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Face It, ‘Bon Appétit’: You’re Never Going to Be Hip

Bon Appetit
The announcement by Bon Appétit that they were going to court younger readers by adjusting its logo was greeted with plenty of amusement earlier today, but the reality is even grimmer than it sounds: Not only is Bon App trying to skew younger, but it’s trying to differentiate itself from other food magazines. The truth is that Bon Appétit will never be any hipper or friskier than it is, because no magazine about upscale entertaining can ever speak to people that don’t have big houses and plenty of time on their hands. Even among such magazines, Bon Appétit is the most boring, an ad-packed Nembutal calling to mind the "women's pages" where newspapers used to publish their party recipes. With the Food Network, the Internet, and a dozen more interesting magazines at their disposal, there's no way we can imagine someone under 40 reading Bon Appétit.

Meet the Original Food Snobs

Slate’s Sara Dickerman has a great piece this week about the Founding Fathers of food snobbery — the short library of books that real food snobs draw on, as opposed to the quick studies who are buying David Kamp’s The Food Snob’s Dictionary like hotcakes this holiday season. We applaud Dickerman for including not only the big, unwieldy references like Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking and Grub Street guru Hervé This’s Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, but also the classic crackpot treatises like Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s 1825The Physiology of Taste and Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reynière’s Gourmand’s Almanac (1803–12). Those great gastronomes of yore were the first and best food snobs, and today’s aspirants would do well to go back to the source. Hey, Fromage Obsessive [Slate] Related: David Kamp Brings Aid to Would-Be Food Snobs

Jason Neroni Rumored to Be Cooking at 10 Downing

Jason Neroni
When we spotted him cooking in Cantina’s tiny kitchen, Jason Neroni wouldn’t clue us into his future plans. Now Gawker brings word that he may be moving to Stephane Dorian’s 10 Downing, where Scott Bryan was the head chef. If it’s true, we bet Neroni will appreciate the extra legroom in the kitchen. Rumors: Is Jason Neroni Off to 10 Downing? [Gawker] Earlier: Jason Neroni Spotted in Cantina’s Kitchen, ‘America’s Most Wanted’ Not Called

It Takes a Lot to Win the Brooklyn Jerk-Off

The first annual Prospect-Lefferts Gardens "Jerk-Off" was held earlier this week by a group of local jerkaphiles, to determine just who makes the best jerk chicken in the neighborhood. Considering the area's huge Caribbean population, it was a tough call. Hammonds Bakery and Jerk Center won top jerk honors, with the more-hyped Peppa's coming in a distant fourth owing to crippling dryness. Which only goes to show that you're only as good as the last chicken you jerk. PLG Jerk-Off! [Hawthorne Street]

Molecular Gastronomy Made Complicated via PowerPoint

The genius of Hervé This, the molecular gastonomist whose lecture we attended the other day, is so far beyond our ken that we were unable to understand what the hell he was talking about, even with the aid of his Powerpoint presentation. Clearly, closer study was needed. So in the interest of furthering gastronomic knowledge, here are a few highlights from the Powerpoint presentation itself, in all their intellectual splendor. It would no doubt be more edifying if you had This speaking while looking at the slides, but then again maybe it wouldn’t be. We can’t say for sure. But just the knowledge that someone is thinking this deeply keeps us encouraged. In something.

Bill Buford Takes the Meat Dilemma by the Horns

Bill Buford’s meat-oriented think piece in the current New Yorker, based on his having read three recent books by committed meat men, has as its moral the necessity of knowing, and caring about, the animals you ingest. This has come to be pretty much a dictum of modern foodie culture, but we’re not so sure about it. For one thing, having read the piece through, we still don’t know what Buford’s attitude is toward regular meat. Sure, he likes it when his pork comes from some ancient butcher who raised it in his living room and cut up every part at a big shindig with his fellow French villagers. But does that mean Buford will stop eating commodity meat? Somehow we doubt it.

Tailor’s Eben Freeman Masters the Hard Shake

This month’s Food & Wine brings a pretty illuminating profile of Eben Freemen, the resident cocktail genius at Tailor (and the one man who has come through the review process completely unscathed). Freeman talks about his current creations, such as smoked Coke and brown butter rum, not to mention some of his more outré plans, such as alcoholic breath strips and a Coppertone-flavored cocktail (“That would be the ultimate summer drink.”)

Emeril No Longer Live, But Still at Food Network

Emeril
The Food Network reached out to us today about the fate of Emeril Lagasse. FishbowlNY reported — and we repeated — this morning that the Bamtastic One was leaving the Food Network. Not so, says the channel's spokeswoman, Carrie Welch.

New York to Charlie Trotter: Bring It On!

So Charlie Trotter is coming to New York at long last. (Or so the New York Times says today, reporting that the celebrated Chicago chef has plans for a restaurant on East 22nd Street, at One Madison Park.) Our question is, what took him so long? Trotter has been considered one of the top chefs in America for years, but big names in second-rate food cities rarely make a big splash here. Paul Prudhomme, the pride of New Orleans, had only mixed success here, and in recent years Charles Ramseyer of Seattle (at Wild Salmon), and Fabio Trabocchi of Virginia (at Fiamma), both the toasts of their former towns, have received tepid responses here. (Tim Love, the pride of Texas, washed out completely with Lonesome Dove.)

Food Network, Emeril No Longer Feeling the Love

Emeril
FishbowlNY reports this morning that Emeril Lagasse has shouted a final "BAM!" at the Food Network. No more notches will be kicked up after December 11, the last day of production for Emeril Live. First Molto Mario, now Emeril. Is the Food Network putting all of its eggs in Rachael Ray's basket, or will Iron Chef be the channel's secret, all-encompassing ingredient? Bam! Emeril Leaves Food Network [FishbowlNY/Mediabistro] Earlier: Mario Batali Chopped from Food Network

Bouley Staying Put for Now; Who Are the New Owners?

The latest development in the David Bouley Evolution saga comes to us today via FloFab at the Times, who reports that Bouley isn't leaving the project but rather reworking it more along the lines of his Tribeca eatery Bouley Upstairs. There is said to be a new ownership group, which is unidentified. (Our trusted source tells us that it's the BLT Group, and we're not buying Tourondel's denial.) Still, the news seems weird. Bouley Upstairs is a small, quirky, easygoing place, a “haphazardly endearing restaurant,” as Rob and Robin call it. That's going to be David Bouley's presence at the Ritz-Carlton? Somehow, this doesn't look promising. Off the Menu [NYT] Earlier: Will Laurent Tourondel Clean Up David Bouley's Miami Mess?

L.A. Discovers How Much Michelin Sucks; We Chuckle

Having gone through the five stages of Michelin, we are watching Los Angeles' reception of its first red book with a mixture of sympathy and amusement. First comes the shock at how dopey and random the choices are; then how badly the book is written really hits you. L.A. Times writer Leslie Brenner announced today, “What shocked me wasn't who did and did not get stars; rather, it was that the book that purports to be the bible of fine dining is so poorly researched and lamely written that the ratings have no credibility.” Welcome to Michelin land, L.A. Next year's will be even lamer, despite your well-founded gibes. You stab it with your steely knives, but you just can't kill the beast. It's amateur hour chez Michelin [LAT] Related: Michelin's Madness Drives Ed Levine (and Us) Up a Wall

What to Expect on Your Job Interview With Gordon Ramsay

Starchefs plugs big-name chefs as often as Heinz bottles ketchup, so you'll find all the top toques in their new guidebook, Chefs to Know. Aimed at aspiring kitchen lackeys, the book is fun for civilian perusal as well, if only for the “offbeat restaurants,” favorite kitchen tools, and, best of all, their go-to job interview question.

Memo to World: Michael Symon and Michael Psilakis Are Not the Same Person

We ran into Michael Symon last week, a.k.a. the Next Iron Chef; as food celebs we meet are wont to do, he said that he hoped what he told us wouldn’t end up on Grub Street the next day. Jokingly, we suggested that we’d just write about how we ran into Anthos chef Michael Psilakis. “That happens to me all the time,” Symon, said, laughing. You can’t blame people for getting confused: Both men are high-profile, thirtysomething Greek (or part-Greek) chefs named Michael who are bald and happened to open up ambitious Greek restaurants at around the same time. There is, however, one clear difference between the two: Psilakis has a chinbeard, and Symon a soul patch. But this seemed cold comfort to Symon last night. Having frequently been accused of being Terrance Brennan’s doppelgänger, we could sympathize. Now if only we could switch bank accounts.

Katz’s Is Safe … for Now

Given our dire predictions, you’d think that we’d be abashed to see yesterday’s article in the Villager denying an imminent sale of Katz’s. But we're not buying a bit of it! For one thing, everything we've said before still stands: The owners are out to make a load of money (we like how they were quoted as saying that they would only sell “for a stupid number — like $50 million” — you know, just in case you were wondering). These are the same owners who have gone on record saying that they’ll sell their air space to a condo if they can keep Katz’s on the ground floor. Given such heightened profit-consciousness, we still feel it’s just a matter of time.

Jennifer 8. Lee Tackles Fortune Cookies

The galleys for the The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee’s forthcoming book about Chinese food and restaurants, have flooded the city, and people are getting hungry. Since the mysterious, crowded world of Chinese food is something about which we can never get enough intel, a quick chat with Jennifer was in order.

Johnny Iuzzini Is Clearly the Sexiest Chef in New York!

Was there ever any doubt as to who would win Sexiest Chef contest over at the Daily News? Not here! The polls have closed and, as we always knew he would, our old pal Johnny Zs has walked away with the prize, thanks to 285 votes in the “sizzling” category. In his champion photo, Johnny (who, you'll remember, has a newsletter that reminds us he “is becoming quite the superstar”) is photographed sitting next to his motorcycle, like a vanilla-coated Fonzie for the 21st century. Bonus: In celebrating his win, Iuzzini gives us the perfect cocktail of quotage. First he declares — with a straight face — that “We're chefs and that's the main thing.” But then he later hints — also with a straight face, no doubt — that he's available for the lucky ladies: “"There's always time to date," he said. "I work about 12 to 14 hours [a day], so that leaves about 10 hours for dating. I don't need to sleep much.” Oh, swoon. New York's Sexiest Chef: Johnny Iuzzini [NYDN] Earlier: Johnny Iuzzini's Plea: Elect Me Sexiest Chef!

Gordon Ramsay Will Attempt to Feed the Spice Girls

We can’t quite articulate why we're so drawn to British pop culture. Is it the mind-boggling inanity of its principals, folks like the Spice Girls, Benny Hill, the entire Big Brother crew, that keeps us coming back for more? Or is this more about our fascination with the macabre, with these dark, strange things that won't go away? We're looking at you, Gordon Ramsay. It's come to our attention that Gordo will be creating "special menus" for the Spice Girls' forthcoming world tour. Gordon Ramsay — the guy who, according to the Brit tabloids, agreed to look after Posh Spice's pet lambs, and then immediately told the press that he planned to kill and serve them (this was possibly the only instance in which we've ever felt any personal warmth for the man). You'd think after that baby-sheep-killing business, the Spices would know better. Of course, since the Spice Girls probably don’t actually eat anything but Mentos, and both parties are no doubt looking for some cheap press, it’s all for the best. We've one request, however: Is there any chance that Ramsay could just get it over with and become a Spice Girl himself? He's already got the hair and flair, after all. And any thoughts on what sort of Spice he'd be? We're sure he's open to suggestions. Ramsay creates tour menus for Spice Girls [Digital Spy]

Chefs Aren't Giving One Another Any Holiday Compliments

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, there's no shortage of holiday-related content out there (and yes, we're guilty as charged). Over on Metromix, there's an interesting little survey of local chefs on all matters Thanksgiving, complete with tales of turkey disasters and tips for your leftovers. But we couldn't help but notice that when the culinary talents were asked what chef they would hire to prepare their Thanksgiving dinner, there was a distinct air of self-preservation among some:
Adam Shepard, Lunetta: "I suppose this would be a good place to talk about someone I admire, but I don’t think I would hire anybody. You cook Thanksgiving dinner yourself." Andy D'Amico, Nice Matin and Mizza: "You want me to out somebody? I can’t do that." David Shea, Applewood: "Myself."
To be fair, not all the chefs had a turkey-superiority complex. John Schaefer of Irving Mill would give the honors to his father-in-law, and if Park Avenue Autumn's Alex Kaketsu had to pick someone, he'd opt for Pierre Gagnaire. But your father-in-law or a Parisian legend aren't really local competition, either. Thankful Thoughts [Metromix NY]