Chefs Around the Globe Who Are Transforming Society Recognized by New Basque Culinary World Prize


The 20 finalists for the first Basque World Culinary Prize, as announced today at Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill restaurant in New York City

Charlie Trotter sees himself as having three-tiered goals for his work in the restaurant business:  making an aesthetic contribution, a cultural contribution, and a social contribution.”
–from our first book BECOMING A CHEF (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995)

A growing number of chefs have joined the ranks of activists advancing the agenda of changing our food system….Today’s food culture has given chefs a platform of influence, including the power, if not the luxury, to innovate. As arbiters of taste, we can help inspire a Third Plate, a new way of eating that puts it all together.”
–Dan Barber, chef, writer and founder of the Michelin-starred Blue Hill restaurant (NYC)

When researching and writing our first book BECOMING A CHEF, we were inspired by the growing dedication of chefs to the world beyond their own restaurants — as exemplified by the late Charlie Trotter‘s aspirations.

However, if we’d just returned from visiting another planet for the past 20 years and cable TV were our only exposure to the chef’s profession, we’d be led to suspect that chefs had become mostly people who are willing to try to make something edible out of strawberries, turkey, and gummi bears for the sake of appearing on TV — or people willing to humiliate others when they fail miserably at that task.

So it’s perfect timing for the advent of the Basque Culinary World Prize — a new annual global award which seeks to recognize chefs around the world whose projects have improved society through gastronomy.  The winner will receive  €100,000 toward “a project or institution of their choice that demonstrates the wider role of gastronomy in society.”

More than 200 nominations from around the world led to 110 candidates from 50 countries, and today 20 finalists were announced over lunch at Chef Dan Barber‘s celebrated Blue Hill restaurant in New York City — chefs whose aspirations and accomplishments inspire us the way Charlie’s and other chefs’ did when we first interviewed them nearly a quarter century ago.


Top Left: Chef Dan Barber and Basque Culinary Center head Joxe Mari Aizega at Blue Hill restaurant; Bottom Right: Blue Hill kitchen staff serving writer Genevieve Ko

The Top 20, reflecting the global reach of the prize, includes chefs from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the UK, the US and Venezuela. These projects are focused on everything from innovation to education, health, research, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and philanthropy, and the preservation of local cultures.

The Top 20 Finalists are:

  • Alberto Crisci, UK: Crisci’s charity, ‘The Clink’, has a series of fine dining restaurants inside four British prisons, in which offenders learn to cook and serve, and can gain vocational qualifications to give them real job opportunities when they leave – all with the aim of reducing rates of reoffending.
  • Alicia Gironella, Mexico: Gironella is a slow food activist who takes part of projects like Semillatón, to preserve native Mexican corn seeds, preventing local species from become extinct. The seeds are placed in community banks to distribute among farmers in Sierra Tarahumara for cultivation.
  • Angel León, Spain:  Chef Angel León is renowned for his provocative culinary innovation at his restaurant, Aponiente.  Passionate about research, he has been exploring the potential of the oceans as a food source and is documenting valuable knowledge that could preserve exciting new possibilities for future generations.
  • Ann Cooper, USA: The Chef Ann Foundation gives schools the tools and resources to move away from serving highly processed foods, to providing fresh, cooked-from-scratch meals. This has the aim of contributing towards the reduction of childhood obesity in the United States.
  • Carlos Zamora, Spain: The Spanish chef has built a reputation for responsible and sustainable restaurant and team management, around which he has developed strong networks with organic producers. He also supports social initiatives such as Depersonas – which trains and employs young people with learning disabilities.
  • Daniel Boulud, France/USA: French chef Daniel Boulud is the co-director of New York charity, CityMeals on Wheels, which provides healthy meals to elderly people who cannot buy food or cook for themselves. Boulud is also in charge of ‘Chefs Deliver,’ an initiative in which top chefs cook gourmet meals for the elderly homebound.
  • David Hertz, Brazil: Driven to join the social gastronomy movement ten years ago, Brazilian chef David Hertz started Gastromotiva to give opportunities to the socially vulnerable of the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro (later Sao Paulo, Bahia and now Ciudad de México), through food and culinary training.
  • Gabriel Garza, Mexico: Inspired by working at a local centre for the visually impaired, Garza singlehandedly set up Destellos de Sabor, a project that teaches the blind to cook for themselves, giving them independence, self esteem, and the potential to find future employment.
  • Jessamyn Rodriguez, Canada/USA: Harlem based Canadian, Jessamyn Rodriguez, created a 9-month training programme for low-income, immigrant women to become artisanal bakers with Hot Bread Kitchen. Through an employer-driven workforce development and business incubator, it helps women and men professionalise their skills in the culinary arts in order to be able to earn fair wages and achieve financial independence.
  • José Andrés, Spain: Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in Haiti, Jose Andres started World Central Kitchen to use the expertise of its chef network to empower locals by providing them with clean cooking stoves and food safety/sanitation training. Additional programs include feeding programs in schools and culinary training for the local hospitality workforce.
  • Joshna Maharaj, India/Canada: Canadian chef Joshna Maharaj works with several hospitals and institutions to help them serve better food to patients. In particular, Maharaj rethinks and redesigns all elements of the food chain, from farm to fork, in favour of healthy, fresh, nutritious meals.
  • Kamilla Seidler, Denmark, and Michelangelo Cestari, Venezuela: Seidler and Cestari were chosen by Claus Meyer to take his Melting Pot project to Bolivia where they opened the restaurant Gustu, which also functions as a cookery school. Gustu has put a culinary spotlight on a previously overlooked country; as well as serving to train and empower locals through a wider knowledge and consciousness about their ethnic gastronomy.
  • Leonor Espinosa, Colombia: Leonor Espinosa is the founder of Funleo, an organisation that aims to preserve the food traditions of Colombia while highlighting sustainable practices and local food production. Its focus is on afro-descendent, indigenous communities, and helping them to develop and market their traditional crops and ingredients.
  • Manoela (Manu) Buffara, Brazil: Brazilian chef Manu Buffara is nominated for her work in Ilha Rasa, in Curitiva, where she fights besides some 20 producers to preserve traditional ingredients, farming methods and biodiversity.  She also encourages locals to explore the potential of their agriculture.
  • Margot Janse, Holland/South Africa: Dutch chef Margot Janse runs Isabelo, an initiative that started with a simple gesture – a nutritious muffin given to 70 school children in Franschhoek, South Africa – which has now become a program that produces 1,300 meals a day for local schools.
  • Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe, Venezuela: Maria has built a whole chain of education, entrepreneurship and economic development around Venezuelan cacao. With Kakao and Cacao de Origen, she supports local producers with the resources they need to improve their product. She also helps women to get the necessary training and tools to become chocolate entrepreneurs themselves.
  • Massimiliano Alajmo, Italy: Italian chef Massimiliano Alajmo created Il Gusto per la Ricerca to fund research into children’s neoplastic diseases. A recent digital initiative – Tavoli Trasparenti – sees 300 top restaurants backing the cause – with the price of the meal being donated when diners book online.
  • Nani Moré, Spain: Nani Moré is the founder of the Asociación de Comedores Ecológicos (the Ecologic Canteen Association), in Catalonia. She directs documentaries and shorts campaigning for better food for children, and has been working with several institutions to prove that fresh, nutritious food can be made at low cost, ensuring that children get the good food they need.
  • Rodolfo Guzman, Chile: Rodolfo Guzman, who exemplifies culinary innovation, is passionate about discovering native ingredients from all over Chile, from which he has created hundreds of new dishes and flavours at his research center, Conectaz, in Boragó. The center employs a multidisciplinary team who also look at the ingredients with a view to future food security and sustainability.
  • Teresa Corçao, Brazil: Teresa Corçao is the founder of the Instituto Maniva, created to nurture organic family farming and better nutrition in society as a whole. Maniva’s Ecochefs network was set up in 2009 to promote ethical cuisine as well as to encourage communication right across the food chain, from producers to consumers.

The Basque Culinary Prize is organized and promoted by the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), an  academic institution specializing in gastronomy headed by Joxe Mari Aizega, PhD, and the Basque Government under the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy, which released the joint statement: “A generation of international chefs have now expanded their role in society and redefined their profession by integrating new skills, creativity, innovation and social concerns into their approach. The Basque Culinary World Prize celebrates this evolution.”

The Prize Jury includes some of the world’s most influential chefs, among them Ferran Adria (Spain), Dan Barber (USA), Heston Blumenthal (UK), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Michel Bras (France), Dominique Crenn (USA), and Rene Redzepi (Denmark), as well as others such as authors Laura Esquivel and Harold McGee.

The winner of the Basque World Culinary Prize will be announced July 11th.  Now, that’s a story on chefs we’d love to watch on TV.


The Basque Culinary World Prize website is

The Basque Culinary Center (BCC) website is

Inspiration Via Rejection: JK Rowling Shares Her Rejection Letters, As We Did During Our 2014 IFBC Keynote


Top: Billionaire author JK Rowling shares some of the rejection letters she’s received via Twitter, prompting global media coverage; Bottom: An excerpt from one of dozens of rejection letters we received for our first book BECOMING A CHEF

JK Rowling posts letters of rejection on Twitter to help budding authors: Harry Potter writer shares publishers’ brush-offs…in attempt to to inspire other authors.”
–Headline in The Guardian (March 25, 2016)

In a Tweet heard ’round the world, on March 25, 2016, billionaire author JK Rowling posted some of the rejection letters she’d received for a novel she’d submitted under a pen name.  Would-be authors rejoiced via countless Tweets of their own, sharing the hope and inspiration they found in learning that editors had advised the author to take a writing course. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book had been rejected by 12 publishing houses in a row before finally receiving an offer.

When we were asked to keynote the 2014 International Food Bloggers Conference held in Seattle that September, we’d wondered how we could best inspire the hundreds of writers gathered in the ballroom — and decided to share excerpts from some of the rejection letters we’d received for our first book BECOMING A CHEF.  We’ve joked (though we didn’t find it at all funny while it was happening in 1992) that we’d received a quantity so voluminous that we could have wallpapered our apartment with them.

In another tweet posted this March 25th, JK Rowling recalled, “I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen.”

As we were shopping our book proposal in 1992, we felt exactly the same.  The common theme of the rejections we were receiving was that we were sadly mistaken in believing there to be a sizeable audience for books by, about, and for professional chefs.

Keep in mind that Karen was a newly-minted Harvard MBA who had done extensive research on the size of the market, sharing with prospective publishers that the chef’s profession had been named one of the top 10 careers for the 1990s in terms of projected growth in the U.S. Occupational Outlook Handbook compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, armed with that knowledge, we — like JK Rowling — weren’t about to give up without a fight, either.  And it paid off, resulting in a book that went on to sell more than 100,000 copies and to be recognized as a groundbreaking classic that inspired and/or informed many influential chefs and cooks, including Alton Brown, Chris Cosentino, Graham Elliot, Christine Ha, Jeff Henderson, Michael Laiskonis, David Lebovitz, Michael Ruhlman, and Emily Kaiser Thelin.

Dianne Jacob, author of the book Will Write for Food and host of a blog of the same name, contacted us this year about the rejection letters we’d shared during our IFBC keynote and interviewed us via email about those early rejections.  That interview appears this week on her website in her article “Rejection Made Two Big Authors Stronger,” which you can read here.


We’re happy her new post is already being Tweeted about — including Dianne’s own musing, “Amazing what would be lost if @KarenAndAndrew gave up so many years ago.”

Hmmm….Interesting. Let’s think about that for a second….

While our first book BECOMING A CHEF — which, like the first Harry Potter book, was rejected by a dozen-plus publishers — did not turn us into billionaires, it did go on to inspire and/or inform countless other books (including our own and others’), articles, and scholarly research across North America and around the globe — among them:

“Many fine studies do remain this restrictive, including Dornenburg and Page’s (1998, 2003) fascinating books on chefs, food critics, and restaurants….The value of this descriptive work is indisputable.”
–Linda Kalof and Amy Dan, Essentials of Social Research (2008)

“A Brief History of Culinary Arts Education in America” by J.N. Brown (Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 2005).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

AccountingForTasteCoverAccounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson (University of Chicago Press, 2004). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

African American Food Culture (Food Cultures in America) by William Frank Mitchell (Greenwood, 2009). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

“An Analysis of Determinants of Career Success for Elite Female Executive Chefs” by P.S. Bartholomew and J.G. Gary (Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 1996).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

“A Study of the Evolution and Diversity of a Stereotypical Genre: The Recipe Genre” by Shirley Poon Ka-man (The University of Hong Kong, 2007).  Citations from Becoming a Chef.

“Daniel Boulud, the chef-owner of Restaurant Daniel, Café Boulud, and DB Bistro Moderne in New York City, states that, ‘many recipes are written by chefs before the dishes are ever made, because they’re created in your mind. Your senses give you the combinations.’ (Dornenburg & Page, 2003:186). Jeremiah Tower also suggests that ‘when you write a recipe, you can taste it in your mind’ (ibid).”
–“A Study of the Evolution and Diversity of a Stereotypical Genre: The Recipe Genre” (2007)

A Survival Guide for Culinary Professionals by Alan Gelb and Karen Levine (Cengage Learning, 2004). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

AuthenticityInTheKitchenCoverAuthenticity in the Kitchen:  Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery – 2005 edited by Richard Hosking (Oxford Symposium, 2006).  Citations of Becoming a Chef. 

Dornenburg and Page recount the lobbying effort that followed the Clintons’ announcement that they wanted the official residence to be a showcase for American art; many of the leading chefs of the country wrote an open letter to the Clintons urging the adoption of American cuisine in the nation’s kitchen.”
Authenticity in the Kitchen (2006)

A Woman’s Place Is in the Kitchen: The Evolution of Women Chefs by Ann Cooper (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1997). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

“She made her choice to pursue a culinary career well after her children were born.  She explains that the inspiration for her decision was Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s book BECOMING A CHEF.  That book awakened something in her that told her she needed to go to culinary school and follow her heart.”
A Woman’s Place Is In the Kitchen (1997)

Behind the Scenes: An Ethnographic Study of A Working Kitchen by Sara Anne Stephenson (University of York, 2012).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

BlueBistroCoverThe Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand (Macmillan, 2006). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

“I read comprehensively about restaurants, culinary schools, and food and wine.  The following publications were especially helpful…BECOMING A CHEF by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.”
–Elin Hilderbrand, in the Acknowledgments to her novel The Blue Bistro (2006)

“Burned! The Impact of Work Aspects, Injury, and Job Satisfaction on Unionized Cook’s Intentions to Leave the Cooking Occupation” by C.A. Young and D.L. Corsun (Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, 2009).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

Career Opportunities in Travel and Hospitality by Jennifer Bobrow Burns and Joseph A. McInerney (Ferguson, 2010). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

Chefs’ Perceptions of Convenience Food Products in University Food Service Operations” by Ioana Dallinger (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2013).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

CookedCoverCooked: From the Streets to the Stove, From Cocaine to Foie Gras by Jeff Henderson (2007). Citation of Becoming a Chef as an inspiration to the author of this bestselling memoir, who has credited Page and Dornenburg with catalyzing its publication.

I wanted to thank you two again for your inspirational book BECOMING A CHEF that I read while incarceratedAfter you wrote about me in your newsletter last year, [literary] agent Michael Psaltis…read your testimony.  He contacted me [and] the rights to my life story were sold to William Morrow/Harper Collins for a substantial six figures.”
–Chef Jeff Henderson, author of the New York Times bestseller Cooked (2007)

Cooking Dirty: A Story of Life, Sex, Love and Death in the Kitchen by Jason Sheehan (Macmillan, 2010).  Citation of books by Dornenburg and Page “for inspiration.”

“Cookbooks (with a few, rare exceptions) are porno for kitchen hobbyists and well-meaning amateurs….[The few, rare exceptions] being books like Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, some stuff by Patricia Wells, Payard, Pepin, and Julia Child, sauce-stained and ragged English translations of Larousse Gastronomique or even the original French, some of the Dornenburg-Page books (for inspiration).”
–Jason Sheehan, Cooking Dirty (2010)

Cool Careers for Girls in Food by Ceel Pasternak and Linda Thornburg (2001). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

Cool Careers Without College for People Who Love Food by Kerry Hinton (2009). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture by Anita Mannur (Temple University Press, 2009). Citation of the definition of “fusion cuisine” from Becoming a Chef, which is also listed in the book’s Bibliography.

Cultural Analysis and Bourdieu’s Legacy:  Settling Accounts and Developing Alternatives edited by Elizabeth Silva and Alan Warde (Routledge, 2010).  Citation of Becoming a Chef. 

“…No longer were chefs mere glorified household servants, but they could now aspire to commanding spaces of their own making, spaces with an international visibility that Escoffier had helped secure for French haute cuisine (Dornenburg and Page, 2003).”
Cultural Analysis and Bourdieu’s Legacy (2010)

AmericanJournalOfSociologyLogo“A Cultural Field in the Making:  Gastronomy in 19th Century France” by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson (American Journal of Sociology /The University of Chicago Press, November 1998).  Citation of Becoming a Chef. 

Current Issues in Hospitality and Tourism:  Research and Innovations edited by A. Zainal, S.M. Radzi, R. Hashim, C.T. Chik, R. Abu (CRC Press, 2012).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture by Shilpa Davé, LeiLani Nishime, and Tasha G. Oren (NYU Press, 2005). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

EatInkCoverEat Ink:  Recipes. Stories. Tattoos by Birk O’Halloran and Daniel Luke Holton (Adams Media, 2013).  Citations of Becoming a Chef and Culinary Artistry.

“Michael [Fiorelli] aspired to be a writer for ‘Saturday Night Live,’ which was at the top of the ratings at the time, but then his passion for reading turned to cookbooks and he never looked back.  Michael still recommends two of the books that affected him the most to aspiring chefs to this day:  CULINARY ARTISTRY and BECOMING A CHEF, both by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.”
Eat Ink (2013)

Eating Post-Modernity:  Fusion Cuisine and Authenticity by Mark McWilliams (Oxford Symposium, 2006).  Citations of Becoming a Chef and Culinary Artistry.

EggsInCookeryCoverEggs in Cookery:  Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery – 2006, edited by Richard Hosking (Oxford Symposium, 2006).  Citation of Becoming a Chef in “The Ultimate in Cookery:  The Souffle’s Rise Alongside Feminism in the 1960s” by Phyllis Thompson Reid.

“Pastry is an interesting exception to the gender rule.  Because baking isn’t tied to the service of the restaurant, it can begin and end earlier in the day, and is more predictable in its hours (Dornenburg, BECOMING A CHEF).  This makes it a more family-friendly niche.”
–Oxford Symposium (2006)

Emeril!: Inside the Amazing Success of Today’s Most Popular Chef‎ by Marcia Layton Turner (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

Enogastronomia a arte de harmonizar cardápios e vinhos by Deise Novakoski and Renato Freire (Senac, 2005). Citation of Becoming a Chef.

EssentialsOfSocialResearchEssentials of Social Research by Linda Kalof and Amy Dan (McGraw-Hill, 2008).  Citations of Becoming a Chef and Dining Out.

The Everything Hot Careers Book by Ronald A. Reis (Adams Media, 2001).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

Extraordinary Jobs in the Food Industry by Alecia T. Devantier and Carol Turkington (2006).  Citation of Becoming a Chef.

You get the picture.  (Or if not, you can find plenty more here.)

That’s exactly why we feel so passionate about urging talented would-be authors to persevere.  The world needs to move forward.  It needs your better judgment, when you happen to have it.  So, when you know deep in your soul that you’ve hit upon a great idea, fight for it!  Great ideas need and deserve your strongest fight to bring them into the world.

Besides, no matter how many times a book is rejected, all it takes is one “yes” for that book to be able to start changing the world.


Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write for Food, blogs at

Surprise! Chef Suvir Saran Sneakily Opens the Doors at Tapestry in Greenwich Village


Center: Tapestry chef-owner Suvir Saran (left) and co-owner Roni Mazumdar in front of their new restaurant, which opened Friday night

“We are proud to be recognized by this prestigious organization and to be the first South Asian restaurant in the United States to receive a Michelin star.”
Suvir Saran, then co-chef/owner of Devi, as quoted in The Times of India (November 8, 2006)

Suvir Saran‘s new restaurant Tapestry, which opened its doors in Greenwich Village on Friday night, caught us by surprise.  We’ve been traveling quite a bit, when we haven’t had our heads down on deadline with our next book KITCHEN CREATIVITY (Little, Brown; 2017), so we just assumed we’d somehow missed reading all the weeks of pre-opening publicity.

Turns out there wasn’t any — which was exactly the way Suvir and his partner Roni Mazumdar wanted it.  It’s just near-miraculous that a project helmed by the former chef-owner of the first Indian restaurant to earn a Michelin star managed to keep things under wraps for so long.

We popped in the other night to congratulate Suvir, tasting a few cocktails and several dishes in the process.  It’s no surprise that we found them delicious, given our first-hand experience being blown away by the food at his previous restaurants — it was only a surprise that the flavors weren’t nearly so Indian-driven as at the previous restaurants where we’d fallen in love with his food, especially Devi.

Suvir describes the cuisine at Tapestry as “global threads on an Indian loom.”  Frankly, we couldn’t care less what you call irresistible dishes like Tapestry’s Italian-inspired Rick’s Cauliflower & Pappardella with buttery crumbs, chile, garlic, and sage.  It was so lustfully savory that another guest accused it of containing meat — which it does not.

And we definitely don’t care what you call beverage manager Jessy Peters‘ thoughtfully-crafted and genially-served cocktails.  We’re already sure we’ll be back for another Smash the System (bourbon + brandy + cherry + espresso + orange, based on some of Suvir’s favorite flavors) and another Sela (black pepper + cayenne + lime + saffron + tequila + turmeric) one night soon.


Tapestry is at 60 Greenwich Ave. (bet. Sixth and Seventh Aves.) in the West Village.  212.373.8900.

THE FLAVOR BIBLE Named One of The “10 Great Cocktail Books Every Booze Lover Should Own” by TIME OUT Magazine


Time Out magazine’s Marcia Gagliardi (far right) names THE FLAVOR BIBLE one of the top 10 essential cocktail books

THE FLAVOR BIBLE:  No, it’s not a cocktail book, but it’s a text that is beloved and used by many chefs and bartenders in their craft.”
–Marcia Gagliardi, Time Out

Since its publication, THE FLAVOR BIBLE has been celebrated by countless professional chefs and home cooks, but its insights into flavor are being increasingly tapped by the spirit world.  Yesterday, the book was named one of the country’s 10 most essential cocktail books.

Marcia Gagliardi of Time Out magazine’s national edition shared her list of “The 10 great cocktail books every booze lover should own” — with THE FLAVOR BIBLE making the list.

Gagliardi wrote, “Want to stuff your shelves with the most essential cocktail books around? To master the classics, here’s where to start….THE FLAVOR BIBLE by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.  Okay, so this one is a little wild card for you. No, it’s not a cocktail book, but it’s a text that is beloved and used by many chefs and bartenders in their craft. Authors Page and Dornenburg give advice and insight in how to create balance, enhance flavor, and make exciting ingredient combinations that work. Meet your flava secret weapon.”

When we thanked Gagliardi for including THE FLAVOR BIBLE, she in turn thanked spirits writer Duggan McDonnell — author of Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter From San Francisco & Her Cocktails, who was named a “Leader of the American Cocktail Revolution” by Food & Wine magazine, and nominated twice as “Best Mixologist of the Year” at New Orleans’ Tales of the Cocktail — for strongly recommending its inclusion on the list.


Author of Drinking the Devil’s Acre Duggan McDonnell recommended THE FLAVOR BIBLE‘s inclusion

Gagliardi’s entire Top 10 included:  1) Imbibe by David Wondrich; 2) Drinking the Devil’s Acre by Duggan McDonnell; 3) The Cocktail Chronicles by Paul Clarke; 4) The Art of the Bar by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz; 5) Gaz Regan’s 101 Best New Cocktails, Volume IV by Gaz Regan; 6) The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan; 7) Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau; 8) The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique by Jeffrey Morgenthaler; 9) THE FLAVOR BIBLE by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg; and 10) Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold.

This wasn’t THE FLAVOR BIBLE‘s first appearance on a list of the most influential cocktail books.  Heather Hoch of the Phoenix New Times also included it on her list of “10 Cocktail Books You Should Read Right Now,” writing, “While this book isn’t a cocktail book per se, if you ask any bartender they’ll tell you that THE FLAVOR BIBLE is one to have in your arsenal…It’s truly an asset both in the kitchen and behind the bar.”


THE FLAVOR BIBLE was also mentioned on‘s list of the Best Cocktail Books,‘s list of the Best Cocktail Books,‘s round-up of Favorite Modern Cocktail Books, Tales of the Cocktail‘s “5 Bartenders on the Cocktail Books That Set the Bar,” and Westword‘s “Ask the Bartender: A Library of Books About Libations,” among other lists.

As the burgeoning field of mixology continues to expand, we’re honored that our work is being credited as an inspiration to countless bartenders and mixologists both across North America and around the world who have cited THE FLAVOR BIBLE as among their very favorite books when creating new cocktails. Many thanks to Marcia Gagliardi and Duggan McDonnell for helping to spread the good word so even more can continue to discover it.

Marcia Gagliardi is a San Francisco-based writer and host of

Duggan McDonnell is the author of Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and Her Cocktails.  His website is

ZAHAV Named 2016 “Cookbook of the Year” At 2016 James Beard Foundation Book and Media Awards

ZahavSolomonovCover  JamesBeardFoundationMedalBandW

Michael Solomonov is hot.

Last night, he and co-author Steven Cook took home the 2016 James Beard Foundation “Cookbook of the Year” Award for their book Zahav, named after Solomonov’s acclaimed Philadelphia restaurant.  And on Monday night, Solomonov is one of five finalists up for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef Award (along with Sean Brock, Suzanne Goin, Donald Link, and Michael Tusk).

Special congratulations to one of our favorite authors Deborah Madison on being inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame, and to our fellow Little, Brown authors who also took home awards for their wonderful books:  Mike Anthony (the Beard Foundation’s reigning “Outstanding Chef” until Monday) for V is for Vegetables, and Chris Fischer for The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook.

The entire list of last night’s winners:

2016 James Beard Foundation Awards Winners

2016 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

Book of the Year Award
Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook

Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee
Deborah Madison

American Cooking
The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook
Chris Fischer
(Little, Brown and Company)

Baking and Dessert
Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More
Sarah Owens
(Roost Books)

The Oxford Companion to Wine
Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding
(Oxford University Press)

Cooking from a Professional Point of View
NOPI: The Cookbook
Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully
(Ten Speed Press)

Focus on Health
Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome

Virginia Willis
(Ten Speed Press)

General Cooking
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
J. Kenji López-Alt
(W. W. Norton & Company)

Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking
Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
(Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel
Heidi Swanson
(Ten Speed Press)

Reference and Scholarship
The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks
Toni Tipton-Martin
(University of Texas Press)

Single Subject
A Bird in the Hand: Chicken Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood
Diana Henry
(Mitchell Beazley)

Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian
V Is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks
Michael Anthony
(Little, Brown and Company)

Writing and Literature
Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning)
Marion Nestle
(Oxford University Press)

2016 James Beard Foundation Media Awards

Southern Foodways Gravy Podcast
Producer: Tina Antolini

Radio Show or Audio Webcast
The Food Chain
hosted by Dan Saladino on BBC

Video Webcast in a Fixed Location/Instructional
Indian Curries: The Basics & Beyond
hosted by Raghavan Iyer

Video Webcast, On Location
The Sushi Chef: Oona Tempest and Toshio Oguma

Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays hosted by Lidia Bastianich

The Starfish Throwers by Jesse Roesler
DirecTV and iTunes

Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location
Extra Virgin, Hosts: Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos
Producers: Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos
Airs on: Cooking Channel

Television Program, On Location
I’ll Have What Phil’s Having hosted by Phil Rosenthal
Airs on: PBS

TV Segment
“Food4Thought” hosted by Allison Aubrey
Airs on: PBS News Hour

Visual and Technical Excellence
Chef’s Table
Airs on: Netflix

Outstanding Personality/Host
Vivian Howard, A Chef’s Life

2016 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards

For articles published in English in 2015.

Dining and Travel

“America’s Best Food Cities” 
Tom Sietsema
The Washington Post

Food and Culture

“Straight-Up Passing” 
John Birdsall

Food and Health

“The Healthy Cook’s Guide to Fat” 
Sidney Fry and Robin Bashinsky
Cooking Light

Food Blog

Lucky Peach

Food Coverage in a General-Interest Publication

Los Angeles Magazine
Lesley Bargar Sutar and Bill Esparza

Food-Related Columns

Francis Lam
New York Times Magazine

Food Reporting

“Seafood From Slaves – An AP Investigation Helps Free Slaves in the 21st Century”
Martha Mendoza, Margie Mason, and Robin McDowell
Associated Press

Home Cooking

“Cook Like a Pro!” 
Adam Rapoport
Bon Appétit


Maryse Chevriere

Personal Essay

“On Chicken Tenders” 
Helen Rosner


“Christiane Lauterbach: The Woman Who Ate Atlanta”
Wendell Brock
The Bitter Southerner

Visual Storytelling

“One Night: Kachka”
Erin DeJesus, Danielle Centoni, Jen Stevenson, Dina Avila, McGraw Wolfman

Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages

“There Are Almost No Black People Brewing Craft Beer. Here’s Why.”
Dave Infante

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award

“A Health Food Restaurant so Cool It Will Have You Happily Eating Seeds,” “Revisiting Momofuku Ko, After the Revolution,” “Polo Bar Review: Ralph Lauren Corrals the Fashionable Herd”
Tejal Rao
Bloomberg Pursuits

MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award

“Pork Life”
Todd Kliman
Lucky Peach

2016 Publication of the Year
Lucky Peach

Congratulations to all of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award winners so far — we look forward to celebrating with the rest of you at Monday night’s Chef and Restaurant Awards being held at the Lyric Opera in Chicago!



The James Beard Foundation hosts the 2016 James Beard Awards, which you can read more about here.

Chef Mark Levy’s Passionate Cooking at Magdalena at The Ivy Is One More Reason to Make a Detour to Baltimore


The stunning Ivy hotel in Baltimore, which opened in the summer of 2015, most deservedly joined the ranks of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux organization a few months later


Each room at The Ivy is unique (and very romantic), with many featuring canopy beds, sunken tubs, and fireplaces

Executive Chef Mark Levy’s team is thrilled to cook on a custom made French Molteni range that is a work of art in itself….[S]it in the Ivy’s Library with a book, over a cup of tea or afternoon wine, and you may just find yourself never venturing out.”
–John Oseid, Forbes

“For this anglophile, full afternoon tea service with finger sandwiches and scones in front of a roaring fire was the highlight of my stay. My history-buff husband, on the other hand? He could have spent days exploring the hotel’s collection of antiques including vintage books, a 1930s-era globe, 19th-century pool table, and restored Tiffany glass windows.”
–Caroline Hallemann, Travel & Leisure

“Dinner at Magdalena, the restaurant in the newly opened Ivy Hotel, is gorgeous. The space, the drinks and the food come together to create one of the loveliest dining experiences Baltimore has to offer.”
–Kit Waskom Pollard, The Baltimore Sun

A week ago today was one of the best food days of our lives.

We’d been traveling through the Mid-Atlantic region last week to attend a conference and to conduct interviews and photo shoots for our next book KITCHEN CREATIVITY (Little, Brown; 2017), which picks up where our books CULINARY ARTISTRY and THE FLAVOR BIBLE left off in exploring the subject.

Last Sunday morning, we kicked off the day touring the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Farmers Market in Washington, DC, with Chef Jose Andres (of ThinkFood Group, whose restaurants include Cafe Atlantico, China Chilcano, Jaleo, minibar, Zaytina, et al) before returning to his home in Maryland for a long conversation and a brilliant homecooked midday meal.  From there, we drove to The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia to talk with Chef Patrick O’Connell, and where the pièce de résistance of our extraordinary dinner at the Inn that night was one of the best vegetarian dishes of our lives:  an exquisite morel mushroom “meatloaf.”

Holding its own during this amazing trip was our dinner at Magdalena at The Ivy hotel in Baltimore.  After eating our way through the Mid-Atlantic this past year and finding each of our multiple dinners here a stand-out, we believe Magdalena merits a high ranking on any list of the best restaurants not only in Baltimore, but in the greater Washington, DC area.


Chef Mark Levy (center, formerly of The Point) with his #2 Emmanuel West and the rest of the kitchen staff of Magdalena at The Ivy, where the entire team is as nice as they are talented (which is to say, extremely)

Britain-born chef Mark Levy previously headed the kitchen at the uber-luxurious resort The Point in Saranac Lake, New York (the former Adirondacks home of William Avery Rockefeller), where we first learned of his impressive talents.  We were delighted to have the opportunity to visit The Ivy and dine at Magdalena while celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary last August (when we were enchanted by The Ivy’s exquisite service, overseen by gracious General Manager Rob Arthur), and were even more impressed after tasting the tasting menu Mark thoughtfully composed for the occasion.


Bread service at Magdalena at The Ivy in Baltimore

One of our favorite bread courses in America (up there with Bouley‘s incomparable bread cart, whose gluten-free bread is as irresistible as its glutinous offerings), Magdalena offers signature flavored house-baked rolls (which we think of as a crusty cross between a popover and a Parker House roll) and butter pairings, which change regularly.  Mark has been known to pair miso rolls with a sweet soy butter, beet rolls with horseradish butter, and duck fat poppy seed rolls with truffle butter.  This time, Magdalena’s bar raised the bar for bread-course synergy another notch by pairing our Chinese five-spice rolls and soy-flavored butter with a yuzu-noted mocktail that enhanced both.


Magdalena’s dining rooms range from an informal bistro along the window to a formal dining room, with inventive dishes passionately prepared from the very best ingredients available

Our compliments on Mark’s risotto led to a long discussion about his sourcing of an aged rice that boasts unusual nuttiness and flavor complexity — and which we loved so much we ordered some the next day to have waiting for us by the time we arrived home in Manhattan.

For the past 20 years, Baltimore has been home to our favorite museum in America:  the American Visionary Art Museum, founded by Executive Director Rebecca Hoffberger in 1996, which we’ve been telling friends and anyone else who will listen is a must-visit.  Last year, chef Spike Gjerde (whom we also had the pleasure of interviewing this week) of Woodberry Kitchen — which Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema has referred to as “the Chez Panisse of our region” — made history as the first Baltimore chef to take home a James Beard Foundation Award as the 2015 Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.


The Ivy’s overnight guests can have a sumptuous breakfast served to them in the morning that might include poached eggs with hollandaise, a breakfast panna cotta with fresh fruit, Southern-style grits, or rich, crisped potato cake

So we’re thrilled to have yet another reason to be excited to return to Baltimore.  For years, we’d drive instead of fly or train to Boston so that we could stop for dinner at Al Forno in Providence every time.  Now, we feel similarly about Magdalena in Baltimore.  We can’t wait to taste our way through Chef Mark Levy’s new afternoon tea menu at The Ivy as well as his dinner menu’s evolution at Magdalena, confident it will lead to more great food days ahead.

Magdalena is at The Ivy Hotel, serving dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with complimentary valet service.  As of Spring 2016, it is also offering afternoon tea service (which is complimentary for hotel guests) Thursday through Sunday, with reservations required.  Reservations via or by phone at 410.514.0303.

The Ivy Hotel is an 18-room (nine of which are suites) luxury boutique hotel located in a refurbished 125-year-old historic property (“designed to feel like a friend’s private mansion,” according to the owners), and a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux organization, located at 205 E. Biddle Street in Baltimore.  Room prices (which start at $500+/night) include complimentary afternoon tea, cocktail hour, late-night menu, and breakfast, as well as limo service and gratuities.  410.514.6500.

Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen Interviews Chef Joyce Goldstein About Her New Book THE NEW MEDITERRANEAN JEWISH TABLE


Top Left: Amanda Cohen In conversation with Joyce Goldstein before a rapt audience at the 92nd Street Y; Top Right: Amanda Cohen, Joyce Goldstein, Karen Page; Middle: The cover of THE NEW MEDITERRANEAN JEWISH TABLE; Bottom Left: Andrew Dornenburg and Joyce Goldstein; Bottom Right: Joyce Goldstein signs our book

The New Mediterranean Jewish Table by Joyce Goldstein not only inspires you to cook, it also educates.”
Florence Fabricant, The New York Times (April 13, 2016)

“Cooking is a meditation.  If you put your mind and your hands to it, you come out relaxed, and mellow, and a little bit high.”
Joyce Goldstein, as quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle (April 7, 2016)

The line-up was irresistible:  Amanda Cohen.  Joyce Goldstein.  Two of our favorite chefs.  We were IN.

At the 92nd Street Y last night, the pair discussed Joyce’s new book The New Mediterranean Jewish Table (University of California Press, $39.95), which Florence Fabricant features in her New York Times column today.

Dirt Candy chef/owner Amanda Cohen brought her unique blend of curiosity and enthusiasm to her questioning, which yielded Joyce’s usual panopoly of insights and reminiscences (as we know from having had the great pleasure of interviewing her for so many of our books over the past two decades, including BECOMING A CHEF and CULINARY ARTISTRY).

We learned that there are more than two styles of Jewish food (e.g., Ashkenazi from Eastern Europe, and Sephardic from southern Europe and the Middle East).  It’s a bit more complicated than that, according to Joyce, who went on to describe other subsegments of the Jewish population, including Mizrahi, and to note their varying palates (e.g., for sweetness and acidity).

When Americans think of Jewish cuisine, we might think of bagels, brisket, and latkes.  But these are not typical to Jewish cuisine in other parts of the world, which in cold-weather climates might emphasize meat and potatoes while some warm-weather climates might favor figs and grains.

Goldstein gave telling examples of how eggplant is treated as a fruit in some Jewish cuisines, such as in Spain where it has been fried and sprinkled with sugar, and Morocco where honey and spices have been added.  One of the most memorable examples in our experience of eggplant-as-fruit came from our first dinner at Dirt Candy, where we were shocked by how much we enjoyed Amanda Cohen’s eggplant tiramisu dessert.

We’re still perusing our signed copy of Joyce’s latest of more than two dozen impressive books, but we’re very happy to have it in our home — especially as we’ve been asked to bring a vegetarian dish to a Passover seder next week, and are still mulling possibilities. Something tells us we’ll be finding even more inspiration in  The New Mediterranean Jewish Table.


Joyce Goldstein

Joyce Goldstein, the James Beard Award-winning chef/owner of the late Square One restaurant in San Francisco, is the author of more than two dozen books including Back to Square One, winner of both  James Beard and IACP cookbook awards, and currently serves as a consultant to the restaurant and food industries.

Amanda Cohen is the wildly talented chef/owner of Dirt Candy, the second-ever vegetarian restaurant to earn a two-star review from The New York Times, and the author of Dirt Candy, a whimsical memoir/cookbook in comic book form.

Founded in 1874, the 92nd Street Y has hosted an extraordinary array of programs and speakers in New York City.