Lane, Richmond VA 23231 FREE VISITS TO JUMPING BUNNY BOUNCE HOUSE, FREE admission. Free Parking with free hayride shuttle. Fresh fall vegetables and mums for sale at The Veggie Stand. Live music. Craft vendors & local businesses. Hay rides & pony rides. Activities for all ages. Food vendors. Coolers, chairs & picnics welcome
Festival of India at the Greater Richmond Convention Center
October (Check back for exact dates as they are announced.) 2nd Street Festival , The 2nd Street Festival in historic Jackson Ward neighborhood features four stages of live music over two days. Over the years, it has grown to be one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest street festivals.
The Richmond Folk Festival embraces the heritage and traditions of all Americans. Legendary masters and the next generation of dynamic young artists will celebrate the musical soul and cultural roots of America on many stages of continuous music and dance. World-class artisans, countless varieties of ethnic foods and a Family Area ensures there’s something for every taste and every age! The Richmond Folk Festival will engage the entire community, bringing together diverse groups and drawing visitors from across the country.
SuperFutureDesign* brings New York chef Todd English’s Dubai Mall food hall to life
Todd English Published: 11 July 2019 – 8:10 a.m.
Seven cooking stations each with a bespoke culinary-inspired style have been created by SuperFutureDesign* for the à la mode Todd English food hall in Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue.
The boutique design practice has created a contemporary and modern branch for US celebrity chef Todd English’s food hub in the recently-expanded Fashion Avenue.
A façade of black and olive green with golden signage gives way to a spacious lobby shaped in multiple curved lines. This is where the cafeteria and sweet treats section can be found. The section is closed by the Deli market, a food-to-go unit within the wider food hall.
At the heart of the space are seven cooking stations, each inspired by one of the seven cuisines: ocean grill, pasta and pizza, sushi, noodles and dumplings, grilled meats, Arabic, and Indian.
The entire space occupies an area of more than 1,000m² with indoor and al fresco dining, offering views of the Burj Khalifa, Souk Al Bahar and the Dubai Fountain.
SuperFutureDesign* uses homely and warm décor to give the food hall a familial sense of place.
Simple marble flooring is made fun and interesting with a mosaic pattern.
Wood panelling accentuates the corners and joints of the dining space, while tainted glass portrays a distinctly London-esque aesthetic. This is important as the urban food served up at this fashionable spot is designed to appeal to a young and stylish crowd.
SuperFutureDesign* has cooked up something special for Tood English and everyone else who loves Fashion Avenue.