Miami Chef Wins James Beard Award

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, is the winner of the 2010 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef in the South Region. Schwartz was awarded his medal earlier this evening in a ceremony at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

Daniel Boulud, who was in Central Florida serving guests at the Jetport Food and Wine Festival just two weeks ago, took the Outstanding Restaurant Award for his Daniel. Tom Colicchio is the winner of the Outstanding Chef prize. Keith McNally (Balthazar, Lucky Strike, Minetta Tavern, Morandi, Pastis, Pravda, and Schiller’s Liquor Bar, NYC) was name Outstanding Restaurateur.

The black-tie affair, often referred to as the Academy Awards of the culinary world, began at 6 p.m. At this hour, attendees are enjoying the after party in the lobby of the Avery Fisher Hall featuring food prepared by a calvacade of chefs. After that, guest generally fan out across Manhattan for after after parties.

I’ll have the full list of winners tomorrow.

Meet Grillmaster Steven Raichlen

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Cookbook author Steven Raichlen will be signing copied of his book "Planet Barbecue" Sunday, May 2. He'll be at the Walmart in Ocoee, 10500 Planet_BarbecueColonial Drive, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. across from Health Central Hospital and a Toojays.

Raichlen is well versed in all types of food and cooking but he all but owns the field of barbecue expertise. Anyone who enjoys throwing some meat on a grill should have at least one of his books on hand.

Steven and I collaborated on a Gault-Millau travel guide he was editing many many years ago. If you go out for the signing, tell him I said "hey."

Designer of Iconic Cup Dies

Written by Scott Joseph on .

It's called the Anthora cup. Who knew it had a name? It was so omnipresent in New York delis, so much a part of the continuum that it is hard to anthoraimagine it had a beginning. If you've ordered a cup of coffee from a New York deli in the last 40 years, or if you've watched an episode of any iteration of Law & Order, you've seen the cup. It's designer, Leslie Buck, a New Yorker who also had a home in Delray Beach, died Monday at 87. Here is his obitiuary in the New York Times.

The azure blue cup with a white drawing of a Grecian urn (known as an amphora -- the name was mispronounced by Buck) and the words "We are happy to serve you" sold by the hundreds of millions annually. Ceramic versions of the cup have been sold in souvenir stores for years; it was so much a part of the city's persona. But no, Buck did not receive any royalties for the design.

The obituary doesn't give any details of Buck's last wishes, but if his ashes aren't placed in a Grecian urn, there is no justice in this world.

Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Announces New Chef

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Norman Van Aken has announced the appointment of a new chef to be director of culinary operations at his Orlando restaurant, Norman’s. Brandon Benack will take over the kitchen at the upscale restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes immediately. He replaces Joseph Burnett. Burnett’s wife, Viviana Altesor, had also served as chef at Norman’s and had been general manager. Both Burnett and Altesor have left the operation.

“It is our pleasure to announce Chef Brandon Benack as our new Director of Culinary Operations in Orlando,” Van Aken said in a statement.  “We are poised for a period of unprecedented growth and are excited by the possibilities that Chef Brandon brings to Norman’s.” Benack will be directed by Van Aken in the execution of his acclaimed “New World Cuisine.” He will also work with Stacy Cofield, director of operations.

Benack comes to Norman’s from Emeril’s Miami Beach where he was chef de cuisine. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work so closely with Chef Norman Van Aken, an American legend,” said Benack. “I am looking forward to expanding my responsibilities and to being a part of this talented team.”

Norman’s opened at the Ritz-Carlton in 2003. At the time it was a second location for Van Aken’s eponymous brand. The Miami Norman’s has since closed.