Food Porn and Chef’s Table

Food Porn….Wright Cooking

closet cooking

Closet Cooking

Okay…I put “Food Porn” in the title to get your attention, but I do have an insatiable appetite for pics of well photographed and styled food.  I love the “still life” feeling of them and the desire to either make the dish being photographed or immediately get on a plane to go to a restaurant in a distant city…and maybe one just down the road.  Some of my favorite Instagram-ers of food porn are Wright Kitchen (pic above), Closet cooking (amazing recipes on this site) and S.Gurrity, one of my favorites!…check them out!

chefs table

Speaking of food, I just stumbled upon an awesome new series on Netflix called Chef’s Table!  It was created by David Gelb, most notable for producing Jiro Dreams of Sushi…another must see documentary.  At first I just thought I’d like it because they were talking about food, chef’s, recipes and restaurants.  Wow, was I wrong!  My plan was to binge watch the six one-hour episodes, but I’ve only watched two of them, because now I kind of want to savor the experience.  The first in the series is focused on Chef Massimo Botturamossimothe chef/owner of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin star restaurant in Modena, Italy.  Osteria Francescana was named one of the S. Pellegrino 50 best restaurants in the world in 2014.  It was interesting to hear about his life and the history of how he became a chef from watching his mother cook and hiding under his grandmother’s kitchen table to escape his brother.  But the most fascinating part of this episode, to me, was how he created a recipe that saved the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, where he grew up, from financial ruin after a devastating earthquake in May 2012.  The earthquake destroyed millions of pounds/wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  The President of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium (who knew there was such a title?) came to Massimo asking for help.  Massimo created a recipe titled “Risotto Cacio e Pepe” using a unique method of simmering the cheese in water to make parmesan broth, separating it into layers and then using the different layers to cook risotto into a unique, creamy, one-of-a kind, irresistible dish (it’s quite a process.)  He publicized the recipe and every noteworthy restaurant around the world wanted to make it. The restaurants bought up all of the wheels of cheese, no jobs were lost and no cheese-maker went out of business in Modena.  What a great story about the power of food and how it can unify people and save a whole city/region in the process.  I loved hearing the rest of his family story too, but you’ll just have to watch it for yourself.

Osteria Francescana

Dan Barber, the Executive Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Dan Barber, the Executive Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill & Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

The second episode is about Dan Barberthe chef at Blue Hill Restaurant in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in the Hudson Valley.  This guy is PASSIONATE about bringing back farming and eating to it’s roots…now, fashionably, known as farm-to-table.  He takes it to new heights!  He supports good agriculture and good farming…meaning that a farm (he works with many) should work as a small self-sustaining, or inter-connected, unit that can sell their pure product to him, and other, restaurants.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but, for instance, they feed some of their free roaming chickens a kind of red pepper puree and the result is a “red pepper egg,” red yolkwhich is quite a unique item to offer to restaurants.  The farms rotate crops, raise animals humanely and offer the milks, cheeses and crops from their farms to restaurants.  Barber also has an interesting story and ponders whether being a restaurateur and inviting people to eat at the table is his attempt to fill the void left by the death of his mother when he was only four.  Again, you’ll have to watch to hear the rest of his very focused, obsessive relationship with food.  I like this quote from him after a big catering mishap in his early years as a chef, “Failure is very important.  It introduces you to an idea that you never want to return to.”

blue hill restaurant

 

blue hill stone barn

Blue Hill at Stone Barn

Bon Appetit!!

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

4 Comments

  1. Well I did what you didn’t and binged watched all 6 episodes and then went back the next day and watched them again. What a great series…so interesting on a passionate level. You felt their creative passion…makes me want to go to all their restaurants.

  2. We are definitely going to get into this show!!! Esp the Blue Hill one… I’ve always been so curious about that place!

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