CHEF PATRICK O’CONNELL’S THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON: A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION Hits The New York Times Bestseller List

InnAtLWMOcoverLarge

InnAtLWBookSigning_Collage

Left: The Inn at Little Washington’s chef-proprietor Patrick O’Connell signs a copy of his new book for us; Right: Karen Page stands behind Patrick and his Magnificent Obsession!

During his journey to culinary stardom, Patrick O’Connell has honed his other skills — a perfectionist’s approach to hospitality; an idealist’s desire to provide the perfect lodging for guests; a genius’s insistence on putting together myriad elements of design into a cohesive, beautiful, comfortable ‘whole'; and a nature lover’s talent for incorporating landscape and garden design into a holistic environment with extraordinary architecture and folly.”
Martha Stewart, in the Foreword to The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession

“Is The Inn at Little Washington the world’s greatest restaurant? It is — without a doubt — the most extraordinary, magical place either of us has ever experienced this side of Heaven!”
Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, in our March/April 2005 eNewsletter

Our decades-long love affair with The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, is hardly a well-kept secret.  We’ve sung its dining room’s praises in virtually all of our books as the site of the best dinner of our lives, and celebrated the Inn itself as Our Favorite Place On Earth.

This might be taken for hyperbole by all but those who have been fortunate enough to pass through its doors and experience its extraordinary charms — or by those who haven’t yet picked up a copy of The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession (Rizzoli; Spring 2015), which shares the improbable storybook transformation of a dilapidated garage into one of the world’s most luxurious lodging locations.

With sumptuous photographs by noted architecture and interior design photographer Gordon Beall, this book captures and celebrates this stunning property in all its glory.

When we heard that the Inn’s legendary interior designer Joyce Conwy Evans was making a rare trip from London to the United States for this book’s debut, we didn’t waste a moment in making our reservation to be there, diverting our flight home from Chicago through Washington, DC, so we could rent a car and make the 75-minute drive to the Virginia countryside for the lunch celebrating its launch.

This will be a three-part blog post, with the next part chronicling that memorable lunch, and the last recapping the extraordinary book party the following night in Washington, DC.

In the meantime, suffice it to say that we’re far from alone in our admiration of The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession, which just hit #8 on this May 24th New York Times’ bestseller list.  The book’s subtitle refers not only to O’Connell’s laser-focused drive to create heaven on earth, but also the Inn’s ardent admirers’ adoration bordering on addiction.

What can we say?  We’re hooked.

The Inn at Little Washington is located at Middle & Main Streets in Washington, Virginia.  theinnatlittlewashington.com

You can click here to order your copy of The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession (Rizzoli; Spring 2015).

Sipping Sake with the Shimizu-No-Mai Team On Their First Visit to New York City

SakeToMeMay122015PouringSake

Our waiter at KOI pours glasses of sake for our tasting.

After Karen first moved to New York City in 1983, she frequented a sushi restaurant that was as well known for its loud music and party ambiance as for its sushi, and where the waiters were better known for their New Wave haircuts than for their service.  That’s where she tried sake for the first time, which was served hot in traditional pine boxes.  It was exotic, and fun, and as a young 20-something, she loved it.

Fast forward to the turn of the Millennium, when we’d finally discovered sake served chilled, in fine glassware.  It was exotic, and delicious, and as 30-somethings-plus, we loved it.

SakeToMe_OurBooksCollage

So when Marja Samson of Kitchen Club and Chibi’s Sake Bar offered to introduce us to Hiromi Iuchi of the Sake Service Institute, who was making inroads into teaching New York restaurants — and, in turn, New Yorkers — about sake, of course we jumped at the chance to learn more.  We joined her for a sake tasting at Chibi’s, and another over a meal at Sakagura (211 East 43rd Street, near Second Ave.), which turned into a two-page feature in our 2001 book CHEF’S NIGHT OUT.

Our love of sake continued, with our knowledge and enjoyment enhanced by subsequent tastings and discussions with experts ranging from sake expert Paul Tanguay (then of Sushi Samba) to master sommelier Roger Dagorn, as chronicled in our multi-award-winning book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT.

Even today, we’re loathe to pass up an opportunity to enjoy and learn more about sake.

So yesterday, we didn’t.

Sake2Me_LeadershipCollage

Left: Shimizu-No-Mai President Junichi Hirakawa; Center: Miho Suzuki, Hitoshi Kato, Junichi Hirakawa, and Yukimichi Tamura; Right: Shimizu-No-Mai Executive Master Brewer Hitoshi Kato

We had the great pleasure of joining the President of Shimizu-No-Mai (which translates as something like “Dancing Pure Water”) Junichi Hirakawa and his company’s Executive Master Brewer (Toji) Hitoshi Kato for a brief lunch on their first-ever visit to New York City (and just before they had to fly to Chicago), in the good company of Miho Suzuki of its Sales Department, translator Yukimichi Tamura, and Terlato Wines’ Kanchan Kinkade.

Mr. Kato, it was explained to us, is one of the top three tojis (master brewers) out of more than 1000 tojis in Japan, and has been with the company for more than three decades.  Mr. Hirakawa has served for the past four years as the company’s president.  The company itself was formed 71 years ago upon the merger of a dozen smaller family breweries (some of which were then as old as 450 years) to create one medium-sized sake brewery, based in Akita, in northern Japan.

Sake is made only of rice, water, koji (defining it as “a type of mold” doesn’t begin to do justice to its revered status in sake-making), and yeast.  (Oh, in addition to know-how, Toji Kato might argue — although he is perhaps too humble to do so himself.)  The advantages of locating the company in the north were twofold, we learned:  1) access to very good rice for the production of sake (which was referenced for the “soft quality” of its starch, which could be easily diluted in water), and 2) access to very good water from the mountains, which provided the sake itself with this prized “soft quality.” Only three sake breweries had won a gold medal for 11 consecutive years in a certain national competition of sake quality, and Shimizu-No-Mai is apparently one of them.

While many if not most manufacturers of sake in Japan are said to be rather conservative (with respect for traditions first and foremost — see the company’s sake-making video in the green box below), Shimizu-No-Mai also takes pride in its innovative spirit, which is spurring its new product development effort.  A case in point:  a dessert junmai sake, introduced and well received locally in Akita and anticipating global roll-out, whose sweetness comes from using koji to convert the starch in the rice to glucose.

SakeToMeMay122015SakeTrio

From its line of five types of sake, we tasted through three yesterday.  While all three had the same percentage of alcohol (15.5%), each was very different in weight, texture, and other attributes:

SakeToMe_CollageOfPDPDPS

1) Pure Dawn:  a fuller-bodied, floral-nosed Junmai Ginjo style sake, with the mouthfeel of whole milk,

2) Pure Dusk:  a medium-bodied, fruitier Junmai Daiginjo style sake, with the mouthfeel of 2% milk, and

3) Pure Snow:  a rich, unfiltered Junmai Nigori style sake, with the mouthfeel of whole milk perhaps enriched with additional powdered milk that hadn’t been fully incorporated (and of course tasting much better than this sounds).

SakeToMe_AppetizersCollage

Our starters of edamame dumplings with mushrooms in a mirin broth and Koi crispy rice topped with avocado gave us our first opportunities to play with food pairings.  The sweetness of the mirin-flavored mushrooms were a slam dunk with Pure Dusk, which offered its own hints of soft sweetness.  The richness of the avocado cozied up decadently to the richness of Pure Dawn.

SakeToMeMay122015Tempura

Different sakes brought out different aspects of our entree of tofu and vegetables with a sweet and spicy ginger sauce.  Pure Snow was a rich-on-rich complementary pairing with the tofu, while Pure Dusk offered palate-cleansing contrast.  The best pairing for our vegetable tempura varied by vegetable:  sweet yams were embraced by Pure Dawn, while asparagus was high-fived by the Pure Dusk.

SakeToMeMay122015PostKoi

Left to right: Andrew Dornenburg, Miho Suzuki, Hitoshi Kato, Junichi Hirakawa, Karen Page, and Yukimichi Tamura  (Photo credit:  Kanchan Kinkade)

Karen’s hot sake-sipping days of the 1980s led to unforgettable times connecting with friends, including signing a sake-fueled pact with one that if the two of them weren’t married to others by a certain age, they’d get hitched.  (Thankfully, Andrew notes, they both were.)  Our chilled sake-sipping lunch yesterday led to no pacts, but was nonetheless a memorable bonding experience with these delightful first-time Japanese visitors in New York City.

SakeToMeMay122015TrioSoft

Shimizu-No-Mai is a distinguished sake brewery located in Akita, Japan, and at takashimizu.co.jp and puresake.com.

Join Karen and Andrew for a #MeatlessMondayChat on Twitter — Monday, May 11th, at 8 pm ET

MeatlessMondayChatKPAD_Collage

New to vegetarian cooking, or simply want to pick up some kitchen tricks for Meatless Monday?

Join us on Monday, May 11th at 8pm ET for a Twitter chat hosted by @MeatlessMonday.  

We’ll share lots of tips from firsthand experience as well as THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, the heart of which is an A –Z guide of ingredients (Acai to Zucchini blossoms) and the produce, spices, herbs, and other seasonings that best pair with and enhance their flavors. Not sure what to do with those ramps you scored at the farmers market? Consult THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE and you’ll learn that they go well with asparagus, peas, eggs, parsley and cheese. Sounds like the beginnings of a Meatless Monday Spring Frittata to us!

Monday’s Twitter chat is not only your chance to share your favorite vegetarian flavor pairings, but also to confess what stumps you in the kitchen and get some advice from us as well as other Twitterers! Plus, two lucky participants will win copies of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE.

To join the conversation, log on to Twitter at 8pm ET on Monday, May 11th. Follow @MeatlessMonday for the chat questions and use the hashtag #MeatlessMondayChat in all of your responses.  Hope to see you there!

MeatlessMondayLogoWeeklyStartForHealthierAmerica

Meatless Monday is at meatlessmonday.com.

President William Jefferson Clinton Inadvertently Gives Karen The Perfect Birthday Present

PresidentClintonLetterTVFB2percent

BillClinton42

“Thank you for…the copy of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE.  I’m delighted that you’re helping to make vegetarian and vegan lifestyles more accessible and achievable for as many people as possible.”
President Bill Clinton

Today is Karen’s birthday — but it would have been a red-letter day anyway.  After all, it’s not every day you receive a letter from the former President of the United States.

Karen had mentioned President William Jefferson Clinton in THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE twice on the historical timeline in Chapter 1, so we thought to send him a copy of the book.

One mention is in relation to the November 4, 2010, publication of BusinessWeek‘s article “The Rise of the Power Vegans”:

“…spotlighting the growing number of prominent Americans who have adopted veganism, including former President Bill Clinton, automotive scion Bill Ford, venture capitalist Joi Ito, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, hip hop pioneer Russell Simmons, Twitter cofounder Biz Stone (who credits a 2000 visit to Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York with his conversion), boxer Mike Tyson, hotelier Steve Wynn, and media magnate Mort Zuckerman.”

Another mention under 2011 reads:

“Sixty-five-year-old former President William Jefferson Clinton (b. 1946), whose love of foods ranging from barbecue to hamburgers during his presidency was well known and who had undergone quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 and stent surgery in 2010, speaks out about his veganism, saying that his vegan diet led to his dropping twenty-four pounds.  On CNN, Clinton credits his conversion to a low-fat, plant-based diet with inspiration from a number of doctors, including Dr. Dean Ornish, one of clinton’s doctors for nearly two decades, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., both of whomo have promoted the ability of a whole-food, plant-based diet to prevent and even reverse heart disease.”

His thank-you note acknowledging the book ended up being the perfect birthday present.

After seeing THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE recognized as one of the five best cookbooks of 2014 in the Los Angeles Times, which was reporting on an amalgamation by EatYourBooks.com of more than 300 “Best of 2014″ lists in media such as Bloomberg, the Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, Miami Herald, and the Washington Post, Karen was sad to see that the book didn’t receive a single book award nomination.

It was interesting to see which book beat out THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE in its category for both a nomination and the win from both the 2015 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and the 2015 James Beard Foundation Cookbook Awards:  Butchering  Poultry,  Rabbit,  Lamb,  Goat,  and  Pork:  The  Comprehensive  Photographic Guide  to  Humane  Slaughtering  and  Butchering.

On the heels of this sadness, we took steps to move forward, attending the 25th Annual James Beard Foundation Awards on Monday night for their first time in Chicago and connecting with beloved colleagues from all across the country at the majestic Lyric Opera House.

As the opening song “And the Meat Goes On” was performed at the black-tie event by emcee Alton Brown, a spoof on the Sonny and Cher classic, we were taken aback:

Vegetarians scowl when I walk by,
vegans try to tempt me with their kale pie…
I’ll devour bacon until I’m blue,
And the meat goes on….”

In her article onThe Best and Worst of the 2015 James Beard Awards,” Chicago magazine’s Carrie Schedler characterized the song among the worst aspects of Monday’s Awards ceremony.

AltonBrownChicagoMag

OK, we are not without senses of humor, and we’re otherwise fond of Alton Brown, but this song made us even sadder.

The rest of the Awards ceremony was stellar (if a bit long, as per usual), and the reception afterward fantastically fun (if a bit crowded, as per usual — with delicious highlights served up by chefs Brooks Headley of NYC’s Del Posto, Daniel Patterson of San Francisco’s CoiNancy Silverton of LA’s Osteria Mozza, and Vikram Sunderam of DC’s Rasika), as was the after-party we attended at Deann and Rick Bayless‘s Frontera Grill / Topolobampo.

But the saddest part of all was yet to come:  learning the shocking news in the wee hours of the morning that our food writer colleague Josh Ozersky had died while in Chicago to cover the Awards.  He was just 47.

And just like that, his wife is now a widow.

Why did he die?  The honest truth is, we still don’t know:

JoshOzerskyAutopsy

And does it matter?  When someone is gone, they’re gone forever — and loved ones are left with the same grief and heartache.

But why do most people die?  Having lost three parents and a stepmother between 2000 and 2009 — all to cancer — we were shocked to discover a few years ago that the number-one cause of death in America is nutritionally-controllable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  We were equally surprised to learn that diets that forego animal protein in favor of plant protein are associated with a lower risk of all three.

“In all my interviews with nutritional experts, the benefits of a plant-based diet provided the only point of universal consensus.”
Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food (2008)

And given our typical meat-three-times-a-day (and-bring-on-the-butter-cream- and-eggs-please) diet as food writers, it suddenly dawned on us that we might be well on our way to eating ourselves into early graves.

So we emulated President Clinton and others like him, and embraced a plant-strong diet three years ago today on May 8, 2012.  And we’ve never felt better.

We never want to lose another food world colleague far too soon.  (It was just a year ago that we had to mourn the loss of 44-year-old food writer Steven Shaw, a founder of eGullet.com and Fat-Guy.com, who died of an apparent heart attack in April 2014, leaving behind a wife and son.)

We want all our food-world colleagues to feel better than they’ve ever felt before — and to lead long and healthy lives.

As vegetarians (as of three years ago today), we scowl at no one when they walk by.  After all, omnivores are simply people just like we were on May 7, 2012.  We honestly don’t judge.

We only hope to be able to serve as resources to everyone — including and especially our food world colleagues — to help people understand that nutritional science suggests that they can help to save their own lives, and the lives of those they love, through shifting toward a plant-heavy diet emphasizing vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole (not refined) grains and low in sugar.

And the great news is that doing so is more flavorful and delicious than any of us ever previously dreamed possible.

Monday night provided a poignant reminder of how fond we are of all of you — and how much we hope to see all of you at the 50th Anniversary of the James Beard Foundation Awards.

President Clinton was lucky:  He got a wake-up call that caused him to make life-saving dietary changes.  Others of us might not be so fortunate.  Seize the day!

ClintonFoundationLogo

President William Jefferson Clinton established the Clinton Foundation, which can be found at clintonfoundation.org.

Kisses On Opening Night at Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art

UntitledMay12015_OpeningShot

Opening night at Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Untitled_Collage1

Top left: Shaved Chips and Dip; Top right: Chef de Cuisine Suzanne Cupps; Middle: Karen Page with Danny Meyer; Bottom left: Beverage Director Eduardo Porto Carreiro; Bottom right: Carrots with chili and peanuts

“Truer than ever: a restaurant is never as hot as it is the day before it opens! Now: on to being good!”
Danny Meyer‘s last Tweet before Untitled opened its doors at the Whitney Museum (May 1, 2015)

As observers and chroniclers of the American restaurant scene for more than 20 years now, we can think of few — if any — people from whom we’ve learned more about what makes a great restaurant great than Danny Meyer.

His final Tweet as his Union Square Hospitality Group creation Untitled opened its doors Friday night at the Whitney Museum speaks volumes about his wisdom and humility just as his newest restaurant was being named on Grub Street as the #1 “most talked-about, must-visit” restaurant in New York City.

While dining at Untitled on its — and the new downtown Whitney Museum’s — opening night, we were studying the secrets of how the USHG team works its magic.

None of them are truly secret to the observant and well-read, of course.  Meyer’s characteristic generosity led him to share hundreds of pages of his greatest tips on providing the level of hospitality that wins respect from colleagues and guests alike in his bestselling book Setting the Table, now a restaurant-world classic.

Part of the secret — which Meyer shares in our own book DINING OUT: Secrets from America’s Leading Critics, Chefs and Restaurateurs — is hiring the right people:

Selection is 80 percent of the game, training is 15 percent, and managing is probably 5 percent.  The basis for success in this business is great hospitality.  But the basis for being able to deliver great hospitality are an employee’s emotional strengths, that which we could not teach them if we had all 20 years of our lease….Prospective employees should be 1) extremely nice, 2) intelligent, 3) infused with an extraordinary work ethic, 4) empathetic, and 5) emotionally self-aware.  When one of these five characteristics is absent, that person is probably going to be unable to provide the kind of hospitality we are looking for.”
Danny Meyer, in DINING OUT

Meyer and his USHG partner Richard Coraine have long had a gift for attracting some of the very best and brightest — not to mention the warmest and most present — professionals in the business.

Untitled_Collage2

Top left: Spring onion flatbread; Top right: USHG’s Richard Coraine with Andrew Dornenburg; Middle: Karen Page, Mike Anthony, and Andrew Dornenburg; Bottom left: Strawberry pound cake with pistachios and ricotta; Bottom right: Cauliflower, curry and crushed black sesame

At Untitled, executive chef Michael Anthonyone of five finalists for the James Beard Foundation’s 2015 Outstanding Chef Award, which will be announced tomorrow night in Chicago — does what he’s long done best everywhere from Blue Hill to Gramercy Tavern:  celebrate vegetables, elevating them from side dishes to rightful stars of their own plates.  His trusted Gramercy Tavern compatriot Suzanne Cupps takes her own star turn as Untitled’s Chef de Cuisine, and appears to have picked up Mike’s magic touch.  At Untitled, irresistible snacks like shaved chips and dip (pictured above) and lightly cured vegetables are gently priced from $7-12.  Small plates (from carrots with chili and peanuts to spring onion flatbread) run $9-15, while entrees are $23-27.  We happily made a meal of our small plates, the highlight of which was the deliciously earthy cauliflower, curry and crushed black sesame, satisfying enough to fulfill the role of an entree.

The USHG team also includes two of our favorite sommeliers — John Ragan (ex-Eleven Madison Park and Campton Place) and Sabato Sagaria (ex-Inn at Little Washington and Inn at Little Nell) — both of whom we interviewed for our 2011 book THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO WINE and both of whom have since gone on to earn the coveted and hard-won title of Master Sommelier.  Untitled’s beverage director Eduardo Porto Carreiro (an alum of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud) immediately won our hearts with the Mary Poppins analogy he used to characterize our bottle of wine.

Untitled_Collage3

Top left: Executive Chef Mike Anthony with Danny Meyer; Top right: Our foursome’s view from the 8th Floor after dinner; Center: USHG’s CRO Sabato Sagaria, MS, with Andrew Dornenburg; Bottom left: +1ed with Hershey Kisses paired with our Madeira; Bottom right: Triple chocolate chunk cookie with vanilla milk

Across the board, service at Untitled is vintage USHG.  Case in point:  The happy occasion of sipping Madeira at the end of dinner led to our offhand comment to Sabato Sagaria that all we were missing were Hershey Kisses — an insider reference to his collegiate fondness for the pairing, as shared on page 267 of our book THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO WINE:

“While I was in college at Cornell, I was a teaching assistant for a wine course; I got paid $5.50 an hour and got to bring home two wines.  One day, they sent me home with a bottle of Bual Madeira, and my mom had just sent me a care package for exams that had some Hershey Kisses with almonds in them.  So I was studying late, and popped some Kisses while sipping my Madeira.  That pairing is what turned me on to Madeira!”
Sabato Sagaria, MS, in THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO WINE

What seemed to us to be mere moments later, we were stunned when a plate of Hershey Kisses was placed on our table so that we could enjoy the pairing!  (No idea how on earth they procured some so quickly!)  This was another a classic USHG “+1″ case study in proactively seizing opportunities to make diners’ experiences even more pleasurable and memorable whenever possible.  Mission accomplished!

During opening night with a roomful of heavy-hitters (like the Whitney Museum’s own director Adam Weinberg, who was seated with guests at a window table) and curiosity-seekers alike, to our palates the kitchen service seemed virtually flawless.  But a few times during the course of the evening, the lighting flickered back and forth from dim to bright, as the staff strove to get the ambiance just right.

Because that’s what opening nights — not to mention USHG’s quality-obsessed team members — are all about.  Other top restaurateurs might use opening night as a time to celebrate.  However, it’s very telling that Richard Coraine mentioned to Andrew that he and Meyer were headed out for their usual restaurant opening-night ritual:  sitting down over a cup of coffee and making lists of everything they still wanted to tweak.

We’d have loved to be flies on the wall to overhear that conversation, given how polished we found the restaurant on May 1st.  Untitled is already very, very, very good.  So apparently now: it’s on to being great!

UntitledMay12015_GreatestESBSky

P.S.  Is it any wonder that such a magical night (on the heels of a magical day) ended up inspiring one of Andrew’s most magical photographs ever from the window of our taxi on the ride home from Untitled?

Untitled_EATsign

Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art is on the first floor of 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West.  Website:  untitledatthewhitney.com

StudioCafe at the Whitney Museum of American Art is on the 8th floor of 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West.  Website:  untitledatthewhitney.com/page/studiocafe

There’s No Place Like Home — And No Better Welcome Than A Lovely Letter!

CoryBookerLetterTVFB

Cory Booker is a genius. I could sense it the first day I met him. His enormous intelligence is surpassed only by his heart. He is compassionate, committed, charismatic and generous of spirit.”
Oprah Winfrey, writing in Time magazine, which named him to the Time 100

“When you find yourself trying to avoid the truth about something because it’s inconvenient, because you know it doesn’t align with your values and your moral compass….I wasn’t living my truth….But also a strong part of me is, like, no judgment. I don’t want to judge other people for their decisions….Everybody struggles. We’re all working to live our best selves, and we should do less judging and more encouraging.”
Senator Cory Booker, in an interview with Vance Lehmkuhl on Philly.com, on why he went vegan

You rock!  Thanks for lifting me with your brilliant book.”
Senator Cory Booker, in an April 16th letter thanking Karen for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE

We’ve both been traveling so much of late, we thought the highlight of our day would be finally getting to sleep in our own bed tonight.

But Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) changed all that.

We arrived home in Manhattan to find his very kind, not to mention hand-personalized, letter thanking Karen for the copy of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE she’d sent to him upon learning of his effort to adopt a vegan diet.

We didn’t think there was anything else this man could do to impress us:  He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford (where he also played on the football team), was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and graduated from Yale Law School.  While serving as Mayor of the City of Newark (where he spent eight years living in a low-income housing complex), he’d once saved a neighbor from a burning building.  We remembered reading that when he released his 2013 tax returns, it was revealed that Booker had earned $540,341 that year — and had given away $440,000 of it to charitable causes (such as the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children in Newark, the American Cancer Society, Newark churches, and Omni Prep Academy, a charter school founded by his brother Cary).

But to have taken the time to thank Karen for the book, and to add a personal note, shows incredible class.  We’re both very impressed.

Senator Cory Booker rocks!

Newark Schools Chief

Senator Cory A. Booker‘s website is at booker.senate.gov.

Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti Launches #Dessertworthy, and Features Us In Today’s Interview

DessertworthyEmily_Collage

Pastry chef Emily Luchetti (left), whose insights were featured in THE FLAVOR BIBLE (center), and who was named the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef of 2004 (right, at the 2011 awards with Karen Page and Susan Feniger)

Emily Luchetti is one of best — and best-loved — pastry chefs in America.”
–Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking with Julia and Paris Sweets

You already know Emily Luchetti — she’s the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef who’s amazed your sweet tooth at restaurants ranging from Stars to Farallon, whose cookbooks (from Stars Desserts to The Fearless Baker) you’ve collected, and whose insights into creating desserts you read and loved in THE FLAVOR BIBLE.

DessertworthyBandW_Collage

#dessertworthy:  a social media movement to empower individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices and to be mindful of their dessert and sugar indulgences
Emily Luchetti, pastry chef

But meet Emily’s latest, greatest creation.  After tickling our tastebuds with her dessert creations for so long, Emily’s on a new mission:  To make sure we all remember that desserts should be an occasional treat and not an everyday indulgence — and to keep us mindful about our sugar intake, which has reached dangerous levels here in the United States.

To this end, Emily has launched #dessertworthy, which is a social media movement you can follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

It’s been receiving wide media coverage, including Russ Parsons’ article “Why does one of America’s top pastry chefs want you to skip dessert?” in the Los Angeles Times, Bonnie Benwick‘s “Dessert under attack! How to keep the last course from disappearing at your house” in The Washington Post, and this Q&A with Maggie Borden on the James Beard Foundation’s blog — not to mention Emily’s own first-person essay on the Huffington Post entitled “Why We Need To Improve Our Perception (And Consumption) Of Dessert.”

DessertworthyKandAFeatureApril222015

The #dessertworthy team is also featuring interviews with various culinary professionals on how they keep their sugar cravings in check, and what desserts they consider to be #dessertworthy.

We’re delighted to have been interviewed for today’s #dessertworthy feature (above), which you can read in full on Facebook here.

EmilyLuchettiSF_Collage

Emily Luchetti‘s #dessertworthy “Manifesto” can be found here:  www.emilyluchetti.com