Posts tagged ‘gourmet’

Are Plush Puffs Just A Bunch Of Fluff?

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the good people at Plush Puffs about test driving, so to speak, their new product.  Of course I said sure and they sent a sample of three different flavors: Vanilla Bean, Caramel Swirl and Chocolate Chipetta. So what did I think?

Vanilla Bean: Magical! An absolute delight straight out of the box. The vanilla bean flavor is robust and exotic.

Caramel Swirl: A bit of a disappointment. The caramel looked pretty but had no flavor. It tasted like a really good marshmallow but little else.

Chocolate Chipetta: OMG! The crunch of the tiny chips against the cloud-like texture of the puff is exactly what I look for in a dessert. I’d rather eat two or three of these little puffs than the best chocolate cake on earth. Of course I’m not a big dessert guy.

These puffs are a great innovation. I can only imagine what they would do to smores or hot cocoa.  Here’s what famed pastry chef Warren Brown had to say about them on his show Sugar Rush:


October 12, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Goodbye, Gourmet, You Will Be Missed

It isn’t like the news was unexpected. Condé Nast, Gourmet’s parent company, hired McKinsey & Company to perform a productivity study of the publishing giant’s operations three months ago.  With things so grim in the publishing industry speculation was high that the hammer would fall on some of the second tier periodicals like Cookie and Modern Bride and more than likely either Gourmet or the other foodie magazine, Bon Appétit.  But what is shocking is the big money was on BA being the odd magazine out as Gourmet was the oldest food magazine in the nation having been published since January 1941.

Understandably, the news was still not well received by Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl as is evidenced from her Tweet from today, “Thank you all SO much for this outpouring of support. It means a lot. Sorry not to be posting now, but I’m packing. We’re all stunned, sad.”  No word as to the future of her new PBS series Gourmet’s Adventures With Ruth, but it is safe to say that with her resumé she’ll find another gig.

Condé Nast has suggested the popular recipe site (digital alter ego of Gourmet) is safe.  Twitter has been all a buzz about the closing of the popular magazine especially among those in the food writing business like Tampa Tribune food writer Jeff Houck who tweeted, “True/Slant: ‘This is Condé Nast looking @ Gourmet & saying, this business doesn’t work, but we don’t know how to fix it, so we’ll close it.”

Renowned food writer Michael Ruhlman also weighed in via Twitter saying, “how incredibly sad, gourmet to cease publication” and adding, “surely the superb site,, will not shut down.”

On the subject of the Gourmet Institute, Condé Nast has released the following:

As you may have heard, Condé Nast announced the closing of Gourmet magazine. Unfortunately, this means that Condé Nast is no longer able to produce the Gourmet Institute, and thus all session(s) of the Gourmet Institute have been cancelled.

If you have already bought tickets to Gourmet Institute sessions, we will refund to your credit card all amounts paid to Condé Nast for your tickets.

We are sorry for this inconvenience. Please be assured that these steps were not taken lightly.

If you have any questions regarding your tickets, please call 1.866.811.4111.

October 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm

2009 Food Trends

Originally published at Paper Palate on February 23, 2009.

We are nearly one-sixth of the way through 2009 so now is a good time to examine some of the emerging trends in the culinary world.  As a reference I will use two publications geared towards opposite ends of the table, so to speak.

Gourmet is aimed at the consumer.  Acting sort of as a liaison between those preparing the meals and those consuming them, Gourmet is one of the heavy hitters in the publishing world.  Conversely, Cooking for Profit is a trade magazine published by the Gas Foodservice Equipment Network and is intended solely for the restaurant industry.

In their 2009 food & travel predictions, Gourmet suggests that amuse-bouche (complimentary hors d’œuvres) will increase in popularity.  The report cites one chef in particular, Doug Keane of Cyrus in Heldsburg, CA who gives up to a half dozen tasty morsels to his guests.  Also among their prognostications is a growing interest in yogurts from ruminants other than cows and with it will come a boon in small artisan yogurt brands.

For their part the folks at Cooking for Profit forecast an uptrend in the use of single-bite desserts.  The more that non-foodies learn about the overall benefits of locally sourced produce and sustainable seafood the more they will demand it from their favorite eatery so both are also en vogue.

Both publications are in accord that American parents are finally thinking about their children’s wellbeing by requesting healthy kid’s meals.  According to Cooking for Profit nutritional children’s dishes are one of the top five trends in the restaurant industry this year.  At the same time Gourmet reports that school districts around the nation are reducing the amount of fats (especially trans fats), sodium and sugar in their cafeterias.

However, the two publications take opposing stances on the consumer’s desire for original and complex cocktails.  Gourmet expects a “mixology backlash” after years of quirky Martinis and molecular concoctions.  They believe the consumer is ready for a simple adult beverage.  On the otherhand, Cooking for Profit is predicting that signature cocktails will be the alcohol trends of the year.  But both seem to think the furture looks good for micro-distillers.

Another point that both magazines feel will dominate the 2009 restaurant scene is the economy, or lack there of.  Both agree that restaurants large and small will be offering discounts, incentives and gimics to get people in the door.  That is great news for the customer that can muster the cash to go out.

February 24, 2009 at 12:41 pm

ICA: Flay vs. Cardoz

IRON CHEF AMERICA: Flay vs. Cardoz
Premieres: Sunday, September 7th at 9PM
Chef Floyd Cardoz of Tabla New York enters Kitchen Stadium to challenge Iron Chef Bobby Flay.  Tabla opened in 1998 in New York’s Flatiron District overlooking Madison Square Park and features what Chef Cardoz calls his New Indian cuisine.  At Table, diners can either enjoy the Indian infused New America dishes on the menu of the Dining Room or the Indian comfort food at the Bread Bar.  The restaurant has been featured in Forbers, Gourmet, and the New Yorker among others.

For a little background on Chef Cardoz here is his bio from the Tabla web site:

Floyd Cardoz is the Executive Chef of Tabla, a groundbreaking restaurant serving New Indian cuisine cooked with the sensual flavors and spices of his native land. Floyd opened Tabla in 1998 with famed restaurateur Danny Meyer and chef Michael Romano of Union Square Cafe. For years the Bombay native had searched for an original way to showcase the aromatic flavors of his homeland. Now, at the helm of Tabla, Floyd seasons Western cuisine with Indian spices and soul in the restaurant’s main dining room, and also cooks home-style Indian fare in the restaurant’s Bread Bar. Floyd’s preparation for Tabla has been extensive and intense. His determination to become an accomplished chef is perhaps best exemplified by the 1984 summer internship he did during culinary school in Bombay. The moment he entered the kitchen of the Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel, he was handed a 100 kilo bag of onions to peel. Despite the daunting introduction to food service, Floyd remained a loyal apprentice to the famed hotel throughout school. Working six days a week from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. (at 150 rupees, or $3.00, a month), Floyd became adept in all areas of the kitchen.

To broaden his familiarity with classic culinary technique, Floyd moved to Switzerland. His days were spent at Les Roches, a Hotel Management and Culinary School in Bluche where he received his diploma in Hotel Restaurant Management and Administration. His evenings were continuously filled with cooking engagements in Italian, French and Indian establishments.

Ironically, it was his European training that instilled in Floyd a desire to begin experimenting with traditional Indian cuisines. The young visionary wanted to take European and American foods to new heights by enhancing these popular cuisines with Indian spices. Floyd returned to India, excited to unfold his plans, but found Indian restaurants resistant to many forward-thinking ideas. So Floyd moved to New York, where adventures in gastronomic matters were more celebrated.

After cooking for three years in America’s food hub, Floyd met a chef who shared his passion for infusing top-notch ingredients with exotic flavors. Gray Kunz, chef of New York’s venerable Lespinasse and the man Floyd credits as his mentor, welcomed the newcomer’s ideas. Kunz embraced the use of Indian spices in his own kitchen, where he had already pioneered a taste for Asian-influenced French foods. Floyd rose from Chef de Partie to Executive Sous Chef during his five years at the world-famous restaurant. “When I arrived at Lespinasse, there were only four Indian spices in the cabinet,” he recalls. “When I left, we had incorporated over twenty-five.”

As Floyd explains, mastering Indian flavors is no small feat. There are literally hundreds of derivatives of Indian cuisine, due to the many states, religions and cultures that make up the Indian sub-continent. At Tabla, Floyd has the opportunity to cook the many cuisines found in the various regions throughout India.

With Floyd at the helm, Tabla has received many accolades from the media including The New York Times – Three stars, Bon Appetit “Our Favorite Places: Asian,” Gourmet – “Personal Favorite” and Reader’s Choice, Best Newcomer (NY), Time Out New York – Best Indian (1999-2002), Forbes Magazine (Three stars), and New York Daily News – Four stars. In addition, Bon Appetit named Floyd as one of “The Innovators” in its 2003 Annual Restaurant Edition.

Floyd uses much of his free time exploring new dishes from his native country. But when he’s not experimenting, he can be found spending time with his wife, Barkha, and two sons, Peter and Justin.

September 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Literary Tapas

Originally posted at Paper Palate on August 12, 2008.


Small dishes from the realm where paper meets palate.

This Literary Tapas is a video daily double.  Food Network star Anne Burrell gives video reviews of her two favorite cookbooks, Ruth Reichl’s The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes and Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.

August 17, 2008 at 12:02 am

Literary Tapas

Originally Posted by Paper Palate ( on April 11, 2008.

 A collection of small dishes from the realm where paper meets palate.

  • Who is Judith Jones? She is only the woman behind some of the most influential cookbooks of all time. Jones is not a chef or Food Network host. She is merely the editor for Marcella Hazan, Claudia Roden, Edna Lewis, Marion Cunningham, and Julia Child, to name a few. Ms. Jones has had a 50-year career editing the cookbooks that have transformed the American palate. At 83, she has published a memoir of her culinary work, The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food (Knopf).
  • Condé Nast releases the beta of TasteBook, a remarkable new site that allows you to compile your favorite recipes from partner sites like and Gourmet to make your own custom hardback cookbook of your favorites. You can even add your own recipes. Drop by for more information.
  • The new Bon Appetit has an article penned by Weber’s grilling guru Steven Reichlan that introduces readers to the foods of the Yucatan.  The article is fascinating and the recipes that accompany are spine-tingling. More importantly the article illustrates that Mexican food is more than crunchy tacos and refried beans. The entire issue is travel oriented, including articles about dining in Ireland, Morocco, and several for dining in France. Drop by the web site and add one of Reichlan’s recipes to your TasteBook collection.

July 4, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Meet Mary Nolan

So just who is Mary Nolan? She is a student at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. She is a journalist who has a degree from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and has worked at Gourmet. She is a foodie with Midwestern roots. Most notably, however, she is the new host of the Food Network’s Chic & Easy. Nolan’s life experience is inviable, she grew up in Davenport, Iowa, graduated from journalism school, lived for a semester in Florence, Italy, worked for a major magazine in the Big Apple, and now she is the host of a TV show. All by the age of 26!

The Food Network describes the show thusly, “Chic & Easy showcases the philosophy that successful entertaining results from mouth-watering menus and an eye towards stylish, welcoming atmospheres that don’t break the bank. With easy preparation, and flavorful food that wows time and again, Mary Nolan offers accessible and inspired solutions for the unforgettable occasion. Mary’s sophisticated yet simple meals are delicious, easy to prepare and hard to forget. Whether it’s through her practical approach to using local produce, showcasing a single splurge ingredient, or impressing guests with a unique flea-market find, get ready for the party, because Mary’s crowd-pleasing and affordable ideas make entertaining your friends Chic & Easy.”

It sounds a little like Christopher Lowell and Sandra Lee got tossed into a blender with a copy of the Joy of Cooking (Simon & Schuster). According to the Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), Nolan had auditioned for a TFN reality show (Next Food Network Star) but the officials thought so much of her video that they offered her a gig. I would love to see that video. For now check out TFN’s resident blogger Adam Roberts hanging out with Mary at a charity event in Las Vegas.

Chic and Easy premiered Sunday, May 18th at 9:30AM (ET) on the Food Network.

June 5, 2008 at 9:25 am 3 comments

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."



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