ABC cancels The Chew

The Chew cookbookABC's daytime talk show hosted by celebrity chefs and centered around food, The Chew, is on the chopping block. The network announced that the program, which has faced falling ratings, will end this September. A representative for ABC described the cancellation as a "business decision."

The Emmy Award-winning program, which has 'Food. Life. Fun." as its motto, is currently hosted by chefs Michael Symon and Carla Hall, along with fashion consultant Clinton Kelly. In December, former host Mario Batali was fired due to multiple reports of sexual abuse and harassment.

While the blame can't solely be laid on Batali's departure, ratings in the coveted female 18-49 demographic fell 17% since he left the show. Ratings had been dropping prior to last December, but not as drastically. ABC said that new episodes of 'The Chew' will continue to air through September. After that time, 'Good Morning America' will expand to three hours to fill the time slot.

Mario Batali under criminal investigation

 Mario Batali

Yesterday, a segment on the television news program 60 Minutes reported on the Mario Batali and Ken Friedman sexual harassment and abuse allegations. Parts of the show rehashed previously reported claims, but viewers also heard new information and allegations. The new accusations were chilling, and the New York Police Department confirmed to CBS News that Batali was the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. 

An anonymous former  employee at Batali's restaurant Babbo alleges that in 2005, she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Batali at the Spotted Pig - the restaurant owned by Friedman and helmed by chef April Bloomfield. A former Spotted Pig bartender has alleged sexual abuse by Friedman, claiming that he assaulted her four years ago outside the restaurant. 

Following the program, yet another woman came forward with claims that Batali drugged and raped her at his Greenwich Village eatery in 2004. She says she went to the police this March, and the NYPD said that her claims are those that are undergoing police scrutiny.

In response to the program, chef Bloomfield said that she is in the final stages of severing her professional relationship with Friedman, and that she regrets not doing more to protect her staff. One of her former employees said that she doesn't trust Bloomfield, saying, "I know other people went to April, and she did nothing to make them feel safe." 

Ferran Adrià goes back to school for his new restaurant

A Day at el BulliFerran Adrià  is one of the most accomplished chefs in the world. Aspiring chefs study his cookbooks and vied for coveted stage positions, hoping to learn from one of the best in the industry. However, before he opened his new restaurant called Condividere, in Turin, Italy, Adrià felt it necessary to go back to school

Condividere (which means 'to share' in Italian)  is located at the headquarters of Italian coffee producer Lavazza. Adrià and local chef Federico Zanasi delved into the history of Italian cuisine to develop the menu at the restaurant. To prepare, both chefs studied the region's food heritage at the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, just south of Turin.

Adrià says Condividere will "offer a way of understanding gastronomy that places the focus on man and his need to be in company, to share, and his search for quality and love of food." The restaurant is scheduled to open June 8; let's keep our fingers crossed that another cookbook from the location will be forthcoming. 

Dorie Greenspan's advice to new cooks

Everyday DorieWhile we patiently wait for Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook to arrive (Everyday Dorie, coming this October), we can get more of her sage advice from indexed blog Food52. Dorie recently provided the site with her top eight tips for novice cooks, and while they may be aimed at beginners, even confident home cooks will find them useful. 

Among the wise advice, Dorie says one thing that all cooks can benefit from is being fearless - or at least not afraid. Even beginners should branch out beyond the basics as they learn the craft. Says Dorie, "I think you become a better cook, faster, if you cook the foods you're craving and the ones you're excited about learning to make," and she reminds us that "Most mistakes are edible. Some are even really tasty." 

The popular author says that having the right tools can make cooking easier and better, but she advises new cooks not to worry about getting everything all at once. Building up your collection a piece at a time so you can purchase quality gear. Some items can be expensive, but "if you buy good stuff, you'll have it forever." Dorie finds some items in unusual places, like the hardware store. There you'll find paint brushes that you can use for basting, and screwdrivers. Dorie uses the latter, along with a rubber mallet also found at the hardware store, to help her chop chocolate. 

Ina Garten is planning an author tour

Cook Like a ProIna Garten fans who were excited with she announced that a new cookbook, Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks, was in the works, will be thrilled with today's news. The Barefoot Contessa is headed out on a major author tour to promote the book.

In addition to the usual book signing events, Garten will be doing sit down interviews at each appearance. So far, the itinerary includes eight U.S. cities - all across the country including the South (Atlanta and Dallas), Midwest (Minneapolis), and Great Plains (Denver) in addititonal to the customary coastal stops. 

Jenny has updated the World Calendar of Cookbook Events with the dates. You'll have plenty of time to plan a visit to one of the cities; the tour doesn't begin until October. Garten will be holding the signings and interviews at theaters and other large venues, so there should be plenty of room for her legions of fans.  

2018 James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards


Yesterday, the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of its Chef and Restaurant Awards in a ceremony emceed by Carla Hall at Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

The theme for the 2018 awards was "Rise," celebrating the collective spirit of the culinary community and the power of food. Attendees and participants donned pins stating what they rise for, from "equality" to "locally sourced food" to "no waste" and "integrity." In keeping with the theme, the nearly 30 gala reception chefs consisted mostly of former James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change participants, where civically and politically minded chefs have a unique opportunity to become more effective leaders for food-system change.

Many of the award winners have released cookbooks featuring either food from their award-winning restaurants, or things that they cook at home and serve to friends and family. The winners who have published cookbooks are listed below - I tried to make sure I got everyone; please let me know if I have overlooked anyone.

Although she doesn't have a cookbook (at least not yet), it was a delight to see that Dolester Miles of Birmingham, Alabama's Highlands Bar & Grill (named as Outstanding Restaurant) won the title of Outstanding Pastry Chef. Miles has worked at Highlands since it opened in 1982, and has been a nominee for the award several times before winning. Another one to watch out for is Rising Star Chef of the Year Camille Cogswell of Philadelphia's Zahav, Michael Solomonov's restaurant. Zuni Cafe won the award for Outstanding Service, and one of the most popular books in the EYB Library is the The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

Outstanding Chef
Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in NYC

Outstanding Baker
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas of B. Patisserie in San Francisco

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Abraham Conlon of Fat Rice in Chicago

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Missy Robbins of  Lilia in Brooklyn

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)
Karen Akunowicz of Myers+Chang in Boston

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco

2018 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year
José Andrés, Multiple James Beard Award-Winning Chef; Owner, ThinkFoodGroup; Founder, World Central Kitchen

2018 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
Paula Wolfert, Multiple James Beard Award-Winning Author

Despite criticism, Jamie Oliver resolves to combat childhood obesity

Jamie Oliver cookbookJamie Oliver burst onto the food scene in the very late 1990s with a rock star persona and serious cooking skills. Since then, the chef has grown his celebrity brand which includes several cookbooks and dozens of restaurants. Although his fortunes in the latter arena have waxed and waned over the years, one aspect of his work has remained steady throughout: eliminating childhood obesity

In an interview with The Guardian, the outspoken chef discusses his work in promoting healthier diets, which have won him both praise and a fair amount of criticism. "It's not hard to get someone to say: 'Jamie Oliver is a wanker'", he says. "I think the concept of having an opinion and caring in Britain is a really funny one, you know: 'How dare you.'" His critics accuse him of hypocrisy, noting that he built part of his empire by lending his likeness to supermarket advertisements - the same kind of promotions he now frequently decries. 

Oliver successfully pushed for a sugar tax on sodas, and he would like to expand that to other sweet items as well. In addition, he recently coordinated a letter addressed to the prime minister and signed by politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon. It aims to convince the government to ban junk food advertising before 9:00 pm and unhealthy BOGO offers, among other things including more informative food labelling. 

While the war on childhood obesity consumes a good portion of Oliver's time, he continues to do other work, including overseeing his restaurant empire. Recently he had to close several restaurants and lay off hundreds of workers, which he describes as "awful. Worst time in my life." Despite this challenge, the chef finds time to develop recipes, and has a new cookbook slated for release later this summer. 

Is Joanna Gaines poised to be the next Martha Stewart?

Magnolia TableMartha Stewart has long been the authority on all things domestic: cooking, gardening, entertaining, and interior design. There's someone who may soon challenge her as the reigning authority on all things home-related: Joanna Gaines' debut cookbook, Magnolia Table, is on fire. Sales of the book have topped 169,000 in the first week, which surpasses totals for the same time period for the most recent works by Ina Garten and The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. 

Stewart's first book, Entertaining, published in 1982 and now in its 30th printing, was the catalyst to her storied career. She branched off to other projects, including hosting both cooking and gardening television programs, promoting a line of cookware and home decorating items, and publishing an extremely popular magazine.

Gaines already has the TV hosting down, and can now claim the magazine portion as well. The quarterly that she publishes with her husband Chip, called The Magnolia Journal, exceeded one million copies in circulation by its third issue"The magazine's launch is the most successful in our history, and we're 115 years old," said Art Slusark, spokesman for Meredith Corp., the publisher of   Better Homes & Gardens, Allrecipes, Parents, SHAPE, Martha Stewart Living  and other titles.

Since Gaines blogs about gardening, and because she has yet to write a book about the home decorating ideas that propelled her to fame, it's easy to see how she could quickly expand her publishing footprint. She seems to be following in Martha's footsteps, albeit with more shiplap. 

Ina Garten announces new cookbook

Cook Like a ProWe've just received good news for Ina Garten fans - the Barefoot Contessa announced that she has a new cookbook coming out this fall. Named after Garten's latest program, Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks is set to hit store shelves this October. You can preorder it now through Amazon

In her new book, the popular television host shares some of her very best "pro tips," from the secret to making her custardy, slow-cooked Truffled Scrambled Eggs to the key to the crispiest and juiciest Fried Chicken Sandwiches. For Garten, cooking like a pro also means hosting like one. Throughout the book you'll find great ideas to boost your entertaining skills such as how to set up an elegant home bar and how to make showstopper desserts ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests. 

Cook Like a Pro is already a #1 bestseller on Amazon, which comes as no surprise. Judging by the popularity of Garten's other books in the EYB Library, this one is likely to be another blockbuster with our Members. Books like Barefoot Contessa Foolproof and Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? have earned 4.5 star ratings and reside on thousands of our Members' bookshelves. As the release date approaches, we will have more information about the book to share with you. 

Diana Kennedy is as active as ever at 95

Diana Kennedy cookbookWhen you have spent a lifetime immersed in work on a single subject, you might expect that in your later years you would step back and enjoy a quiet, relaxing retirement. Author and Mexican food expert Diana Kennedy fits into this category, but taking it easy does not seem to be in her genes. At the age of 95, Kennedy still grows her own coffee and makes tortillas from scratch.

Kennedy lives west of Mexico City in an "ecological house" she built in the 1970s using reclaimed materials. She continues to focus on the same themes as she has for decades, teaching classes, editing books, cooking, gardening, and more. She grows much of her own food in the area surrounding her home, which is in a remote area.

The teacher and author continues to hold cooking classes at her home, although she says that she will stop holding those classes once she turns 100. Kennedy remains deeply committed to ecological issues, and fervently believes that everyone needs to do everything he or she can to live simply, without waste. For her part, she filters and reuses household water (a precious commodity in the region) and only rarely uses electricity. "Everybody is responsible," Kennedy says vehemently. "Everybody. At all stages."

She is continuing work on cookbooks as well. A new edition of her pivotal work, The Art of Mexican Cooking, is in the works, and she is also working on a new Mexican edition of Oaxaca al Gusto. As if that weren't enough, a documentary about her life is in the planning stages. 

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