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Berry leaves GBBO; Hollywood remains

Mary Berry's Foolproof CookingIn an update to the drama surrounding The Great British Bake Off's move from BBC to Channel 4, host Mary Berry has announced that she will not be involved with the new show. However, Paul Hollywood has signed a three-year deal with the network, making him the only original host making the move.

Berry said that loyalty to the BBC, which had "nurtured her and the show", influenced her decision. Hollywood tweeted that he was "staying in the tent with the bakers where I belong" although he did thank the BBC and his co-hosts "for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding."

Opinion is divided on whether the GBBO will be successful without popular hosts Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins. Michael Grade, former BBC and ITV chairman, is one of the skeptics. "It's a huge gamble in my view," he said, noting that the chemistry between the hosts played a large role in the success of the show.  Others, like former contestant Tamal Ray, think the switch can be good. "About time there was a bit of a shake-up," says the ex-finalist.

Remembering Dorothy Cann Hamilton

A Chef's Story by Dorothy HamiltonOver the weekend, the culinary world lost one of its most influential, if not its most well known, members. Dorothy Cann Hamilton, 67, founder of the International Culinary Center (formerly known as the French Culinary Institute), died in an automobile accident on September 16

Hamilton founded ICC in 1984, as an extension of her family's mechanical trades education institute. First as FCI then as ICC, the intensive six-month program trained some of the US's most acclaimed chefs, including Bobby Flay, Wylie Dufresne, Christina Tosi, and David Chang. Hamilton was also the host of "Chef's Story," a public television program that profiled chefs. 

In 2015, she  received the Legion of Honor award from the French government for her work in promoting French cuisine in America, one of only a handful of Americans to receive the honor. Hamilton was also a former chairman for the James Beard Foundation. She is survived by her daughter, Olivia Hamilton. 

Exhibit on Ferran Adrià opens in Florida museum

 El Bulli cookbooks

His restaurant may be shuttered, but you can learn about the work of Ferran Adrià, from his groundbreaking el Bulli restaurant and beyond, in a new exhibit hosted by the Salvador Dalí museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. In an email Q&A, Bloomberg Business News asked Adrià to discuss the exhibit.

The museum will highlight Adrià's"culinary work from tabletop pieces and flatware he's designed to detailed notebooks he's kept throughout his cooking career." The exhibits appear juxtaposed with Dalí's food-focused paintings. This is the chef's final museum exhibition before he opens his much-anticipated culinary center at the site of the former elBulli restaurant in Roses, Spain. The center is set to open in 2018. 

The Q&A covers many topics, including which chefs Adrià feels best exemplify his cooking philosophy. When asked about whether the media emphasizes chefs too much, Adrià had this to say: "The chef as a rock star? It's as illogical as cooks being sports stars or actors, etc. In an ideal world, it would be much more relevant to be a scientist or someone who makes tangible contributions to society. But that's the way the world works."

The resurgence of Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri's pigs in the blankets

Guy Fieri's career has had its ups and downs, but the chef and television host is currently enjoying an upswing in popularity, says Grub Street, which chronicles his recent positive press. It's a bit of a turnaround for the colorful Fieri, who has been ridiculed by the likes of Anthony Bourdain and restaurant critic Pete Wells. But despite this, Fieri's show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - "Triple D" to fans - is enjoying a resurgence. 

Recent articles have praised Fieri's perceived populism. Esquire just published a story titled "The Unrecognizable Genius of Guy Fieri", and The New Yorker ran a similar piece called "The Accidental American Genius of Guy Fieri." Both stories emphasize that Fieri chooses to highlight everyday foods, not far-flung locations or exotic cuisine. Says Esquire's Jason Diamond, Fieri "takes every plate piled high with burgers and fries as seriously as you might an entry in the Bocuse d'Or. Simple food-diverse American Food, in all styles, made by Americans - is Fieri's rallying cry and religion."

While Grub Street agrees with the sentiment that good food doesn't have to be fussy or pretentious, the site doesn't think that it is the "genius" of Guy Fieri that has made his show so hugely popular. Rather, they posit that Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives isn't successful because of Fieri, but in spite of him, and that "Triple D" would benefit from a host that wasn't quite as flamboyant. However, that scenario looks as unlikely as a four-star review of Fieri's restaurant. 

Photo of Guy Fieri's pigs in spicy blankets from Food Network Magazine 

Thomas Keller's response to a bad review

 Thomas Keller cookbooks

One of the biggest negative restaurant reviews of the past year involved Thomas Keller's lauded New York City restaurant Per Se. Back in January, Pete Wells (who we discussed earlier this week) downgraded the establishment from four stars to only two. Chef Keller spoke with Town & Country Magazine on the fallout from that review and what the future holds for Per Se and his other restaurants

The bad review was a shock to Keller and stood in stark contrast to a long line of successful ventures for the chef. His iconic restaurant The French Laundry in Yountville, California, has been hailed as the best restaurant in the United States. Several Bouchon bistros and bakeries - in California, Las Vegas, and New York - have also done very well and received rave reviews. It's still difficult to get a reservation for The French Laundry over 20 years after it opened. 

Per Se opened to great reviews, and as recently as 2011 was named the best restaurant in the city. "It represents the ideal of an American high-culture luxury restaurant," Sam Sifton, then the NY Times restaurant critic, wrote. In 2016, however, Wells found "a slow creep of mediocrity and missed cues." Two weeks after the disastrous review, Keller wrote a letter of apology to diners. 

Several months later, he told Town & Country what he had learned from the experience. He admitted that he and his staff may have become complacent. "I learned that, maybe, as a team we were a little bit too arrogant, our egos too exposed," he said. Keller's strategy for fixing Per Se is simple: concentrate on winning people back "one guest at a time." He continues, "Our goal is for every one of them to walk out the door and say, 'What the hell was [Wells] talking about?'" 

An in depth look at a restaurant critic

 star ratings

A world class fine dining restaurant can live or die based on a poor review - especially when that review comes from a prestigious outlet like The New York Times. So what is it like to bear this level of responsibility - and should one person (or a very small group of people) be able to wield this much power? The answers to these questions and more are provided in a (very lengthy) article in The New Yorker about NYT restaurant reviewer Pete Wells.

When Wells first took over the job in 2012, he was often able to dine out anonymously. Now his photo hangs in restaurants across the city and waitstaff remain on the lookout for an appearance. Since his words can cause a once bustling establishment to become a veritable ghost town, it's no wonder the staff is keen to ensure that each dish is perfect and the service impeccable. When it isn't, and Wells reports on it, reputations can be tarnished and culinary empires threatened. 

Not everyone is happy that basically one person can hold a restaurant's fortune in his hands. Even Wells himself is uncomfortable with wielding that much power. He hates writing one star reviews, saying "The restaurants don't like them, and the readers don't like them. It's very tricky to explain why this place is good enough to deserve a review but not quite good enough to get up to the next level." He added, "I'm looking for places that I can be enthusiastic about. Like a golden retriever, I would like to drop a ball at the feet of the reader every week and say, 'Here!' "

While many people enjoy his column and the honesty of his reviews, he does have a few detractors. Among them is food writer Mimi Sheraton, who notes that a "lot of reviews now tend to be food features," referencing a review in which Wells discusses another person who was dining at the restaurant. Whether you agree with what Wells has to say or not, the article does provide an interesting perspective on the process and effects of restaurant criticism. 

Inside Eleanor Ozich's kitchen

 slow cooked lamb shanks

Eleanor Ozich is an Auckland-based author and blogger (petite-kitchen.com). As a child, she lived above her parents' Auckland restaurant and has always been a passionate foodie. She is a self-taught cook who has worked as a food writer and food stylist for Taste magazine, among others. She participated in a Q&A with Dale Berning Sawa, answering questions about her kitchen. This week she takes over The Guardian Cook Instagram account.

In the Q&A, Ozich describes her kitchen in a 1950's beach house as "light, airy and uncluttered." As you might expect from her blog's title, it isn't large but does open into the living areas. She enjoys spending time there, and thinks cooking should be a relaxing endeavor. Her culinary inspirations incude Nigel Slater and Amber Rose.

Ozich believes there is "a certain beauty to the rhythm of cooking. The gentle drum of a knife, slicing beetroot on an old wooden board, hot oil in the pan, sizzling and shimmering among fragrant herbs, onions and a little garlic. These are simple, beautiful moments, easily lost, but certainly not ordinary."

Photo of Slow-cooked lamb shanks with cinnamon & orange zest from My Family Table: Simple Wholefood Recipes from 'Petite Kitchen' by Eleanor Ozich

Carla Hall tells it like it is

Cooking with LoveTop Chef alumnus Carla Hall may have developed out a second career as a talk show host, but she's still a chef at heart. She's about to open a Brooklyn restaurant (although building delays have pushed back the date), and she has plans to write a third cookbook. She talks about all this and much more in an interview with Eater

When discussing her current gig, co-host of the daytime talk show The Chew, Hall noted that the show has just completed its 1,000th episode. When The Chew debuted in 2011, many critics didn't think it had staying power, but the charisma and camaraderie of the hosts, which include chef Mario Batali and Michael Symon in addition to Hall, helped it carve out a niche in the crowded field of talk shows. Hall credits the show's success to the collegiality of the hosts: "We became really fast friends, and I think that's the secret to our longevity: We are really friends."

Hall has written two cookbooks herself and is featured in several from The Chew. She told Eater that she is working on a third book with Genevieve Ko, who helped her write the first two. Don't expect to see the new book any time soon, as it is still in the early stages. The cookbook "is about the food of Africa and being very proud of it, but also looking at the everyday foods and not the celebration foods," says Hall. 

The mellowing of Anthony Bourdain

Anthony BourdainIt is difficult to believe it's been 16 years since Anthony Bourdain published his gritty, behind-the-scenes manifesto Kitchen Confidential. Since then, he has become an Emmy-winning television star, starring first in No Reservations, a show that transformed travel TV programs, and more recently in Parts Unknown. Now 60 years old, Bourdain has mellowed since he became an overnight sensation. A lengthy article in Nuvo Magazine chronicles how his life has changed in the past sixteen years.

For starters, Bourdain has become a family man, with wife Ottavia and Appetitesnine-year-old daughter, Ariane. "When I get to be a stay-at-home dad for a week here, a month there, I really take to it," he gushes. "It's an exotic activity for me, so I enjoy it probably much more than is healthy."

This fall, Bourdain will release his first cookbook in over a decade, called Appetites. While he has softened a bit around the edges, the book still contains evidence of Bourdain's raucous persona, from the ubiquitous use of the f-bomb to his emphatically stated opinions on various topics like the third slice of bread in a club sandwich or toasting only one side of the English muffin for eggs Benedict. "These are terrible food crimes!" he exclaims.

Bourdain also has strong words about most cookbooks. "Everyone lies in cookbooks," he complains. "That's why they're generally so frustrating. Nobody ever tells you, for instance, that you're going to screw up hollandaise. It's not gonna happen for you the first time. It takes professionals many repeated times."

Anthony Bourdain will be embarking on a North America tour in support of his new cookbook and we have the dates listed in our Cookbook Events Calendar.

Ina Garten's posh new kitchen

Ina GartenWe've all seen Ina Garten whipping up fabulous dishes in her spacious East Hampton kitchen. Now the television show host and prolific cookbook author has another grand kitchen, this time in her new apartment in New York City.

Ina and Jeffrey recently purchased the two-bedroom unit on the Upper East Side for $4.65 million. The real estate listing describes the kitchen as being "perfect for an enthusiastic cook." Ina definitely qualifies for that description. 

The sleek kitchen features white cabinetry, a professional-grade gas range, and a cozy, marble-topped eat-in island. It's not difficult to imagine Ina saying "how easy is that?" in her elegant new digs.

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