Archive for the 'Chefs' Category

Adieu Chef

June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, chef, author and raconteur has been found dead at age 61. Waves of tributes pouring in from around the world are broadcast on television and every social media channel. His uncompromising qualities are remembered with admiration: “Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” His network show “Parts Unknown” made us face the reality that we could all try a little harder to coexist. And while on location in France, Anthony Bourdain threw in the towel and took his own life.

Rest in Peace, sir.

There are no six degrees of separation here. Yes, I read Kitchen Confidential, Yes, yes, I consider food like the ultimate art form, a creative experience for all the senses, all ages, all cultures. Hell yes, I do binge-watch Bourdain on CNN, longing to travel more fearlessly, armed only with a spoon. And yes, this morning, I awoke to news of his suicide and didn’t notice until now that I spent the entire morning reading news stories. My response is to honor the memory of this storyteller and food evangelist whom I admired with the hope that others will raise a glass silently with me.

Adieu Chef. Thank you for the culinary diplomacy you championed worldwide. Your appetites for other people and learning will be sorely missed.

According to, CNN will “be remembering our friend and colleague” with a special tribute, “Remembering Anthony Bourdain,” airing on June 8, at 10:00 pm (EST), and again at 10:00 pm (EST) on June 10.

“If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

“Life is complicated. It’s filled with nuance. It’s unsatisfying… If I believe in anything, it is doubt. The root cause of all life’s problems is looking for a simple fucking answer.”

“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

The Most Memorable Moments From Anthony Bourdain’s Shows

“Basic cooking skills are a virtue… the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill. [It’s] as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”


Longtime Wolfgang Puck Chef Matt Bencivenga Has Died

January 28, 2016

“Catering is a lot like a military operation; it has little room for error,” says Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events President Carl Schuster. “A lot of chefs don’t understand that. But Matt Bencivenga is that rarity: he never misses a beat.”

Chef Bencivenga’s page on the Wolfgang Puck site: includes a playlist.



He’ll be missed.

It’s a sad day for the restaurant industry, as news spread late yesterday that longtime Wolfgang Puck chef Matt Bencivenga died from pancreatic cancer.

Bencivenga began his career on the East Coast in the 1990’s before moving to Los Angeles and eventually landing as sous chef at Patina. In 1998 he joined up with Wolfgang Puck, eventually helping to open Spago Beverly Hills as executive sous. Not long after, Bencivenga undertook the catering arm of the Puck empire as both executive chef and managing partner, where he would remain until the end of his life.

With a long history in Los Angeles kitchens and more than two decades in hospitality overall, Bencivenga touched many of the chefs and restaurateurs who still make this city run today. Reached for comment, the Wolfgang Puck team had the following to say:

It is with a heavy heart that we share that Matt Bencivenga, Partner and Executive Chef of Wolfgang Puck Catering, passed away this past Monday morning after a long courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.  In his twenty years with the company, Chef Matt touched the hearts of all that worked with and around him. His talent, compassion, and drive will continue to inspire.

In honor of Matt, the family asks you to please consider a memorial gift to advance the neuroendocrine tumor research program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center/UCLA under the direction of Dr. Tim Donahue. Donations may be directed to Melissa Brody, Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation ; 8-950 Factor Building, Box 951780, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1780.  (310) (noting “In honor of Matt Bencivenga.”)

Matt Bencivenga will be missed.

The Fine Art of Fine Dining at @Alinea

November 27, 2012

After you view the video of a dessert being created by Chef Grant Achatz, please read more about Alinea Restaurant where you purchase tickets rather than schedule a reservation.

Visit their site at www., or better still, visit the restaurant, located in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, 1723 North Halsted. No walk-in dining options. All dining must be ticketed. Although tickets are transferrable, they are nonrefundable. Chicago, home to many fine restaurants including Henri, EL Ideas, Acadia, Everest, L20, Moto, Naha, and Schwa among others, is a destination where chefs and foodies pilgrimage. Even aspiring locations, like Goosefoot, make their mark with innovative combinations and redefining American (new) cuisine. Alinea brings the dining experience to a new level as artform/performance.

If you can’t secure your New Year’s reservation… TICKETING – which opened Nov 7 – you can still purchase the cookbook, Alinea on Amazon. Since dining, food, and art are fused at this restaurant, it would make sense that it is more suited for coffee table than kitchen as a cookbook.

“A pioneer in American cuisine, chef Grant Achatz represents the best of the molecular gastronomy movement–brilliant fundamentals and exquisite taste paired with a groundbreaking approach to new techniques and equipment. ALINEA showcases Achatz’s cuisine with more than 100 dishes (totaling 600 recipes) and 600 photographs presented in a deluxe volume. Three feature pieces frame the book: Michael Ruhlman considers Alinea’s role in the global dining scene, Jeffrey Steingarten offers his distinctive take on dining at the restaurant, and Mark McClusky explores the role of technology in the Alinea kitchen. Buyers of the book will receive access to a website featuring video demonstrations, interviews, and an online forum that allows readers to interact with Achatz and his team.”


If visiting Alinea’s website to buy tickets for your first dining “event” at Alinea proves to be fruitless, I can share some online advice from fellow California foodie, Kim T. of Tustin, CA:

“Tip:  Stalk their facebook page for “day-of” openings.  We were able to snag a 2-seater for prime-time that night.  Btw, our table could have easily seated 4 people so it depends on the luck of the draw.  I guess we were really lucky.”

Here’s to discovery!

Fearless Art of Food for Pleasure #cookforJulia @TheAcademy

August 13, 2012

It is with absolutely no intended disrespect that I confess that my childhood impression of legendary Julia Child was that she…was a female impersonator; a male comic in pearls wielding a knife. My respect for her since then has dwarfed such a foolish notion. I have learned much from her remarkable gift for making cooking pleasurable and validating the fact that loving good food requires no pedigree or certification. I see Child as an inspiration for Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007). Think back where restaurant critic Anton Ego concludes: ” I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*.” @PixarTalk Was it Julia Child who launched the modern foodie movement with her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook and television show? Learning that August 7-15 was dubbed Julia Child Restaurant Week (by Knopf her publisher, of course) set me scrambling to celebrate.

This year marks her would-be 100th birthday (she passed in 2004). What better place to raise a glass to Julia Child’s contribution to foodies the world over than near her Pasadena upbringing, in Los Angeles. Okay, it’s a stretch but you want to hear why.
Los Angeles offers the experience of TAIX French Restaurant, where a special prix fixe menu features a Julia Child inspired meal. Savor your choice of signature dishes prepared a la Child: sole meuniere, boeuf bourguignon, or coq au vin. Your meal also includes an amuse-bouche, a salad or soup (TAIX vegetable soup is legendary), french bread (don’t expect sourdough), and a dessert of floating island. Order a glass of your favorite red wine and enjoy.

TAIX vegetable soup

TAIX vegetable soup

TAIX opened in 1927 and relocated to its current location in 1962. Before you start out for 1911 W.Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90026, note that you’ll be looking for the Glendale Blvd, Sunset Blvd. and Reservoir Street intersection in Echo Park region. Valet parking and atmosphere await you. The Julia Child menu is offered as a special only through August 15. TAIX is celebrating a milestone of their own, 85 years in business, and the roast chicken dinner is $10 but only Sunday through Friday until August 31. Make a reservation using @OpenTable and ask for Bernard.

“The French Chef” – PBS television series which created my first impression of this tall, jolly, alto-voiced chef – is available for viewing online at @PBSFood A reconstruction of her home kitchen which doubled as the actual tv show set is on display at the Smithsonian’s national Museum of American History. Although, according to the Wall Street Journal, it has been closed for renovations earlier this year, it will be open from August 15-September 3.

Meryl Streep channeled the bon vivant spirit of Julia Child in 2009 and won an Oscar for “Julie and Julia.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been hosting “Oscars Otdoors: Summer Film Series” this summer. By pairing food trucks (organized by @RoamingHunger) with with a outdoor picnic setting for weekend film screenings, the Academy has created a signature L.A. recipe for summer entertainment. The surprise addition and concluding film is “Julie and Julia” – not in keeping with Child’s 100th but in honor of fellow fearless creative femme, Nora Ephron. The film was adapted from the book of the same name where the author/blogger was inspired to fearlessly cook hr way through Child’s own cookbook. Fearlessness inspires art and this reason above all seems an ideal one to celebrate!
Bon Appetit!

@HarrietKCRW Evan Kleiman to close Angeli Caffe January 13 :(

January 5, 2012

On January 13, Angeli Caffe on Melrose will serve its last meals before closing forever. Evan Kleiman, chef, restauranteur, best-selling author, and host of “Good Food” on KCRW, shared her passion for Italian cuisine, especially for breads, with hungry Angelinos. “In December of 1984, Evan Kleiman opened Angeli Caffe, a hip Italian restaurant on Melrose Avenue designed to serve simple rustic food in a modern environment.”

It was only in March of 2010 that we were celebrating Angeli’s 25th anniversary. The web is abuzz this morning with news about this sad reality in the life of Los Angeles food culture.

Evan will continue to be featured on KCRW 89.9 FM, sharing her insights and her encounters with chefs and vendors alike at the weekly Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. Very “Good Food” indeed.

Open Table reservations are recommended. The restaurant will be open every night for dinner up until closing except on Monday, January 9.

Angeli Caffe
7274 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046,0,7238851.story

Thanks to @elinashatkin for the video link:

Booksigning! Wed Nov 30 9:00-11:00 at Bar Pintxo in Santa Monica

November 30, 2011

Source: Grub Street:

Seven Chefs Signing Cart for a Cause Cookbook Tomorrow at Bar Pintxo

By Hadley Tomicki

Tomorrow morning at 9:00 A.M., the public is invited to meet seven city chefs, who will preview and sign the forthcoming Cart For a Cause Cookbook at Bar Pintxo, where Joe Miller will make tortilla Española and coffee for the crowd. Miller will be joined by The Cart for a Cause food truck, as well as by chefs Susan Feniger (of Border Grill), Akasha Richmond, Mark Gold of Eva, Larry Nicola of Nic’s, Oliverio chef Mirko Paderno, and Bebe Flynn of Miss Lily’s Trading Co. The cookbook collects signature recipes made on the truck, which has rolled through the city since 2010 with gather funds for St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels, by over 40 of its L.A. guest-chefs and can be purchased through St. Vincent’s website.

November 30, 9:00-11:00 A.M. at Bar Pintxo, 109 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica.

@nytimes new cookbooks hightlighted “When the Chefs Come Home,” by Julia Moskin

November 30, 2011

Please read the full article here:

Journalist Julia Moskin writes, “A cache of at-home guides by high-flying chefs arrived in 2011: “The Family Meal: Home Cooking With Ferran Adrià” (Phaidon, $29.95); “Heston Blumenthal at Home” (Bloomsbury, $60); “Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals From My Home to Yours” by Mario Batali (Ecco, $29.99); “My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking” by John Besh (Andrews McMeel, $35); and “Home Cooking With Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes” by Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Clarkson Potter, $40).

“As a cookbook, “The Family Meal” has several nifty features. All the recipes have been scaled to serve 2, 6, 20 and 75 people; that flexibility is rare, and helpful. Each recipe is laid out in a kind of stop-motion photography style, with balloons of text, and each is presented as part of a complete menu.”

Cookbooks by chefs, tailored to a home kitchen and family audience, sound like ideal holiday gifts if cooking is your passion! (Feel free to share the NYTimes article with Santa to add to your wish list.)


@bordergrill Holiday Cooking Class this Sat Dec 3 – Spaces are limited!

November 29, 2011

You’ve been waiting for this!

Holiday Cooking Class:
Roasted Meats, Sweet Treats, and Sensational Sides
at Border Grill Downtown LA
Saturday, December 3, 2011
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters”, are going old school and teaching you how to make their all-time favorite holiday dishes!

For only $75, this demonstration-style cooking class includes a multi-course lunch (!) at Border Grill Downtown LA, signature cocktails, and a recipe booklet.
Classes fill up fast . . .
Make your reservations today!
Border Grill Downtown LA
445 S. Figueroa St. • Los Angeles, CA 90071
213.486.5171 •

@Patina Patina Celebrates 22 Years With All-Star Alumni Dinner

October 31, 2011




Patina Celebrates 22 Years With All-Star Alumni Dinner.

From GrubStreet:

“To honor its 22nd birthday, Patina plans to pack its Downtown kitchen full of its former executive chefs, a group of alumni that includes Walter Manzke, Octavio Becerra, Eric Greenspan, David Feau, Michael Otsuka, and Theo Schoenegger, cooking alongside Patina chefs Tony Esnault, Sarah Koechling, and the empire’s founder, Joachim Splichal. The eight chefs will each produce part of a nine-course dinner with options for wine pairings ($199 with wine, $150 without). David Féau will offer his John Dory, Manzke will be on duck duty, and Greenspan will make a grilled cheese.

“Just kidding, Greenspan will be working with lobster for the affair, while Becerra will produce a fall terrine. After the dinner, there will be a separate after-party starting at 10:00 P.M. held over oysters and “pigs and pinot.” If the grand dinner is out of your price range, this might be the best bet to come mingle with the chefs, with a cost of $30.

“While the full dinner menu his yet to be released, we have a bit of a sketch of which ingredient or dish each chef will be working with, below. So if taking a trip back in time with one of L.A.’s few surviving, and still thriving, fine-dining experiences is up your alley, you can make reservations directly with Patina.”

Patina Alumni Dinner
November 2nd, 2011
6:30 P.M. Cocktails
7:15 P.M. Dinner


Joachim Splichal

Michael Otsuka
Porcini and Rabbit

Octavio Becerra
Fall Terrine

Tony Esnault
Vegetable Mosaic

Theo Schoenegger
Egg Ravioli

David Féau
Saint Pierre

Eric Greenspan

Walter Manzke

Sarah Koechling

@Patina Win Two Tickets to Patina’s Oysters, Pig, and Pinot After-Party

October 31, 2011

Grub Street editors want to be tickled by your opinion and are offering tickets for Patina’s 22nd anniversary dinner after party if you can convince them in 60 words or less: of oysters, pinot, or pig, which is the most kick-ass?

From Grub Street:

Win Two Tickets to Patina’s Oysters, Pig, and Pinot After-Party.

“Lest we get wrapped in digital toilet paper, we’re offering a treat to our readers. We’re giving away two tickets to one reader to attend next Wednesday’s “Oysters, Pigs, and Pinot” at Patina, the after-party following the restaurant’s 22nd anniversary dinner where alumni chefs like Walter Manzke and Octavio Becerra will join Joachim Splichal (who’s making a potato chip sandwich with scallops and caviar for the occasion) and Tony Esnault in the kitchen. The party will find guests mingling with all the guest chefs, while digging into some brine, swine, and vine. How do you win the tickets?

“To enter the contest for the pair of tickets (each valued at $30), simply offer us a humorous reflection in 60 words or less that offers your opinion on which one of the three included ingredients (oysters, pinot, or pig) is the most kick-ass. Our hard-working Grub Street editors, who will together pick the winner, want to laugh here folks, so please make them funny, using all the creative comedic power you can muster.

Send all entries to the care of Grub Street Los Angeles over email <> by 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 1st. (SHAME ON NY MAGAZINE EDITORS FOR MAKING A CALENDAR DATE AN ORDINAL NUMBER – FAUX PAS!) Our cabal of editors will hold a loya jirga (a meeting) the next day to decide which entry we like the most, and the winner shall be known by all the next day. Then presto-change-o, that winner will find themselves the winner of two tickets to the Patina event, just like that. See New York Magazine’s official contest rules here and best of luck to all who dare to enter.”

Good Luck!