When I walked into the Curry Hill restaurant Haldi several weeks ago at dinner time I was surprised and a little giddy that the person who greeted me and my guests was Hemant Mathur. Hemant and his business partners own six Indian restaurants in NYC, and I had serendipitously picked the right one, the spot where Hemant was overseeing the new menu. In addition to earning a Michelin star at two previous spots in his career, Devi and Tulsi, I have been lucky to eat Hemant’s food when he was in the kitchens previously at Ama and Tamarind.
What better to do but ask him to order for us, which I did. I am not certain what part of the meal I relished most, the seamless flow of one enticing and varied dish to another all based on three distinct culinary traditions of Kolkata-Bengali, Marwari, and Jewish, or the exclamations of pure happiness coming from my dining partners who had rarely, if ever, experienced this type of attention to tradition and modern preparation in an Indian meal.
THIS WEEK: A PROSECCO DISCUSSION WITH ALAN TARDI
RESCHEDULED TO APRIL 1: ALICE RANDALL, BESTSELLING NOVELIST AND COUNTRY MUSIC SONGWRITER
It was my good fortune to speak recently with Caroline Randall Williams and her mother, Alice Randall. They are the co-authors of Soul Food Love-Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family. I hope you will make the time to listen, buy the book, read their amazing story, and use the many creative recipes while creating your own kitchen legacy.
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Great show at Green Building Supply last night with Eric and Denyce Rusch of Breadtopia. We consumed terrific red fife bread and cookies. Thanks to both of them, and our sponsors GBS and Everybody's Whole Foods. You can hear part of the discussion in the second half of the show on our "Iowa Cooks" segment.
The first half of the show features Alice Medritch, author of the new and highly-acclaimed book, Flavor Flours. Join us. Here is what Alice wrote to me about her book:
"The book is about new ingredients and a whole new approach to what people insist on calling Gluten Free, and I want to discuss why that is so, and what the advantage is of not thinking about these flours as merely substitutes. This book is about broadening horizons and new tastes and textures. The recipes are mostly quite easy, of course I have advice about how to best to succeed with the recipes, but there is not rocket science involved." This is going to be a fascinating look into what up, until now, would be considered baking outside the box.
This Wednesday I welcome back to the show Matthew Kenney. I have great admiration for Matthew. In the 90's he was in the top tier of chefs as a chef/owner of Matthew's and other restaurants in New York City. But, much to the dismay, confusion, and derision of many of his colleagues he changed course in the new century to become an untiring champion of the plant-based, raw food lifestyle. He has applied his extensive classical training, modernist techniques, and experience to elevate raw food cuisine to a level that wows people at his restaurants, his culinary academy, and through numerous books. Despite numerous overwhelming personal and business challenges, his commitment to educating the public about the benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle is unwavering.
"I feel like I talked way too long," said author Rebecca Katz. "I thought you would interrupt me if you needed to."
When what you have to say is not only fascinating, engaging, and critically important to anyone tuned into the show, why break in and disturb the flow. That's exactly how I felt listening to Rebecca talk about her new book, The Healthy Mind Cookbook. My hope is you will take the time to listen to her. I believe her approach to food, nutrition, and cooking can make the kitchen a safe place to experiment and grow in for those who presently are not comfortable there, and also broadens the perspective of seasoned cooks by introducing them to a wide variety of previously unthought of flavor possibilities.
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Andi Mitchell, the author of the blog “Can You Stay for Dinner,” and the new book, It Was Me All Along kicks off this week’s show. Andie’s book is the story of how she lost half her body weight, and learned that her life’s journey encompasses much more than the single issue of weight. Her book is written in a straightforward style, and chronicles how her love of food also became her vehicle of choice to mask her emotional struggles. It’s a look at how one woman took control of her life, achieved the immediate goal of weight loss, and applied that knowledge to become a mindful eater, and, in addition, grew to become cognizant of the many other complex issues that comprise our lives on this planet.
Andie’s story is inspiring so I hope you’ll take the time to listen. You can watch an interview with Andie on Good Morning America here.
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LA personal chef, Nick Trombetta, joined us for a LIVE Great Taste Tuesday night at Green Building Supply. Nick put his Italian heritage into play showing us how to make rosemary focaccia and a perfect dish for a cold winter night, creamy polenta with three cheeses, shitake mushrooms, and bok choy. I would be remiss if I didn't state that I'm not certain I have ever tasted and enjoyed a better polenta dish. All the flavors married together for a sparkling taste experience that highlighted a very light and nuance touch with ingredients that can be extremely heavy.
You can listen to part one of the show with Nick at 7:00 pm Wednesday and the replay is at 7:00 am on Friday. Part two airs on Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00 pm and again on Friday, February 13 at 7:00 am. Don't forget: Great Taste is LIVE and FREE with a cooking demo the first Tuesday of every month brought to you by Everybody's Whole Foods and Green Building Supply.
You can watch the entire show with Nick here, courtesy of Jason Strong and Fairfield Media Center.
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After two weeks on the road, I am more convinced than ever that ChefsFeed is the one go-to app to have on your smart phone if you want the best restaurant recommendations. The content on the site is chef-driven, and top name chefs, too.
The app is clearly focussed on presenting you concise information on where the best chefs like to eat, and what their favorite dishes are on the menu. Jared Rivera, co-founder of ChefsFeed is my guest on the first half of the show. Did you know that people can still get gout? Listen in and find out how Jared and gout had two encounters.
Inspiring is the one word that comes to mind when I think about this week’s show. Both of my guests inspire me, and I believe you, the listener, will feel the same way after tuning in. It’s very easy to become cynical looking at the devastation of our natural resources, and the plundering of the environment that goes on in a world dominated by industrial agriculture in the guise of feeding the ever-growing population of human beings. I think a little cynicism may have just snuck through in the previous sentence. BUT…..Deborah Madison and Fred Kirschenmann, through their words and actions, can pull us out of that dark spot where it’s too easy to become enmeshed in futility, and turn our attention to the immense change that is the reality of the present and future cultivation of our planet.
It’s an honor to welcome Deborah back to the show. We’re planning to talk seasonally so she can offer insights into what fresh foods play well with the weather. Though we have a variety of micro climates in the lower 48 states there are plenty of foods that are either grown locally or easy to find at the market or store that represent the changing seasons on our plate. For decades Deborah has championed the use of local/regional produce, and showcased that world in numerous award-winning cookbooks like Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and Vegetable Literacy. In this visit, we’ll focus our discussion on the abundance of delights still available in the autumn, and provide some assistance for home cooks to not only expand their repertoire, but revel in the experience.
During our “Iowa Cooks” segment, Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, and President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York, provides a vision of how significant positive change is not only already in motion in the cultivation and production of our food, but why it is inevitable.