It has been 40 years since Ed Schoenfeld helped open Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan, New York City’s first four-star Chinese restaurant. Working as a captain in the front of the house, he hosted an illustrious clientele that included Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Warhol, before going on to preside over the dining rooms of several other landmark eateries throughout the city. These days Mr. Schoenfeld, one of the country’s foremost experts on Chinese cuisine, is the proud co-owner of RedFarm, a popular dim sum restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village. A second RedFarm location is due to open on the Upper West Side next month, in addition to a new bar and dining room in the space downstairs from the original location. Last January, Mr. Schoenfeld and his wife, Elisa Herr, a financial editor, moved from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to the Forest Hill neighborhood of Newark, N.J. He spoke to us in the kitchen of the 1909 Georgian-style house that he and Ms. Herr share with their cat, Cocoa Chai Latte.
It’s always cool when a chef as accomplished and celebrated as José Andrés still admits moments of uncertainty, especially when the outcome is no less masterful. Take his “Yogurt-Pine Snow” dessert at minibar in Washington, DC. “This dish started out as a simple idea — a concept consisting of pine and yogurt,” Andrés tells us. “The idea came from childhood memories of eating snow off the pine trees that had amber-colored sap dripping from the tree. But we really did not know what form or shape this was going to take.”
One glance and it’s obvious that the resulting plate took on a literal presentation. And why shouldn’t it? Dramatic and spellbinding at once, the light dusting of yogurt-turned-snow evokes the natural beauty of the forest and the wintry season, and yet it’s entirely befitting for the avant-garde eatery’s menu. Read on for Andrés’ nostalgic interpretation.
“I’m interested in still life because it’s an easy mode of visual communication that gives pride of place to the sustenance we all need to survive. They are a visual history of a the produce and regional dishes of a specific culture” explains Megan Fizell, the writer and art historian behind Feasting on Art, a blog that offers up food-centric artwork paired with recipes befitting the visuals and the context of their creation.
The Sydney-based American also recently curated the show at Sydney’s Brenda May Gallery, Art + Food: Beyond the Still Life, the first of a series that will continue next fall with Sugar, Sugar, an exhibition of artwork created entirely with sugar.
As a Food Republic exclusive, we asked Fizell to pick five of her favorite food-based photographs, each one more striking than the next. Scroll down to take them all in, but first read on about Fizell’s process, as well as some of her favorite grub spots in her hometown Down Under.
It goes without saying that Julie Dickson knows a lot about hair. The stylist and salon owner has been styling locks since 1996, with stints at some of the city’s coolest beauty hubs — including the Upper East Side’s Minardi Salon, Dop Dop in Soho, and Blackstone’s in the East Village, before finally opening her own Nolita space, Fox & Boy, in 2009.
Besides her almost encyclopedic hair knowledge, which she’s also cleverly spun into annual “hair how-to” parties (Psst! The next one is November 16th!), Dickson’s one savvy advocate of her ‘hood — and where to go once you bounce out the salon’s doors. Thankfully, we tagged her for an insider guide, and she’s giving us the lowdown on the best place to meet your friends for after-work drinks, an awesome inexpensive breakfast café just a short walk away, and her go-to spot for a gorgeous dinner party dessert on the fly.
“Not only is the filling a scrambled egg, the outside is also an egg—more specifically, egg yolk,” explains chef Wylie Dufresne, as we poke and examine a curious yellow cube. The self-contained edible, an egg wizardly transformed into Scrambled Egg Ravioli, is the headline component in a dish from wd~50′s ”From the Vault” menu, a collection of the restaurant’s greatest hits, so to speak.
Though the dish itself has become a golden oldie at Dufresne’s groundbreaking restaurant, where gastronomy is perenially approached with original thinking, he tells us that its concept was originally inspired by a classic Italian pasta filled with scrambled egg. “I thought it’d be fun to do that, but what if the outside was eggs, as well as the inside.”
On the plate, the “ravioli” is joined by charred avocado and pickled kanpachi (a type of Japanese amberjack). “In many ways, it’s kind of like a breakfast,” Dufresne says of the dish. “The way you’d have scrambled eggs, potatoes, maybe a little bit of fish.” Pasta, eggs, breakfast…all such humble-seeming words that fade at first sight.
Read on to get the breakdown from Wylie himself.
We Americans might call it “Champagne For Dummies,” but leave it to the French to class up what’s pretty much a simplified guide to the Dos and Don’ts of bubbly. The newly debuted Champagnes Protocoles de G.H. Mumm includes 100 rules of conduct for all things Champagne-related, presented alongside a stylized and witty series of illustrations by the Israeli artist Noma Bar.
To freshen up its delivery of etiquette and savoir faire without the fussy attitude, the 185-year-old French Champagne house enlisted Bar to encapsulate the protocols in 12 chapters, ranging from how to choose the right type of bubbly for any occasion to opening one’s bottle with a saber (and for the most practiced show off, there’s even sabreless sabring).
The first four chapters comprising protocols 1-38 are currently available online and oniPhones, with the next chapters rolling out on a monthly basis, starting in June.
In the case of Cantamanyanes, a small-batch wine handcrafted in the Tivissa region of Catalonian Spain, the pared-down, hand-painted bottles wordlessly convey what the wine is all about: a wine that travels from earth to table, without the interference of distributors and other middle men. The work of Spanish design firm Enserio, the bottles are half-painted in a solid, light brown hue to represent the local soil.
Of course, “no distributors” means you’ll have to travel to Tivissa to get your hands on one of the 600 bottles available—or just look for similar less-is-more packaging bottle trends on this side of the Atlantic.
Appropriately titled the One Third Project, Austrian photographer Klaus Pichler’s arresting imagery of decaying food is a response to a UN-commissioned study in 2011, which revealed that one third of the world’s food-industry products go to waste.
Beyond that staggering figure alone, the horrific irony of this statistic is that while some 1.3 tons of edible goods are discarded yearly, 925 million people in the world face the daily threat of starvation.
An open kitchen has its perks — it allows you to entertain guests while preparing a meal, for example — but the all-in-one-kitchen and living room layout comes with its share of drawbacks, too (for example, couch pillows that smell like last night’s beef stew). More often than not, the impetus behind the open kitchen plan, especially in urban apartments, is to maximize real estate rather than accomodate an actual flow of space. Reed Woodson, founder of the design firm Beedus & Jardin, faced this kind of layout when renovating his own apartment in NYC’s West Village. The final product is one enviable kitchen that deserves to be seen from the living room sofa.
Here, he offers some expert advice on the subject.
Will Torres knows a thing or two about getting fit. As the powerhouse owner behind Willspace, the discreetly low-key personal training studio in NYC frequented by Bravo’s Andy Cohen, among many other stylish gents bearing jacked physiques under their fitted suits, workouts are his love and labor. But what we didn’t expect when we stopped by his newly opened 2,000-square-foot gym in the West Village, was to find someone who’s as equally passionate and knowledgeable about food as he is about total body conditioning. A self-professed Brussels sprouts lover and peanut butter addict, Torres gives us the rundown on his daily calorie intake, and explains his beef with juicing.