Has it really come to this? Maxim and Esquire are going at it hammer and tongs to see who can print more ridiculous images of chefs as fashion models. Esquire started it, with a never-to-be-forgotten Simon Hammerstein–David Chang tough-guy shoot. This year, Maxim released its April spread early to get the jump on Esquire, but both mags shared a few models (formerly known as chefs): Michael Psilakis of Anthos, Neil Ferguson of Allen and Delancey, and Craig Koketsu of Park Avenue Winter. Psilakis, for his part, is even wearing similar suits in both spreads. (Did he leave the Maxim refrigerator and head straight to his Esquire lunch at Insieme?) Other chefs of note in the shoot include Ben Chekroun, the elegant maître d' of Le Bernardin, whom we interviewed for Ask a Waiter back in the day; San Domenico's affable wine director, Piero Trotta; and the boyish Wesley Genovart of Degustation, tucking into a plate of duck and soba noodles. We give Esquire the edge for shooting the dapper John McDonald at Keens. Though he’s more of a bon vivant restaurateur than a chef, Johnny Mac is a quintessential Esquire man.
Man’s Gotta Eat [Esquire]
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Having pawed and pondered this week's Best of New York issue endlessly, we knew that the only way we could possibly make up our minds about it was to pester Adam Platt into giving us his thoughts on why he made his picks, who he had to leave out, and what his reasoning was. Since Platt is always readily available on IM, the following chat answered our questions and made our peace with his picks.
Anyone who knows Paul Grieco will tell you that he is patently insane. Final proof, if any were needed, lies in this video promoting his new wine bar, Terroir. Grieco, the co-owner, manager, and wine director of both Hearth and Insieme, is the mad genius of the city’s wine corps, and Terroir is his padded cell and laboratory. The teaser site gives some hint of the white-knuckle wine-geek intensity that courses through Grieco’s veins: Among the vitriolic mottos that flash are “Our wine world is now dominated by over-manipulated, oak-chip-flavored, micro-oxygenated wines that have nothing to do with what Mother Nature, God, or the Cistercian Fathers had in mind” and “To go to Friuli for red wine is like going to Las Vegas and expecting to catch Arthur Miller's The Crucible.” But to really get a measure of his madness, watch this video. You won’t be sorry.
Related: Wine-Geek Heaven on the Way to the East Village
Each week, we'll be highlighting one of the great but obscure young chefs who are actually running one of the city's major restaurants. .
Name: Jordan Frosolone
Restaurant: HearthBackground: Forsolone, a native Chicagoan, put in time at Coco Pazzo, Blackbird, and Nomi, before hitting Italy for a year of heavy duty in Florence and Umbria. He then started in as a line cook for the famously demanding Marco Canora, at Hearth. When Canora went uptown to open Insieme, Forsolone was promoted to chef de cuisine and given the keys to Hearth.
Style: “I’m definitely in love with the greenmarket. Focused and balanced Italian and southern French.”
In the wonderful world of pasta, there is the fresh (usually made with eggs and rolled-out), and there is the dried (usually eggless and extruded). And then there is the unusual hybrid of sorts that Marco Canora has recently introduced on his Insieme menu. While surfing the Web, as all blog-obsessed chefs are wont to do, Canora discovered an old Venetian–style hand-cranked pasta extruder known as the Bigolaro, a.k.a. the Torchio, and if he had his doubts about its decidedly low-tech looks, the price, at $280, was right. The rustic gadget, which was patented in 1875, clamps on to any sturdy tabletop, and although it requires the strength of two Greco–Roman wrestlers to operate, the results are worth the effort.
Bev Eggleston, the Virginia pig farmer trying to revive Ossabaw pigs, has refitted his truck to run on barbecue grease! He's struck up a symbiotic friendship with Hill Country’s Robbie Richter (Richter gets to try great pork, Bev gets to eat great barbecue), and the two have come to an understanding by which Richter will save his grease for Eggleston’s special diesel engine. The idea’s not as crazy as it sounds: San Francisco asks restaurants to recycle grease for the city's bus fleet.
Nelson Hernandez was a teacher for ten years before he decided he’d rather make art than teach it. He now performs around town as a singer-songwriter and pays the rent by waiting tables at Marco Canora’s joint Insieme. Since Insieme is located directly across from the darkened Winter Garden, we thought Hernandez might be just the person to tell us what the scene has been lately at a restaurant that caters both to theatergoing tourists and to homegrown aficionados of contemporary Italian cuisine.
The fuel that fires the midtown's restaurant economy is, like electricity or natural gas, indispensable. It's that bustling, shuffling mass we like to call tourists, and with 27 theaters currently dark thanks to a stagehand strike, the tourism machine may be poised to shudder and stop. “The strike has a huge effect on us,” bemoans Insieme chef Marco Canora. “That's like 40 percent of our business.” Thanks to Insieme's high repute, the place gets a good seating between pre- and post-theater, but other restaurants are even more vulnerable.