Bittman discovers the Instant Pot

 Instant Pot

Few kitchen gadgets have taken the world by storm as the Instant Pot and its derivatives. Many online forums have sprung up for recipes and advice. Most of the chatter online has been peer-to-peer, but that's about to change. Many of the food world's heavyweights, including Mark Bittman, have become enamored with the IP.

Bittman recently posted four new recipes made especially for the Instant Pot - can a book be far behind? The four recipes are updated takes on classic dishes: caldo verde, shrimp scampi, sticky glazed ribs, and choucroute garni. While some of these recipes may not seem well-suited to the IP, Bittman asks us to trust him. 

Of the shrimp scampi recipe, he notes that using the IP allows for the dish to be less greasy than its traditional counterpart. If you think that the texture of the shrimp might suffer, Bittman dispels the notion. "The texture is such a pleasant surprise," he says. "You'd think the shrimp might be tough or mushy but it's firm, tender, and briny."

With more food writers discovering the benefits of the Instant Pot, we can look forward to more and even better cookbooks for the device and its relatives. 

James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists


The James Beard Foundation has just announced its 2018 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists. The list recognizes the best new restaurants, established restaurants, chefs, bakers, and bar programs across the United States. Many of the chefs on the list have written outstanding cookbooks, including Hugh AchesonJoanne ChangAshley ChristensenRenee EricksonGabrielle HamiltonDavid KinchDonald Link Vikram SunderamJody WilliamsVivian Howard and Alex Stupak

According to Eater, this year the JBF added a new criteria regarding chef behavior for judges to consider when choosing semifinalists this year. In correspondence sent to judges earlier this year, the JBF said "If you have concerns about a chef, restaurateur or beverage professional, or about the culture around a restaurant or restaurant group, leave the person or business out of your nominations."

In mid-March, the JBF will winnow this "long list" down to a shorter list of nominees, and also announce the nominees for Media and Restaurant Design Awards. The nominees will be live-tweeted during an event that is being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 14. Once the cookbook award nominees are announced, we will provide a list for you just as we did for the IACP 2018 Nominees. You can see the complete list of JBF Restaurant and Chef semifinalists on the James Beard Foundation website.

A special treat for an Olympic medalist

 David Chang and Chloe Kim

A few days ago we reported on what it's like to eat in the Olympic Village. We've learned a bit more since that post, especially some interesting details about one Olympic athlete's eating preferences, through an article from The Washington Post and an Instagram post from chef David Chang. 

Chang posted a photo of the special creation he made for gold medal winner Chloe Kim: a churro ice cream sandwich. Chang assembled the concoction after learning that Kim was a fan of churros, ice cream, and sandwiches. Chang's Instagram post, pictured above, was captioned "Surprised  @chloekimsnow after her big win yesterday with churro ice cream sandwiches. Made in basically five minutes with pizza dough we found in the cafeteria because she loves churros, sandwiches, and ice cream. Proud of team [USA]."

The 17-year-old Kim definitely prefers junk food to fine dining, judging from her social media posts, chronicled by The Washington Post. Kim has posted photos of her driving with her father to grab an In-and-Out burger, enjoys Flamin' Hot Cheetos so much that she had some shipped to New Zealand while training there, and has claimed that churros are a good antidote to nervousness. 

Life after GBBO

Ruby Tandoh Eat UpRuby Tandoh rocketed to stardom at the tender age of 20 as a contestant on The Great British Bake Off. Her creative approach to baking and outsized personality quickly made her a fan favorite. Now 25, Tandoh has just published her third cookbook, Eat Up!: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want. She recently sat down with The Wall Street Journal to discuss the book along with her culinary career

While Tandoh states that she doesn't know where her career would be now without the GBBO, she does know that it would involve food. She became interested in cooking during college, where she turned to baking cakes to stave off boredom. 

In the article, Tandoh discusses many of her favorite things, including ingredients, cookware, and kitchen gadgets. When asked what food trend she was totally over, Tandoh replied "macho stuff." She went on to explain, "It happens with so many things. Suddenly guys want credit for reviving the art of baking, and something historically feminized and devalued is rebranded as masculine and artful." Read the entire interview with the outspoken Tandoh on the WSJ website

David Chang's 'Ugly Delicious' debuts soon on Netflix

MomofukuMomofuku founder David Chang is not content to rest on his laurels. In addition to continually coming up with new restaurant concepts and opening new eateries, the multi-dimensional chef is venturing back into television. Starting February 23, his new show called 'Ugly Delicious' begins streaming on Netflix

For the eight-part series, Chang is teaming up with Morgan Neville, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, who serves as director and executive producer. The shows feature Chang dining and talking with a hodgepodge of chefs, artists, writers, and celebrities. Some of the guests include Ruth Reichl, Fuchsia Dunlop, René Redzepi, and Jimmy Kimmel. The conversations explore concepts of identity and authenticity through the lens of comfort foods. 

The name for the program comes from #uglydelicious, the  hashtag that frequently appears on Chang's Instagram posts. The term is used as a rebuttal to the manicured and artfully-composed food photographs that dominate the social media feeds of chefs, bloggers, and food writers. Chang believes that food doesn't have to be beautiful to be delicious. "I've just reached a point where I'm okay making really ugly food," he says.

Online options for connecting through food

Let's face it, we are all stretched for time whether it be family, work or any number of responsibilies which limit the opportunity to go out and do something just for ourselves. Exploding all over social media lately are online options that allow us to participate without leaving our home (and even watch at a later time or date).

Can't take a cooking class IRL (in real life), chefs and authors are bringing themselves into our homes via Facebook live, Craftsy classes and other mediums. Today, I will share a few of those options and if you know of others to add to this list, please leave a comment here or email me at jenny at eatyourbooks dot com.

Gabriele Corcos has a new Cook-Along Facebook Live series: CounterTalk Live. Episode 4 will be this Tuesday and is a pizza party cook-along featuring recipes from his first book, Extra Virgin, Recipes and Love from our Tuscan Kitchen. Download the recipes, shop for your ingredients this weekend and be ready to cook along Tuesday. You can find out more at the CounterTalk Live website and on Gabriele's Facebook page for this series. A link to the recipes are included in the emails you will receive once you subscribe. Tuesday's recipes are (and are available for download):  

Don't forget to enter our contest for Gabriele's new title, Super Tuscan which is open to US members until February 6th at midnight.

Katie Workman
and Robin Miller  have launched their new cooking show through Craftsy entitled Real Life Cooking and the first episode can be viewed free! More information on the show from the Craftsy site: "As food celebs and cookbook authors, Katie and Robin appreciate fancy food but, as working mothers, they also appreciate the need to just get dinner on the table. Watch these two serve up practical ways - leftover makeovers, ground beef transformations - almost anyone can get a fast, easy and delicious dinners on the table in no time flat. Sit back and get inspired as these zany hosts approach cooking with a dash of practicality and a heaping scoop of humor."

Craftsy has many cooking and baking classes available from our favorite chefs and authors including Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Rick Rodgers, Gesine Prado and many more.

Mouth Full? A food storytelling show with snacks… sometimes will be a Facebook live series featuring personal stories that have a food or beverage element. The show is open to anyone with a food story. The first show is scheduled for February 22nd with 6 wonderful storytellers: a chef, a cookbook author, a food-travel blogger/influencer, comedian, and two professional storytellers in the first show.. Find out more on their Facebook page linked above and at the website.

Cook the Book with Denise and Jenni
is a cook-along Facebook show that I have mentioned here at EYB before. Recipes from certain cookbooks are featured and the authors of those cookbooks cook with Jenni Field of Pastry Chef Online. The Facebook audience can cook along as well. Find out more here

is a new platform for cooking together (Asha Shivakumar the author of Masala & Meatballs will be celebrating her cookbook with Mavencook in an event in San Franscisco on February 10th). Mavencook brings interactive cooking workshops from around the world directly to you. When I have more information I will provide it. 

Last year, we featured a few of our favorite podcasts including Level Teaspoon and Cookery by the Book. In  2016, Darcie compiled a helpful list of podcasts for us that were available at that time. 

And don't forget we have our two cookbook clubs The Eat Your Books Cookbook Club and the EYB Cooking through Ottolenghi's Sweet - that you can join. The Cookbook Junkies is also a group where one can share their passion for cookbooks as is the forum here. 

What do you think about this new trend? Any other online options that we should know about?





Celebrity chefs among those who purchased fake Twitter followers

Michael Symon & Paul Hollywood

In today's world, having a large social media following can provide leverage to land you a job or provide a steady income. If you are looking to write a cookbook, for example, publishers will want to see that you have thousands of people following you. Social media 'influencers' make money by promoting products to those who follow them.

It used to be that these followers grew organically, through friends of people who "liked" or "followed" someone, or by paying for a promoted post so more people would see your posts and perhaps take action. But more recently, people have been purchasing followers (usually bots), especially on Twitter, where the regulations against buying followers are rarely enforced. The New York Times just published an exposé on the practice, and noted that celebrity chefs were among those who purchased a large following

The article explained how the NYT could determine whether someone's followers were real people or purchased bots. The bots are usually based on the accounts of actual users, featuring photos and other information stolen from the real person's profile, with just a letter or two changed in the name. 

Chef Michael Symon, who has appeared on several Food Network programs and is a co-host of the daytime talk show The Chew, apparently bought about two-thirds of his 990,000+ followers on Twitter. Other celebrities have done the same, for various reasons. Sometimes they are brand ambassadors and need larger followings to promote products, while others are looking to climb up the fame ladder.

Chef Symon thought it would help promote his brand: "I thought it would drive traffic," he told the NYT. "I thought it was going to be influencers and people in my field. It's embarrassing." Paul Hollywood also appears to have purchased a large Twitter following. After the NYT contacted him to inquire about his followers, he deleted the account. 

The cost of buying followers can be incredibly cheap - as little as 1 cent each. That makes it tempting for people to buy tens of thousands of followers in one fell swoop. In some cases the celebrity, business leader, or sports star  makes the purchase or authorizes it, but many times a publicist or marketing person does it without asking permission. 

It's unclear whether all of the purchasers knew that they were buying bots using stolen personal information. One company selling social media followers, Devumi, advertises that they "only use promotion techniques that are Twitter approved so your account is never at risk of getting suspended or penalized," according to its  website, making it seem like these are legitimate followers. For the most part, however, people seemed to know that they were getting bots, but the pressure to build a large social media following prompted them to do it anyway. 

Influential French chef Paul Bocuse dies at 91

Paul Bocuse cookbookPaul Bocuse, the French chef whose influence on the world of fine dining was incalculable, has died at the age of 91, according to the BBC. The chef is best known outside of his native France as the fouder of the Bocuse d'Or international cooking competition. 

Bocuse led the wave of chefs exploring what became known as nouvelle cuisine, a style of cooking that was much lighter and simpler than the traditional French cuisine, which relied on rich sauces. The chef's main restaurant, L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges, has had three Michelin stars since 1965, and Bocuse was named "chef of the century" by the Gault-Millau in 1989, and by the Culinary Institute of America in 2011.

In addition to helming his famous restaurant and creating the world's foremost chef competition, Bocuse influenced generations of chefs who worked under him. Culinary figures across the globe posted condolences on social media, including Parisian chef Cyril Lignac, who thanked the late chef for the "good times spent together, the advice, laughter and guidance, and for elevating our profession to a noble art".

René Redzepi prepares to open the new Noma

 Noma cookbooks

René Redzepi was living the dream: two Michelin stars plus many other accolades for a destination restaurant where you couldn't get a reservation for months. After sitting at or near the top of every worldwide restaurant ranking for several years, the chef closed the doors of Noma early last year and announced that he was moving the restaurant to a new location and completely revamping the menu. Why take such a risk? "Routine can be comforting, but it's also a killer for your creativity," Redzepi says. "It was time to change, not just the physical address but shedding off the old routine, moving into something new, building a small urban farm."

The new Noma will feature three menus, starting with seafood, rotating to vegetarian and then game. The restaurant will retain its focus on local, often foraged, ingredients and a Nordic sensibility. The new version of Noma is scheduled to open February 15. The first batch of reservations sold out in hours last November. Another around of reservations (for tables in May) opens at 4 p.m. local time on January 18.  Even though Redzepi has built the new space from the ground up, the restaurant only seats 40, plus about a dozen more in the private room. 

Although he is currently focused on opening the new Noma, Redzepi hasn't ruled out doing more popup restaurants. He has had incredibly well-received popups in Australia, Japan, and Mexico, but if you are waiting for one to come to the U.S. you'll have to be patient. The chef has no plans to come to the U.S. although he is eyeing other spots in Asia. 

Australia's top restaurants named

 Australian cookbooks

The Australian Good Food and Travel Guide (AGFG) has just announced its Chef Hat award winners for 2018. AGFC was the country's first national food guide and has celebrated over 40 years of reporting about Australia's best restaurants. 2018 sees 390 restaurants awarded Chef Hats around the country, down 18 from 2017. 

You can view the listings by number of Chef's Hats awarded, and you can also narrow your search to specific states. Although each state has at least a couple of restaurants, it's not surprising that New South Wales and Victoria dominate the rankings. The two top restaurants, Quay and Attica, each received 19 Chef Hats. Quay, located in Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal, is headed by chef Peter Gilmore, author of two cookbooks, Quay: Food Inspired by Nature and Organum. Melbourne's Attica is helmed by Ben Shewry, who wrote Origin.

Other notable entries with chef/authors include restaurant Brae in Birregurra, owned and led by Dan Hunter; Sydney's Momofuku Seiobo, opened by globetrotting chef David Chang; Melbourne's Vue de Monde, led by Shannon Bennett who has written several travel and cookbooks; Sepia Restaurant in Sydney, helmed by Martin Benn; and Tetsuya's, also located in Sydney and owned/operated by Tetsuya Wakuda

We haven't seen a book yet from Jock Zonfrillo, owner/operator of Adelaide's Orana, which received 17 Chef Hats and was listed among the World's 50 Best Restaurants. It seems the time would be ripe for Zonfrillo to write a cookbook, as it dovetails neatly with his mission to preserve the food heritage of Indigenous peoples.  Absent from the list, as is the case with many such lists, are women and people of color. 

Hat tip to EYB Member debkellie for alerting us to this announcement.

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