The Sous Chef Takes Center Stage

A Live Chat with Sous Chef Author Michael Gibney, Monday night, April 14, at The Strand in New York City


A quick note:  It will be my distinct privilege to converse with Michael Gibney, author of the wonderful new book Sous Chef, Monday night in the Rare Books Room at The Strand.  Details here.

If you missed it, my interview with Michael ran recently here on Toqueland in two parts.

If you’re in NYC, we’d both love to see you there.

– Andrew


A Writer, An Agent, and an Editor Walk into a Cooking School . ..

An Upcoming Two-Part Class at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City Takes a Look at All Aspects of Selling, Writing, and Publishing a Cookbook

There are still some seats available for a two-part class I’m co-teaching at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City next week. The class, Developing a Cookbook from Conception to Publication, will take place on two consecutive Wednesday nights, October 3 and October 10. I’ll be joined on the dais by my agent, David Black, and Pam Cannon, executive editor of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House; among other projects, Pam is editing my forthcoming cookbook collaboration with Michael White.

David, Pam, and I will examine all aspects of the cookbook process, from ideation and proposal-writing to the pitch/sell to the writing, editing, and marketing/publication.

In addition to whatever wisdom I have to offer, this is a rare chance to hear from some of the top people in the publishing game. If you are a writer or aspiring writer who might be interested, you can register here. If you know somebody who has cookbook aspirations, I’d appreciate if you passed this along.



Once More With Feeling: Chanterelle Comes to De Gustibus

A Rare Chance to Revisit Signature Dishes from One of the Most Quintessentially New York Restaurants, and Enjoy a Live Conversation with Chef David Waltuck

David Waltuck

Hi, all,

I’ll be wrapping up and publishing quite a few backlogged posts over the next week or two as I’m just digging out from a few short-term deadlines, as well as some travel, including a trip to Chicago for the El Bulli dinner at Next, about which I’ll be filing a report in a few days.

For the moment, however, I want to briefly mention that David Waltuck and I will re-telling the Chanterelle story in dialogue and dishes at De Gustibus in New York City Wednesday night (April 18). I’ve just learned that there are still some seats available, and encourage Toqueland readers to snap them up here.

The class will be like most De Gustibus presentations in that David will be demonstrating a number of dishes that will also be served up to those in attendance, along with wine pairings. What will be unusual is that I’ll be on the stage with him, and we’ll be discussing quite a bit between the bites: We’ll put the dishes in the context of Chanterelle’s timeline, and talk about the ins and outs of collaboration (we penned the restaurant’s book together a few years back). And, as I’ve just begun working on my own tome about the chefs of the 1970s and 1980s, an era that David and his wife Karen helped define, we’ll also engage in some storytelling about those formative dining days in New York City.

Beyond all of that, this will be a rare opportunity for fans of Chanterelle to savor another taste of the restaurant (how often does that happen?) including David’s signature Seafood Sausage.  The evening will begin with a Chanterelle amuse and end the way meals at the restaurant did, with elegant little fruit gelees. The full menu is as follows:

Cold Beet Soup with Crème Fraîche and Caviar

Grilled Seafood Sausage with Beurre Blanc Sauce

Potato Risotto with Sautéed Foie Gras

Sautéed Turbot with Peas, Pearl Onions, and Pancetta

Roast Lamb Loin with Marjoram and Mini Moussaka

Chanterelle Fruit Gelees

I’ll be skipping lunch that day, and hope to see you there.


Chefs’ Holidays: You Are There

(Sort-Of) Live Blogging Two Days at the Ahwahnee with Chefs Rick Moonen, Jesse Cool, and Jimmy Bradley

Having written a single, summary piece of my first session at the Ahwahnee this week, I’ve decided to try something different for the next two days: As the chefs (Jimmy Bradley, Jesse Cool, and Rick Moonen) conduct demos and Moonen prepares a five-course dinner for Thursday night, I’ll periodically update this post with glimpses of the cooking demos, socializing, and cooking as it all unspools.

(NOTE: I’m not sure which version of this will be sent out to email subscribers by the automated system, so if you’re reading this post via a subscription, you might want to visit the actual site page for the latest update.)

Here goes:

Wednesday Morning, 10am: Stalking the Green Papaya

We actually begin our adventure with a little ingredient drama from Tuesday, when Rick, who showed up a few days early with his girlfriend Roni Fields and his chef de cuisine from rm seafood in Las Vegas, Chris Starkus, realized that there wasn’t enough green papaya in the house for both his cooking demo today and the gala dinner tomorrow. (Hey, these things happen: happy diners who were moaning over Chef Peter Chastain’s dinner last night would be shocked to learn that the perfectly poached and chilled lobsters we were chowing down on at 7pm hadn’t been delivered to the kitchen until 4:30pm. These kinds of things happen to chefs, and are recovered from, every day.)

Rick Moonen in the Ahwahnee Kitchen, Tuesday afternoon.

The Ahwahnee, located as it is in the middle of a national park, couldn’t procure the necessary papaya on such short notice, so the other toques did what any respectable chefs would do in the same situation: they broke out their cell phones and bailed Rick out.

The final solution: Emily Luchetti, who was part of the Chefs’ Holidays session that wrapped up last night, had her San Francisco restaurant Waterbar order a crate of the precious cargo, which was set to arrive by 9am today in the city. At 10am, Jimmy Bradley, of The Red Cat, is to swing by the restaurant on his way out of town, put the crate in the trunk, and haul it up here for arrival this afternoon. (Can you hear the Mission impossible theme as you read this? No? OK, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic.)… 

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Hotel California

Notes from Chefs’ Holidays at the Ahwahnee, Part 1

Sean Baker introduces himself to Chefs' Holidays attendees. (photo by Jessica Abdo, courtesy Ahwahnee Hotel)

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, JANUARY 17, 2011—It’s not right to generalize but I’ve long felt that it’s a victim-less crime when you do so in a positive way, like when you say that you love Italians (which I do) or Australians (guilty, again) or that you never met a meanie from Seattle (seriously, the CEOs in that city will give you a lift to the airport).

I know too much about the cooking trade to believe for a second that all Northern California chefs are nice guys and gals, but the three I’ve been with since Sunday night—Sean Baker, Peter Chastain, and Emily Luchetti—tempt me toward that conclusion nonetheless. The four of us just wrapped up Session 3 of Chefs’ Holidays at the Ahwahnee, a magnificent hotel in Yosemite National Park, where the chefs conducted cooking demos and I acted as moderator and host.

Having arrived in San Francisco on Saturday, the “work week” (yeah, right) began for me on Sunday when Luchetti, executive pastry chef of Farallon and Waterbar, picked me up at the Huntington Hotel, perched high atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill. Emily and I had never met before, but she was kind enough to give me a lift from the city up to Yosemite.

The four-hour drive passed remarkably quickly. Not only was it a beautiful, sunny, unseasonably warm day, but we had the benefit of being total strangers. We discussed everything from the restaurant scene in our respective cities to writing books (Emily has penned six) to the Beard Foundation (Emily recently served on the board; I was married at the Beard House in Manhattan) to the French Culinary Institute (she’s currently a dean; I studied there).

Emily was also kind enough to consent to a lengthy interview in which we discussed everything from the pastry arts in general to her individual career path; she walked me through the formative days of Stars restaurant, one of the most important American dining establishments of the past 40 years, the place where Jeremiah Tower reached full flight and became one of our first celebrity chefs. Emily was part of the opening team of Stars as a line cook, but tired of the savory slog, and with Tower’s support, began transitioning to pastry, eventually becoming executive pastry chef.  Wasn’t it nice of Jeremiah to encourage such a drastic change?… 

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Appearances: Toqueland in Person, from Coast to Coast

Meet Me in Person at the Ahwahnee Hotel, DeGustibus, and ICE

I’ve got a variety of personal appearances and the like scheduled in the coming months and wanted to let you know about them.

Courtesy DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite



FROM JANUARY 15 TO JANUARY20, I’ll be hosting two sessions of the Ahwahnee Hotel’s Chefs’ Holidays® program.  The magnificent Yosemite National Park hotel (pictured above) runs this program every January, gathering three chefs for each two-and-a-half-day session and inviting a writer or editor like myself to be the master of ceremonies (what I call the Mister Roarke figure), moderating the demos and performing other sociable functions.  The first session (January 15 to 18) will feature cooking demos by a trio of California chefs: Peter Chastain of Prima in Walnut Creek (Chastain will also cook a gala dinner on the last night of the session); Emily Luchetti of Farallon and Waterbar in San Francisco; and Sean Baker of Gather in Berkeley.  The second session (January 18 to 20) will feature Rick Moonen of RM Seafood in Las Vegas (who will serve a gala dinner on the last night), Jesse Cool of Flea Street Market in Menlo Park, CA; and Jimmy Bradley, of NYC’s The Red Cat and The Harrison, with whom I’ll be traveling and dining on the way to and from the left coast… if I have anything left in the tank at the end of each day, I’ll be posting daily from the road.

(Fun fact:  I just learned while reading the Steve Jobs biography that Jobs was married at the Ahwahnee.  This will hopefully supplant my previous historical tidbit about the place: the set designers of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining modeled the lobby of the Overlook Hotel on its lobby.)

To learn more about this program, or book a visit (think there’s still room), check out the event’s page at the Ahwahnee’s website…. 

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