December 26, 2010 |
Matt Ridgway calls the slabs that come out of his curing room at PorcSalt, simply, bacon. Which doesn't quite tell the whole story. That the pork bellies come from flavorful, old breeds - Berkshire and Berkshire-Duroc crosses, that last one from Breakway Farms in Mount Joy. That it is cured in the Bucks County honey his father, Josef, collects. Or alternatively - for 10 days - with red Burgundy wine. Or that it is, by design, hot-smoked for 10 hours over fruitwood at temperatures 10 degrees higher than name brands, which renders it (unlike commercial bacons)
November 4, 2010 |
It was a fine soiree at the Union League last month, champagne flutes bobbing across what was once the North Marble Dining Room, diver scallops seared and plated one by one, and at the caviar station, three types of caviar, best sampled, guests were instructed, by dabbing a dollop just below the first knuckle of the index finger, "the way they taste it in Tashkent. " It was the first anniversary of the 148-year-old club's brave new plunge into finer dining - evident in a $6 million face-lift of the once dreary space; and in a curtain call for snowy-domed Martin Hamann, the League's Doc Halladay of a new chef.
October 10, 2010 |
Matt Levin isn't the first creative cook to clash with the administrative demands of being an executive chef at a luxury hotel. But for a guy who'd rather be fiddling with his sous-vide machine and working to build a better duck-fat fry, the notion of sitting in long meetings on whether or not to have a harpist in the lobby or discussing the chafing dishes for banquets was its own special form of five-diamond hotel torture. "I wasn't cooking anymore, and I wanted to be back having fun in the kitchen," Levin says, looking back on his days at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse.
September 30, 2010 |
On the Bravo kitchen-competition series Top Chef , the cheftestants are charged with creating cutting-edge food on the spur of the moment. Two weeks after his win on Season 7, Kevin Sbraga had us out to his real kitchen - in the childhood Willingboro home he shares with his pastry-chef wife, Jesmary, daughter Jenae, 5, and newborn son Angelo. Mealtime at the Sbragas' place is nothing fancy, and the Top Chef, 31, cooks on an electric stovetop. One of his favorite dishes is a one-pot creation of steamed clams and Italian sausage on top of chickpeas, perfect for Sunday after church.
September 29, 2010
10 tonight BRAVO Sylvia Weinstock (right) is guest judge as the pastry chefs compete in a bake sale that's raising money for a high-school pep squad and glee club.
September 23, 2010
I'M KICKING myself because I messed around and didn't purchase tickets for this year's Epicurean Palette at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J. It's a dang shame, since this is an orgy of food and wine the likes of which we don't see all that often around here. This would have been the year to go, too, since Kevin Sbraga will be finishing up his last weekend there as executive chef of Rat's Restaurant, which is a participant. Sbraga, who last week won Bravo's "Top Chef," is leaving Rat's Sunday to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant.
September 17, 2010 |
TATTLE CAN'T decide what has us more excited about a biopic about the rock group Queen - that top-notch scripter Peter Morgan ("Frost/Nixon," "The Queen") is writing the screenplay or that Sacha Baron Cohen has been cast as Freddie Mercury . What a dandy choice. Deadline.com broke the news yesterday, including word that surviving Queen members Brian May , Roger Taylor and John Deacon will co-produce with GK Films and Tribeca Films ( Robert De Niro 's company)
September 17, 2010 |
Early mornings are nothing new to a baker's son. As Thursday dawned, chef Kevin Sbraga faced not a hot oven but a media scrum: A dozen media outlets on the line, a photo session for Food & Wine magazine, and promotional videos to be shot for Bravo, the cable network. Wednesday night, Sbraga - who lives with his wife and kids in his childhood home in Willingboro - was announced as the winner of the seventh season of Top Chef after outlasting 16 competitors in the weekly series of cooking challenges.
September 16, 2010 |
Willingboro's Kevin Sbraga - who's cooked at some of the hottest restaurants in the region - was named winner of the seventh season of the Bravo series Top Chef . Sbraga, 31, watched the taped final episode Wednesday at the North Philadelphia restaurant Osteria among a private party including his wife, Jesmary, and two children. His prizes are $125,000, a spread in Food & Wine magazine, and a showcase at the magazine's annual event in Aspen, Colo. The season, set in Washington, D.C., moved to Singapore for the last two episodes.
September 16, 2010 |
CONGRATULATIONS to Willingboro's Kevin Sbraga, who won Bravo's "Top Chef: D.C. " last night. He's won $125,000, coverage in Food & Wine magazine and the opportunity to cook at the Food & Wine Classic in Colorado. The new "Top Chef" and family, including wife Jesmary and their children, Angelo and Jenae-Marie , and friends watched the finale in a private viewing party at Osteria (640 N. Broad), along with owner Marc Vetri , Jose Garces , Eagles tackle Winston Justice and other friends, reports our 24/7 colleague Dan Gross . Sbraga Tweeted throughout the finale from the party.