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Karen Demasco

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The Craftastic Five

A dream team celebrates Craft’s tenth anniversary.

By Daniel Maurer

Nicole Kaplan Leaves Del Posto

Major developments on the pastry front: Del Posto's head pastry chef, Nicole Kaplan, who soared to fame as the chef at Eleven Madison Park (and, incidentally, as the creator of the Shake Shack's custard), has left the restaurant. We had heard that it was to head the dessert program at the St. Regis Hotel or, possibly, one of its restaurants, but the hotel denies this. (We’re still trying to reach Kaplan.) Del Posto GM Alfredo Ruiz confirms that Kaplan has been gone since January 1, but that her full staff is still in place and doing her menu as before. Co-owner Joe Bastianich says, “The split was amicable, and we wish Nicole nothing but the best in everything she does.” Bastianich added that the restaurant is looking at a couple of people and that, when the hire does happen, it will be “big news.”

Giant Dessert Spectacular Ushers in New York Wine & Food Festival

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival was such a big hit that a New York spinoff was probably inevitable — and it will be thus! The local incarnation will begin with Sweet on November 16. And what's Sweet, you may ask? Oh, just a "late-night dessert party" for 1,500 guests on the waterfront, featuring all the city’s top pastry chefs: Grub Street buddy Johnny Zs of Jean Georges, Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin, Karen DeMasco of Craft, and Nicole Kaplan of Del Posto. More pastry gods and goddesses will be added to the list in coming months. But there's more, as Sweet is just a warm-up for the New York City Wine & Food Festival (their site just went live). It’ll be held next fall, and we’re predicting that it will be huge, even more of a hedonistic binge and bacchanal than the Miami original. In the meantime, Sweet should be a pretty good dry run. New York City Wine and Food Festival [Official Site]

Thanksgiving for Foodies, Dummies

Our Thanksgiving Dining Guide provided a plethora of options for eating out on the big day. But many people who refuse to cook on holidays do so because they like things simple and want to avoid too much decision-making, right? Well, it doesn't get any simpler than Rob and Robin's "Talking Turkey" short list, a look at just five Manhattan restaurants, all very fine, and all with special plans for Thanksgiving. Whether it's Karen DeMasco's pumpkin fritters at Craft or Daniel Boulud's organic bird at DB Bistro Moderne, you can't possibly go wrong with any of these places. Lob a dart at the screen if you have to. Talking Turkey [NYM]