Orsone, Friuli Italy just sent us their Menus for Natale & Capodanno

Still pondering where to spend the holidays; How about a Luxury Bed & Breakfast and Gourmet Restaurant in the midst of a Vineyard?  Only 90 minutes drive from Venice's Marco Polo Airport will bring you to Lidia & Joe Bastianich's Dream Destination.  We had a great stay there in September; everything was marvellous.  So imagine what Christmas and New Year celebrations will be like.  And along the way there or back be sure to stop in at Valter Scarbolo's La Frasca for more wonderful food and wine.  But HURRY!!  Christmas is coming............. fast and there's a good chance they'll be sold out.  And of course tell them On the Menu sent you.  For more information and reservations. www.orsone.com & www.lafrasca.com.  And we wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR wherever you choose to celebrate them.

Pittsburgh's Dining Community Gathered to Recognize Chef Leonard Pisano's Career & Contribution to the Culinary Scene

Chefs and Diners alike gathered in big numbers for a Memorial to Chef Leonard Pisano at Up Modern Kitchen on November 13.  Jared "Red" Lordon of Allegheny City Smokehouse took the lead in organizing the event.  A group of Pittsburgh's best known Chefs contributed fine food themed for New Orleans; Chef Leonard loved NOLA cusisine, working there for several years and most recently bringing it to Pittsburgh at NOLA on the Square.  Here's who took part; Cory Hughes & Martin Hamilton of  6Penn, Neal Heidekat of  Sonoma Grill, Dan DeRight a retired chef now is going to law school, Derek Stevens of Eleven & Ben Sloan of Kaya.  Chefs and Servers who worked with LP spoke about how he had inspired them.  Altogether it was a great evening, a suitable tribute to a great Chef and a fine young man who will be sorely missed.  T-Shirts imprinted LP Is My Man said it best.  RIP LP!!!

FYI for Pittsburgh area Allegheny City Smokehouse is offering its fine Smoked Pork Products at Up Modern Kitchen, Sundays 4-9PM, until they can organise their own eat-in location - www.alleghenycitysmokehouse.com



News from Joy Sterling of Iron Horse

OTM's good friend, and a leader in the production of American Sparkling Wine, Joy reports that Iron Horse's Wedding Cuvee achieved  number 10 ranking in the Wine Enthusiast 100 for 2014. Also they're vinting Pinot Noir again after the re-plant of the entire vineyard in California's Green Valley - small production, single vineyard block Pinot Noirs Joy describes as "...our rising stars".. We need to get some.  And BEST OF ALL it's raining in Wine Country....... Joy, great to hear from you, give out regards to Audrey & Barry, and young Barrie.  We saw Barrie at the Pittsburgh Wine Festival earlier this year.  For more information, ordering online, www.ironhorsevineyards.com, or better still head there for a tasting.

Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue Wins BIG at 2014 World Cheese Awards

Caveman Blue won a Super Gold Medal at the 2014 World Cheese Awards as one of the World's top 60 Cheeses.  Their Echo Mountain Blue won a Bronze Medal.  David Gremmels, Co-founder & Cheesmaker at Rougue Creamery is quoted " I'm honored to have our Caveman Blue selected as Super Gold............ It's an honor to be amongst this group of judges and industry legends.............it's good to see a blue take the prize."  For more information about Rogue's entire line-up of great cheeses, www.roguecreamery.com. We interviewed David and his partner way back in 2005.

Back in the "burgh" - Chris Frangiadis

OTM's old friend Chris(tian) Frangiadis is back in Pittsburgh working on a new restaurant, "Taste" , in space formerly occupied by Quiet Storm, 5400 Block of Penn Avenue in Garfield.  Great to have you back Chris, and keep us posted.. 

Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto In Fortune - Surprise, Surprise

At OTM we're used to seeing our interviewees in Michelin Guides, Bon Appetit, Conde Nast, Food & Wine.  Josh Hochshuler of Talenti may not be the first of our guests to grace the pages of the premier business magazine, but its the first we've seen in almost 11 years.  Check out the Fortune story in the October 27, 2014 issue.  Better yet listen to our interview with Josh - OTM Audio Archives, October 8, 2010.  And by the way we think Talenti makes THE best Gelato,and Josh named the brand after Italian Chef Bernardo Buontalenti who invented Gelato (and ice cream we think) for his boss Catherine de Medici, who married the King of France and took Chef BB with her to Paris, starting the spread of "ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice-cream" - no we don't know how to say this in Italian or French, but it probably doesn't rhyme anyway.  And by the way Josh, we're delighted to read that you're doing so well!!

Damian Samsonetti, Daniel Doherty, Tandy Wilson, Old & New Friends of OTM Cooking at Beard House

Native Pittsburgher Damian Samsonetti, now teamed with his wife Ilma Jeil Lopex at Picocolo, Portland ME, via a stint at NYC's Bar Boulud, will be returning to his roots with a menu inspired by Calabria & Abruzzo, the date November 8, so do hurry!

We delighted in the "Playfull" menus devised by Chef Daniel Doherty at London's Duck & Waffle, high atop the 40 story Heron Tower.  Take advantage of this opportunity to sample Daniel's innovative interpretation of British cooking classics, and some fascinating cocktails as well - the waiting list at D&W London for prime time reservations typically exceeds 3 months.  The Beard dinner is November 19.

Only a few weeks ago during our first visit to Nashville for the Music City Food and Wine Festival we met Chef Tandy Wilson & sampled the liquors produced by Nashville city center Corsair Artisan Distillery.  They're joining forces with local micro-brewer Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porter on December 8

For more information including ticketing - http://www.jamesbeard.org/events.

To hear what these fine Chefs had to say when they appeared On the Menu - Damian, June 15, 2008; Daniel, May 11, 2014; Tandy & Corsair, October 12, 2014.

Their websites, http://piccolomaine.com/, http://duckandwaffle.com/, http://cityhousenashville.com, http://corsairdistillery.com/



Snails from England's Dorset County go with everything

The Wall Street Journal reports this unusual story.  Dorset Snails began farming snails in 2006, and now has a large customer base of fine restaurants across England.  But some of the concotions, like snails in Pizza & Paella, Snails & Chips, Snails & Baked Beans, and all-day Snail Breakfast would surely draw groans of "quelle horreur" from across the English Channel.  OTM is reminded of Arnold Wesker's 1962 play "Chips with Everthing".  John Fowles, Dorset resident & author of the acclaimed 1969 Novel "The French Lieutenant's Woman" is probably "turning over in his grave".  Stars of the movie version, Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons could not be reached for comment!  Seriously listeners we will try to track down some Dorset Snails and give a tasting report.

Let's Hear it for San Francisco's 2 New MIchelin 3Star Spots

When we dined at Saison just a little less than 4 years ago, we sensed that Chef Joshua Skenes and his Partner-Sommelier Mark Bright were going places, even though the restaurant was still just a "pop up".  Along came Michelin 2-star rating.  When the restaurant was named "The one to watch" at the 2014 World's 50 Best Awards, we knew.......... and chatted with Mark during the proceedings; although at that moment he knew only that they'd been invited to attend, and Joshua didn't even make the trip.  Now Saison has just received the coveted 3rd Star.  And we were talking wirh England's Sat Bains recently, who named Benu as one of his American favorites - and prophetically Chef Corey Lee also advanced to 3-Star rating.  Congratulations to these great young Chef-Restaurateurs.  Our ground-breaking interview with Chef Skenes can be heard at OTM Audio Archives, program date January 9, 2011.


Where OTM goes, others follow - Saveur features the wine country of Umbria

In the latest issue of Saveur you can read the story of the Sagrantino grape, rich, red, but notoriously difficult to vinify.  In the area around the elegant and well-preserved Medieval hill town of Montefalco in Southern Umbria (Palazzo Bontadosi is a fine place to stay right on the main piazza), Marco Caprai continues the pioneering work of his father Arnaldo - Arnaldo-Caprai's 25th Anniversary celebration wine is Ann's absolute favorite Vino Rosso.  In nearby Torgiano Chiara Lungarotti heads the operations of her family which include a spa-hotel as well as a fine modern cantina.  You can hear what Marco & Chiara had to say - OTM Audio Archives, program date July 1, 2012.  For more information, www.arnaldo-caprai.com; www.hotelbontadosi.com/eng/; www.lungarotti.it.


OTM, OTM where have you been?

And the answer, Spain, for the great San Sebastian Gastronomika Festival, now in its 16th Year.  Great Chefs from Spain, Italy (the featured country) and as far away as Peru,  Next week's program will bring you interviews with old OTM Amigos like Virgilio Martinez, Massimo Bottura, Quique  DaCosta, Carme Ruscalleda, Elena Arzak......, and some new ones, Carlo Cracco, Juan & Jordi Roca; and the interesting news straight from the lips of Event Director - next year's featured cuisine - Singapore and Hong Kong.  And in the November 2 program when we'll also be celebrating Peter's birthday, 3 Chefs & Restaurants that combine traditional & contemporary Andre Mari (50 years old and MIchelin Star holder since 1983)  from the Basque country, Ocurradaparra on a tiny street in old town Santiago de Compostela (going strong after just 4 years & ranked the city's best table) and Casa Gerardo from the green countryside of Asturias (where the kitchen is headed by the 5th generation).  So forgive us for being so silent, we think you'll find these next 2 programs to be well worth the wait.

Chef Dave Racicot of notion restaurant offering Cooking Classes

This "Just in" from Dave's PR

In the Kitchen with: Chef Dave Racicot

notion Introduces Bi-Monthly Class Series

WHAT:                 Dave Racicot, chef & visionary at East Liberty restaurant notion, is first and foremost a student of fine dining. As a self-taught chef, he has relied on research, practice, experimentation and excellent mentors to hone his skills. Dave now seeks to share all he knows with guests in his signature bi-monthly cooking classes, proving that home cooks can master the art of fine dining too. The classes lift the veil on Dave’s meticulous approach to the plate, providing a front row seat to his ingenuity in the kitchen – the place where Dave feels most at home. Guests experience the thought that goes into each dish and the discipline required to create what Dave describes as his “edible expression of art.”;  The intimate classes of six will include an interactive cooking demo with a chance to ask questions (and sip champagne!) throughout the process and see firsthand how dishes evolve from simple ingredients to intricate plates. Following the demo is a four-course meal based on items prepared in class showcasing how to apply the techniques learned, all paired with hand-selected wines.

Vegan Cooking

Tuesday, October 7

Prepare satisfying meals using fresh, local vegetables and alternative protein sources

Kitchen Tips & Techniques

Tuesday, October 21

Master the fundamentals of food prep including proper knife handling, kitchen setup, plating composed dishes and other skills to cook with confidence

Root Vegetables

Tuesday, November 11

Incorporate seasonal root veggies – like carrots, parsnips and rutabaga – into everyday dishes as purees, roasted sides and hearty main courses

Fish Fabrication & Cooking

Tuesday, November 18

Demystify cooking fresh fish at home with lessons on identifying types of fish and seafood, cleaning, filleting and best preparation methods

Soups & Sauces

Tuesday, December 2

Whip up homemade soups – Dave’s specialty – and sauces with layers of flavor for warming wintertime meals

Sous Vide

Tuesday, December 16

Slow-cook any protein or vegetable to tender perfection a water bath or temperature-controlled steam environment

WHEN:                 Two Tuesdays a month through December 16. Classes begin promptly at 6:00pm, followed by dinner at 7:30pm.                       

WHERE:               notion restaurant,   128 South Highland Avenue,  Pittsburgh, PA 15206

TICKETS:               $125/person, includes cooking class, champagne and a four-course dinner with wine pairings.

RESERVE:             Reservations are required and can be made by calling the restaurant at 412-361-1188 – a credit card number is required to reserve a spot in the class.

For further information, visit http://notionrestaurant.com/, like notion on Facebook, follow notion on Twitter or call the restaurant at 412-361-1188.

Pittsburgh's Severinos gain more National Attention

When not "Curating" special Chef Dinners at his Cure restaurant OTM's good friend Justin Severino & his Spouse-Partner Hilary are alwys up to something else of interest.  This time it's a Beard House Dinner at the James Beard Foundation's New York City Dining "Temple".  The JB organization dubs Cure as "Urban Mediterranean", we just call it Lusty & Delicious.   Special features of the dinner, October 20, include Justin's Signature Charcuterie & Innovative Cocktails, and beverages matched with dinner include Hard Cider with one of the courses.  Way to go Justin & Hilary, Pittsburgh is Proud of you.  More information & tickets at http://www.jamesbeard.org/events/urban-mediterranean.

Virgilio Martinez's Central takes Top Spot at Latin America 50 Best Restaurant Awards

Great News; Our heartiest congratulations to Virgilio & his spouse-partner Pia.   Not a big surprise following Central Lima's leap from 50th to 13th place in the World's 50 Best between 2013 & 2014.  Legendary Peruvian Restaurateur Gaston Acurio didn't drop far, to 2nd place.  He was also named Chef's Choice Award winner.  His subsequent announcement that he intended to retire came as quite a surprise.  Alex Atala's D.O.M and Helena Rizzo's Mani, both in Sao Paulo Brazil took 3rd and 4th,. Borago in Santiago Chile rounded out the top 5.  Alex Atala's ongoing contribution to all things culinary in Brazil, including his great work with remote peoples & ingredients, was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  More about the Awards & their Sponsors at www.theworlds50best/latinamerica/en.

US Wine Journalists Impresssed with Pinot Grigo based Wines from Friuli

Both the WSJ and SF Chronicle recently tasted and reported on Wines made from this much-maligned grape variety - and concluded that Pino Grigio based wines from Friuli in NE Italy were among the best examples and deserved the attention of the wine-drinking public.  OTM recently conducted its own tasting with Valter Scarbolo, a top quality producer close to Udine.  We wholeheartedly agree with the aforementioned reporters, and interestingly we just had the opportunity to taste wines they recommended.  You can see our tasting "in action" at Valter's La Frasca Trattoria under OTM in Pictures.  His "Ramato" style is copper-hued resulting from skin contact during fermentation, an unusual but very successful winemaking practice in Friuli.  We called it delicious!!  Valter's red wines are equally distinguished.  More at www.scarbolo.com, or just go there - less than 90 minutes by car from Venice Maro Polo.


Nashville hosts Music City Food & Wine Festival, Sep 20-21, Join us There!!

Emerging as on of America's new & exciting Food cities, Nashville celebrates Food, Drink, and of course Country Music.  Two action packed days will feature three sets of different Chefs, Local Toques (Saurday 11-4), Top Chefs from around the USA (Saturday evening), and a 2nd group of Tennesseans (on Sunday).  The Music program is headed by Kings of Leon.  Hear Celebrity Chef Tim Love talking about the proceedings in today's program at OTM Audio Archives.  We hear that tickets are going fast so get yours right away at www.musiccityfoodandwinefestival.com.

Leading Ladies team up in Chicago, September 22, for Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner

Star Chefs will align for a night of food, wine and fundraising. Moto restaurant and Executive Pastry Chef Claire Crenshaw will host a stunning array of female talent: Chef/Owner Rohini Dey of Vermilion Chicago and New York; JBF Winner and Charlie Trotter’s alum Chef Debbie Gold in Kansas City, Mo.; JBF Winner Chef Stephanie Izard of Girl and The Goat and Little Goat; Charlie Trotter's alum Chef Anistar Meffert of Crop Bistro and Bar in Cleveland, Ohio; Chef/Owner Iliana Regan of Elizabeth; JBF Winner and Charlie Trotter's alum Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar; and Proprietor and Master Sommelier Alpana Singh of The Boarding House. 

Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the James Beard Foundation’s scholarship program for advancing women in the culinary industry.  Claire Crenshaw notes:  The James Beard Foundation has a long, celebrated tradition of honoring the hard-working, dedicated women in the culinary world with empowerment and support to become successful. Although the path to success is paved with challenges, the James Beard Foundation is a beacon of hope and support for women everywhere. It’s a true honor and privilege to join forces with this group of talented ladies for a magical night that supports a culinary scholarship to advance women.

This special dinner strikes a special chord, since one of Charlie Trotter’s many legacies is his support of women in the industry.

For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.jamesbeard.org.

The venue, Michelin- starred Moto Restaurant has consistently been ranked as one of the nation’s premier dining establishments. www.motorestaurant.com.

Olli Salumerias's Salumini recognized in Food & Wine September issue

Food & Wine calls them "cute", we call them delicious.  Olli Salumeria's "Salumini" are just the size for snacking; no slicing, no peeling, just pop in your mouth.  Various Italain regional flavor are available.  www.olli.com, also at fine food stores including Whole Foods.  Hear our interview with Olli in OTM Audio Archives, prpgram date July 27, 2014. 

Alex Atala Wins Lifetime Achievement Award at 50 Best Latin America

Not a surprise to Alex's friends all over the world of Gastronomy well beyond has native continent.  Chef Atala's contribution extends well beyond the kitchen of his Sao Paulo restaurant D.O.M, where he set himself the challenge of chaging the modern history of Brazilian cuisine.  He works with native tribes in remote areas of Brazil to create both a new "larder" for Chefs & Diners, and a source of income for an impoverished population.  Accepting the award, Alex modestly says "I also hope that with this award people see the power of ingredients to drive social change....structuring the food chain.....to place greater value on our culture & environment".  Congratulations Alex!!!!  To hear Alex talking to On the Menu, go to OTM Audio Archives, program date, May 12, 2013.  The Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored bt Diner's Club, and the 50 Best Latin America Awards ceremony (organized by William Reed Business Media) will take place September 3 in Lima, Peru - www.theworlds50best.com/latinamerica, dor details

Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants announces Best Female Chef Award

50 Best doesn't keep some of the winners in suspense, Best Female Chef is named in advance and this year the honor goes to Elena Reygada of Mexico City's Rosetta restaurant, celebrating "her outstanding work, as well as the innovationand creativity that she serves to her diners" to quote from William Reed Business Media's announcement.  This prestigious award is sponsored by Veuve Cliquot, inspired by the life & achievements of its founder.  The 50 Best Latin America Awards ceremony will take place in Lima, Peru, on September 3, 2014.  More at www.theworlds50best.com/latinamerica.

Vermont Creamery a Big Winner at 2014 American Cheese Society competition

We hear that our good friends at Vermont Creamery carried off 7 awards, including 2 first places (for Bijou & Feta products).  VC was one of only 5 cheesemakers to earn this many.  The annual competition is considered one of the world's top events for artisanal & specialty cheeses.  Well done Vermont Creamery - what can we say except "more cheese please".

"Taste of" Food Festival lands in Toronto July 24-27

It’s taken 10 years for IMG’s Taste Festivals to make it to North America.  Next week, July 24-27, in Toronto Canada you’ll find out it was worth the wait when Taste-Of makes its Debut on this continent.  With 6 sessions (lunch/ dinner depending on the time of day), there will be 14 Food Stations manned by Toronto’s Top Chefs, offering small plates of 3 favorite dishes from their restaurant menus .  There’ll be about 50 other food and beverage producers as well, guaranteeing a grand gustatory experience – all located together at the Fort York historical site in central Toronto.   For further details and tickets go to www.tasteoftoronto.com.  Sign up and learn first-hand why Toronto’s modern food scene is attracting worldwide attention.



Helen & Lisa Tse of Sweet Mandarin Restaurant, Manchester, invited to cook for China's Premier & UK's Prime Minister

OTM will have upcoming an interview with Helen Tse, 1 of 3 sisters who are 3rd generation restaurateurs in Manchester.  We heard they got a very special invitation - to cook for China's Premier Li, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron & 65 guests at 10 Downing Street.  Premier Li noted that their meal was the best Chinese Food he had every tasted in the UK.  They shared a photograph - and we have it on our OTM in Pictures page.

Justin Severino orchestrating Cure'ated Dinner Series - July to October

Justin's always up to something new. The Cure'ated Dinners--a Cure-hosted series of dinners created by Justin and a dazzling array of guest chefs from around the US--represent perhaps his most ambitious project to date.  Kicking off the series July 27: Jamie Bissonette of Coppa (Boston) & Toro (NYC) with Scott & Rachelle Vivian of Beats (Toronto); September 14 Scott Drewno of The Source by Wolfgang Puck (Washington DC) & Mike Isabella of Graffiato, etc (DC & VA); October 12 Tarver King, Patowmack Farm (VA) & Brian Voltaggio, Volt etc. (MD & DC); October 26, George Sabatino, about to open Aldine, (Phildelphia) & Mike Solomonov, Zahav etc. (PA); November 9 Ned Elliott, Foreign & Domestic (Austin TX) and a "player to be named later."  Quite a Line-up & big excitement for both chefs and diners!!

Get more details at www.curepittsburgh.com/events.  Make reservations  (beginning 2 months ahead of the event date) at 412 252 2595.  Using the reservation request form on the website might work, but phone will be better beacuse these dinners are expected to sell out quickly.  Listen to Justin talk about Cure'ated in OTM's June 29 program through OTM Audio Archives or direct link at http://edge1550.com/podcasts/OnTheMenu-20140629.mp3, but not before June 29 at 8AM. 

Brooklyn Brewery Mash makes a Pittsburgh Stop Next Week

Brooklyn's famous Craft Brewery is making a stop in Pittsburgh, about halfway through its Worlwide progession.  There's a whole week of events too lengthy to list here - go to www.brooklynbrewerymash.com for details and ticketing.  And for our Listeners throughout the USA & around the world, check for cities and dates so that you can participate.  A quick peek into Mash future - London is the next stop.  And a personal recommendation from Peter, BB's Brown Ale is Truly World Class!!

Whiskey Revival may result in a Shortage of Jack Daniel's

From 1980 to 2000 American's lost their taste for domestic Whiskey, as they switched to Vodka, Rum & Tequila.  This trend has now reversed  with major brand Jack Daniel's and a new group of Craft Distillers all enjoying the rapid increase in demand - and not just in the USA, but also European countries and (surprisingly) Turkey.  It's not yet a crisis, but OTM will be following events closely.  And we'll be keeping an extra one of the distintictive white on black labeled bottles in our cocktail bar.................. Perhaps even their newest "Single Barrel" release.

Knob Creek Sweepstakes is no Horserace & You can Play

Here's the Scoop - A unique chance to Camp Out at  Bourbon Distillery Knob Creek®, the Ultimate Distillery Experience.  The Lucky Sweeps Winners from various regions of the country will gather in Clermont, KY for an on-site campout and full-flavored grilling experience.  Each winner will receive round-trip airfare for two, ground transportation to the distillery and a Big Green Egg®, courtesy of Knob Creek® Bourbon.  There'll be one lucky winner from the Pittsburgh area.

This exclusive weekend long campout will include:
> Fred Noe, 7th Generation Master Distiller and 2013 Bourbon Hall of Fame Inductee, will host a fireside chat on the seasoned history of Knob Creek®, followed by a pig roast dinner
> VIP BBQ cookout with Celebrity Chef Michael Symon, who will prepare his exclusive Knob Creek® bourbon-inspired recipes
> Performance by an authentic Kentucky bluegrass band

You can enter for a chance to win by visiting http://knobcreek.promo.eprize.com/sweeps, and entry is open to All legal US residents, 21+ who reside in the following ten states can enter the Sweepstakes: California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia. Entries will be accepted from May 15, 2014 to July 31, 2014
The actual Campout will take place from September 26th - 28th, 2014.  Fred Noe interviewed with OTM, and you can listen to his genial conversation in OTM Audio Archives, program date October 25, 2009.

Fourth of July in London means Art Week not Independence Day

July 4th has never been  a Day of Celebration in Britain!  In fact Peter's always felt like a bit of a stranger on that date, even after 38 years of US Citizenship.  Now London has found an event sure to attract the World's Art Lovers.  London Art Week actually launched last year, combining Master Drawingd & Sculpture Week and Master Paintings Week.  This year it kicks off July 4, until July 11.   50 Specialist Dealers & 3 Major London Auction Houses, so a wide range of fine art from 15th-20th centuries will be on show and on sale - "a cornucopia of the finest works of art.........." to quote the press announcement.  With great exhibitions and collections at the Tate & Tate Modern, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Courtaulds and Wallace Collections also available London on July 4th seems like a must for Art Lovers, whether their celebrating Independence or not.................  More at www.londonartweek.com.



Heston Blumenthal to offer Food Perfection at London Heathrow Terminal 2

Heston Blumenthal’s new restaurant, The Perfectionists’ Café, is set to open its doors today with the unveiling of the multi-million pound new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, at Heathrow.   The Café takes inspiration from Heston’s In Search of Perfection television programs & books in which he explored and reinvented Britain's favorite dishes but he is quick to point out "You cannot achieve perfection as it’s entirely subjective,  As a perfectionist, you can continually try to improve things, even if that means just turning everything upside down and starting again.  We have had some incredible fun trying to make the best ever versions of these dishes."  Knowing Heston as we do, OTM anticipates that Heathrow Terminal 2 dining will reach a far greater degree of perfection than is found in typical Airport dining.   We shall certainly try it when we are next in London.  More at http://www.theperfectionistscafe.com/


Massimo Bottura Opens in Istanbul

OTM good friend and favorite Chef Massimo Bottura of the three Michelin starred Osteria Francescana just announced an exciting new venture Ristorante Italia, his first restaurant outside of Italy.  Here traditional Italian flavours and contemporary cooking techniques come together to bring the very best of the past into the future. Massimo has reworked 100 classic recipes from all over Italy to embrace the diversity and bounty of the Italian kitchen. Mozzarella in Carrozza, Spaghetti Cetarese, Bollito Misto and Tiramisu are just a few of the these treasures.  Ristorante Italia not only uses the very best imported Italian products but, in the pursuit of excellence, the kitchen sources many of its ingredients from Turkey (in last Sunday’s OTM program we interviewed a Producer of Fine Turkish foodstuffs, which were a real “eye opener” for us) and takes advantage of the in-house dairy production of the Eataly Food Market Centre where it’s located.  Staff from Osteria Francescana's team head up the restaurant whilst Massimo Bottura will make regular appearances at the restaurant, which is only a two hour plane ride from home.  More at www.osteriafrancescana.it/ristoranteitalia.


Summer Solstice Sessions at Pittsburgh's Legume & Butterjoint - June 22

Chef & co-owner Trevett Hooper isn't satisfied just to run a local favorite restaurant.  He wants to raise your food & beverage IQ.  So with a few freinds and local experts he's planned a whole day from Coffee at 8AM to a Buffet Dinner at the end of the day.  From starting a Garden to CSAs, Permaculture and "Your Foodshed" to how to make beer, mead, wine & vinegar, to butchering a steer, this promises to be an action-filled day for Foodies.  Get more details and make reservtions at http://www.legumebistro.com/summer-solstice-party-2014.php.  OTM will be celebrating a very special "life event"  at the dinner, on the day that is coincidentally our wedding anniversary.  No prize for guessing the number, but we'll be pleased to see you there. 

Let's all express our appreciation to Toni Pais!!

Please join OTM at an exclusive James Beard sponsored Culinary Reception. Enjoy an unforgettable food and wine experience created by the award-winning culinary faculty of the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Join your friends in Pittsburgh culinary community as we honor the illustrious lifetime achievements of legendary chef Toni Pais, owner of Cafe Zinho in Shadyside, and one of OTM's favorite people. Starting with his early years at La Normande and Baum Vivant Toni has contributed enormously to the growth of Pittsburgh's dining scene with his unique enthusiasm and charming personality! He's no slouch on the Soccer field either, as Peter can personally attest.   Get more information at http://www.jamesbeard.org/events/pittsburgh.

Big Burrito's Eleven is Ten

OTM's good friends haven't forgotten their Arithmetic!  They're celebrating the first decade in which Eleven Contemporary Kitchen has graced the Dining Scene here in our home town, Pittsburgh - in a VERY GRACIOUS way.  On June 5 they're holding a Big Benefit, dedicating all proceeds from a restaurant-wide dinner to non-profit organiztions - and you can choose your favorite charities.  Executive Chef Derek Stevens has developed a Very Special 5-course Menu.  Get more information at http://www.elevenck.com/10, and sign up soon.  It's sure to be a sell-out, so don't miss out!!

Pittsburgh Wine Festival - May 8 at Heinz Field

The Steelers are away drafting new prospects, but all will certainly NOT be quiet at Heinz Field Thursday evening, when hundreds of Wine Lovers will congregate - ours truly included.  Be sure to raise a glass with us if you can find us in the crowd.  www.pittsburghwinefestival.com.

2014 James Beard Awards - Congratulations to ALL the Winners, but especially...

OTM is especially pleased to congratulate several of our past guests, who walked the walk to pick up their trophies this evening.  Barbara Lynch, Outstanding Restaurateur for her Barbara Lynch Gruppo family of restaurant, Boston (hear her in OTM Audio Archives, program date May 16, 2010); Ryan Prewitt, Best New Restaurant (tie) & Best Chef South for Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans (hear him soon, we're off to NOLA next week) and congratulations also to his owners Donald Link (January 4, 2009) & Stephen Stryjewski; The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland TN, Outstanding Wine Program, Sam Beall (January 3, 2010); Best Chef West, Daniel Patterson, Coi, San Francisco (January 16, 2014, November 2, 2011); 2013 Who's Who Inductees, John Besh (November 17, 2013 & 4 other dates), David Chang (June 15, 2008), Paul Kahan (November 27, 2005), Sherry Yard (7/1/2007).  OTM is thrilled for all of you!!! 

OTM joined the Throng at World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards in London

A packed house of Chefs and Dining Afficianados filled The Guildhall to capacity, for the exciting announcements.  Both before and after the Award Winners were revealed (Oscars please note there was only one acceptance speech) so the suspense lasted only an hour.  Highlights?  There were many, pride of place going to Noma which returned to the top spot, pushing Can Roca down to 2nd place, Osteria Francescana & Chef Massimo Botturs maintained 3rd, New York's 11 Madison Park headed US winners moving up from 5th to 4th; the UK's Dinner by Heston adavanced to 5th; Highest new entry at 17th, Gaggan in Bangkok is Indian-themed, and Central, Lima Peru leapt from 50th to 15th; White Rabbit, Moscow, was the 1st Russian restaurant invited to attend.  Individual Awards : Lifetime Achievemnent Award - Fergus Henderson of St. John, London; Best Female Chef, Helena Rizzo, Mani, Sao Paulo; Best Pastry Chef Jordi Roca, Can Roca, Girona Spain, Chef's Choice, Alex Atala, DOM, Sao Paulo.  OTM said hello and congratulations to many Chefs & Restaurateurs too numerous to mention.  You can hear those we were able to record in OTM Audio Archives, program date May 4, 2014.  Get details of all the winners, including those ranked 51-100 at http://www.theworlds50best.com/.  Till next year......................

Roka, London's Great Robatayaki Restaurant group Adds 2 more Spots

First came ZUMA in 2002, then ROKA in 2004; co-founders Rainer Becker & Arjun Waney had hits on their hands from the start.  OTM discovered the first Roka in Fitzrovia back in 2005, and we heard they had opened in London's Canary Wharf area, also in Hong Kong.  Now ROKA is opening its doors at super-convenient locations in Mayfair & the City of London.  ROKA Mayfair on N Audley Street, close to Grosvenor Squar opened in February; ROKA Aldwych on Aldersgate St. is scheduled to open this summer.  The Food is great, the atmosphere is dynamic, so be sure to note which of the ROKA's will be close to where you're going to be.  You'll be tempted to visit more than one!!  www.rokarestaurant.com.


American Cheese Society seeking Entries & Volunteers

OTM just heard from the American Cheese Society that they're looking for Entries, and also looking for Volunteers to help with their 2014 Conference & Competition, to be held in Sacramento CA, July 29-August 1.  This is sure to be a Great Celebration of the variety and quality of Cheeses now being made in the USA.  For more information go to www.cheesesociety.org


Justin Severino of Pittsburgh's Cure Restaurant named People's Choice Best New Chef

OTM is thrilled to hear this news from the sponsor. Food and Wine Magazine.  Justin won the prize for the Mid-Atlantic region.  We're pleased to be able to do some hometown bragging!  Justin modestly says  I'm honored to be selected as People's Best New Chef and I have to thank the wonderful community we have in Pittsburgh. They made it happen." Justin and Cure are well known for their Charcuterie, and their often sold out Butchering classes.  More at  www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2014/4/2/meet-the-peoples-best-new-chef.  Cure is located in Pittsburgh's newly trendy Lawrenceville neighborhoodand online at www.curepittsburgh.com.


Tennessee Whiskey safe for now

OTM brought this sbject to your attention just a few days ago when we heard that a new State law was being proposed to change the over 100 year tradition of charcoal filtering and aging in new, newly toasted oak barrels. News reached us today that the newly proposed statute will not go forward until further study................... In 2013 legislation had for the first time embodied this practice in law, a practice that that was first established by none other than Mr. Jack Daniel and like-minded Tennessee Whisky producers.  It has proved to be a good deal for JD, which dominates the market for Tennessee Whisky, but many small producers use the same method.  This year other producers tried to broaden the scope of the iconic bew by changing the 2013 Law to permit aging in used barrels under the same designation,  We found at least one small producer who agreed with JD.  Diageo, owners of George Dickel (a Tennessee producer, owned by the global giant liquor company) came out strongly for the change.  We like  our Jack the old-fashioned way, and we expect many of our listeners will agree. Stay tuned!!

Top Chefs Sergio Herman & Nick Bril open The Jane in Antwerp

After 25 years at Netherlands' Old Sluis restaurant (with 3 Michelin Stars no less) Sergio & Nick shook the fine dining world when they decided to close last December.  But as they say "you can't keep a good man down".  They're back with a new concept & a new location that you'll want to check out!!  The Jane was created in partnership with a number of Artists, Designers and DJs, and will include the Upper Room Bar, with its own menu.  To find out more - www.thejaneantwerp.com.

World's 50 Best Restaurants names Helena Rizzo Best Female Chef 2014

The excitement of World's 50 Best 2014 is just beginning - it will reach its Zenith April 28 at London's Guidhall.  OTM will be there again and we hope to see some of you there!  Helena Rizzo of Mani Restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, carried off Best Female Chef Latin America last September, and now adds Veuve Cliquot World's Best to the many honors she has won.  We plan to congratulate Helena in person and bring you an interview.  For more about the World's 50 Best - www.theworlds50best.com.

OTM guests “Make it big” at IACP Awards

OTM extends congratulations to more than 10 of our Interviewees, who were recently recognized by the International Association of Culinary Professionals in their 2014 Food Writing Awards.  Jim Oseland of Saveur Magazine takes pride of place, tied for Best Culinary Website – hear Publisher Jim Oseland, in OTM Audio Archives, program date January 13, 2013. Book authors are named in the order of their appearance in IACP’s announcement, followed by the date of their OTM interview.  Matt & Ted Lee, March 31, 2013; Jo Robinson, September 1, 2013; Maureen Fanta, Janury 12, 2014; Ann Willan, October 13, 2013; Daniel Humm & Will Guidara, September 22, 2013 (at Mistura, Lima Peru); Francisco Migoya, Januray 27, 2013; David Kinch, January 26, 2014; Diana Kennedy, October 17, 2010; Madhur Jaffrey, Mat 26, 2006; Mollie Katzen, October 13, 2013

Tennessee Whiskey and The Law

American Whiskey is well-known and well-loved because of the characteristics imbued in brew by aging in new oak barrels, toasted before their use.  Interestingly after their use many of the barrels find their way into the hands of Scotch Whisky makers which prefer used barrels to new ones.  Tennessee distillers, large and small, have maintained this tradition for over a century, we are told.  Indeed last year this respected Standard was signed into law at the Tennessee State House.  This year some producers are attempting to change this standard by permitting aging in used barrels - suggesting that this will make it easier (less expensive) for small "craft" distilleries to get started.  We chatted recently with a representative of Jack Daniel's who diplomatically said simply that they will continue to respect the tradition, and the methods of their of their founder.  Andy and Charlie Nelson of Nelson's Greenbrier Distillery are more vocal in their opposition - "...we vehemently reject the notion that allowing Tennessee Whiskey to be produced in barrels that are not new will help craft distillers, and the so-called "little guys".  We are the little guys......It is our best interests to produce and compete within our long established guidelines....We resent and oppose this attempt ....... to discredit and degrade the process of our state's beloved product and valued brand."  OTM says "Here, here" and hope that Tennessees political leadership decides the same.  OTM's conversation with Andy Nelson about the revival of Nelson's Green Brier Distillery can be heard in OTM Audio Archives, program date December 29, 2013.


Celebrating Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey - starting March 26 the Bounty & Barrel Dinner Series

Sponsored by Jack Daniel's which just released Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, these Events feature Top Chefs who'll create Menus designed for pairing with whiskey.  The first dinner in NYC is March 26, then the series continues in Chicago April 9, Austin April 16, SF Arpil 19 & Nashville April 22.  Carefully selected charities will benefit from the proceeds.  Get more information and tickets via http://singlebarrel.jackdaniels.com/bounty-barrel/.  If you can't make it, get yourself a bottle of this robust, full-bodied 94-proof Elixir, and sip along with OTM!!

Una Domenica con Lidia (Bastianich) March 23 in Cividale del Friuli

Sorry the notice is so short!  We heard from Lidia just a few weeks ago that the long-awaited opening of Orsone Ristorante e B&B has finally arrived - we heard about the project 3 or 4 years ago.  It's delightfully situated on one of the vineyards LIdia & her son Joe have tended for several years, with a magnificent vista all the way to the usually snow-capped Dolomites.  We plan to check this out in person later in the year.  You can find out more right now by email to info@orsone.com or www.orsone.com.

LitFest at Ballymaloe, May 16-18

Always the Innovator, Darina Allen had an idea that a Festival combining Sustinence & Literature would be new and exciting.  The 8,000 people who thronged Ballymaloe last year (they expected about 2,500) would seem to agree.  You should think about going this year!!  The Cooking Cast includes TomChefs from around Ireland and around the Whole World.  For more about the Ballymaloe Literary Festivel of Food & Wine, www.litfest.ie and tell them OTM sent you.

Sunday's Program dedicated to Darina & Myrtle Allen & the entire Family at Ballymaloe, Ireland

OTM is pleased to devote the entire program on March 23 to Darina & Myrtle Allen, their familes and staff, for the Leadership & Example they have provided to Modern Irish Cooking.  Ballymaoloe's influence extends worldwide, from its small beginnings, and you can hear these great ladies decsribe how this has been achieved.  We are delighted to be able to bring you this unique coverage of truly remarkable People & a small Place in the Irish Countryside.  It's a great story you'll be sure to enjoy!!  See separate News about Ballymaloe's upcoming LitFest.

Loving Lima, Peru not Ohio!

Belgian Beer News - Vanbderg & DeWulf transitions to Total Beverage Solutions

For several years OTM bas been privileged to enjoy fine Belgian beers, selected and imported by Don Feinberg & Wendy Littlefield of Vanberg & DeWulf, based in Cooperstown NY.  Now change is in the air, but the tradition will go on!  Writing from Belgium, Don  & Wendy explain their decision to transition their brand into Total Beverage Solutions TBS).  “Since starting Vanberg & DeWulf in 1982, our mission has been to champion the cause of Belgian beer made by independent, family-run breweries. We have positioned our breweries for long-term growth in the United States. In TBS we have a successor who understands the value of our portfolio, and will help our beers fulfill their potential in the decades to come. We feel this is the right move at precisely the right time with exactly the right team. Our brewers and their beers are in capable hands.”


TBS founder, Dave Pardus states “Vanberg & DeWulf is unique in the pioneering role it has played in the Belgian beer category and the connoisseurship it has brought to the expansion of its portfolio beyond its Belgian roots. Don & Wendy’s relentless passion for beers of quality and terroir has a created a terrific following for their beers.  With the additional resources and infrastructure we bring, there is tremendous opportunity to grow their portfolio, and it complements our prestigious existing lineup of breweries and beers.”  The Vanberg & DeWulf portfolio consists of a tight group of hand-selected breweries representing twenty-five distinct beer styles, including beloved beers like Saison Dupont, and Scaldis. Vanberg & DeWulf was the first US importer to specialize in Belgian beers. The company experienced a ten-fold increase in sales over the last decade.  For more information www.totalbeveragesolution.com.  You can hear Wendy & Don interview with us - OTM Audio Archives, program date February 13, 2013, and their website is www.belgianexperts.com.