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Yuji Wakiya

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Who Will Win the Golden Clog?

Culinary writer and BFF to the stars Michael Ruhlman has announced the Golden Clog awards, a new unofficial contest, with multiple chef categories. The winners will be announced, no doubt with much facetious fanfare, at this year’s South Beach Food & Wine Festival. The categories are as follows:
FERGUS AWARD — for best achievement in offal.
ALTON AWARD — for the food personality who can actually cook.
MARIO AWARD — for the chef-restaurateur who best multitasked, merchandised, multiplatformed and generally whored himself yet still continued to make significant and valuable contributions to the restaurant landscape.
ROCCO AWARD — for worst career move by a talented chef.
CHEF'S CHEF AWARD — for the least heralded yet most deserving working chef.

Wakiya’s Only Slightly Japanese Bang Bang Chicken

Although Wakiya, the new high-end Chinese restaurant in Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel, is staffed almost entirely by Japanese chefs, the food is traditional Chinese, only slightly modernized. A good example is this “Bang Bang Chicken,” a classic Szechuan recipe in which, historically, a stick was used to soften the meat (hence the name). As prepared by Yuji Wakiya’s able chef de cuisine, Koji Hagihara, there are some hidden Japanese elements as well, but none that the eye can easily detect. As always, mouse over the different elements to see them described in Hagihara’s own words. Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street

We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street

Ian Schrager’s Wakiya opened last night, bringing a much-awaited conclusion to the search for a luxury restaurant for the Gramercy Park Hotel. After an aborted engagement with Allen Yau, Schrager was able to bring over famed Japanese chef Yuji Wakiya to create a Chinese restaurant in the hotel. Grub Street correspondent Alexandra Vallis was on the spot to see what guests thought – including, we were happy to see, none other than Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, who noted approvingly that “this is what American people want.” Did the other diners agree? Check out the video and see.

City Backs Down on Calorie-Info Law; Gordon Ramsay Accused of TV Fakery

The city, stared down by the adamant opposition of big restaurant chains, has pushed back implementation of its calorie-info law for three months. [NYP] The former manager of Dillons, the midtown restaurant to be “rescued” by Gordon Ramsay on his new show, is suing the chef, claiming the program was “a prime example of fake TV” with planted customers, rotten meat put out for dramatic effect, and worse. [NYP] The city’s best hamburgers are all the product of one great butcher, Pat LaFrieda, whose custom grinds, though secret, are geared to each restaurant’s cooking methods. [Men’s Vogue]

Gordon Ramsay’s Dark Side Revealed; Staten Island Pizza Conquers the World in Vegas

According to a revealing new profile by Heat author Bill Buford, Gordon Ramsay isn’t a bad guy, “but he does get angry, helplessly and uncontrollably angry — not an earthly anger but something darker — and has trouble knowing how to stop.” [NYer] State legislator proposes an A through F system of grading restaurant hygiene, but the Department of Health is against it. [amNY] A Staten Island pizzeria beats out a field of 65 from six countries to win the 23rd International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. It’s Denino’s, right? Joe and Pat’s? No. It’s Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza. [NYDN]

Yau Already Replaced at Gramercy Park; Everybody's Blogging

Ian Schrager has already found a star chef to replace Allen Yau at the Gramercy Park Hotel: The Japanese-born nouvelle-Chinese star Yuji Wakiya, who almost came here two years ago to do a restaurant at the Bryant Park Hotel. [NYP] Related: Restaurant Happenings: Sirio’s New Address? [NYM] Bruni won’t have to bear the Diner’s Journal load alone anymore; we can now also look forward to the musings of Julia Moskin, Kim Seversen, and other contemplative food writers. [NYT] Meanwhile, Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert and the Food & Wine staff have launched their own blogs. (The Ripper’s requires a subscription to The Wine Spectator.) [Snack]