Every month, our Food Editor Nicole Douillet shares her top headlines from the world of food and wine. Here’s the news to know in the world of fine dining this December 2018. Curious about other events in the world of food and drink this month? Click here.
top headlines from the world of food and wine this month
1. refrigerator tech gets even smarter
There are many technologists working on projects that they believe will represent the future of cooking. We already see smart kitchen appliances, like the refrigerator that allows you to view your contents from anywhere. Now, companies are betting that the next innovation will be appliances that do the hard work of planning, prep, and even cooking for you.
Food Network TV host and chef Tyler Florence joined startup Innit last year as the head of innovation and content. The company is working on technology that will allow that same smart fridge to survey its contents and suggest dinner ideas. There will even be custom recipes that utilize the produce you have on hand.
Other companies are working on smart ovens and stoves that will then cook the meal that the fridge has suggested. So, sit back and sip a cocktail. Your celebrity-chef powered appliances will take care of dinner.
2. a perfect holiday gift for the foodies on your list
It’s the holiday season, which means lights and candles and trees and parties and egg nog. Oh, and the daunting task of picking the perfect gifts for the foodies in our lives.
Do you need a gift idea for that friend who loves to throw dinner parties? Direct-to-consumer brands Great Jones and Made In are creating cool cookware that doesn’t break the bank. Both companies were started in the last couple of years by childhood friends who wanted to upgrade their cookware collection, but couldn’t afford All-Clad or Le Crueset.
The founders of Great Jones asked friends in the restaurant industry to help them fund the business. They signed on investors such as David Chang (head of the Momofuku empire), Clare de Boer (chef and partner at the Manhattan restaurant, King), and Nic Jammet (co-founder of Sweetgreen).
De Boer even stocked the kitchen at King with Great Jones pots and pans; she has only praise for their durability and quality.
Made In also had the idea to skip the middleman in the sale of cookware in order to offer better prices directly to consumers. Their early model and sales pitch caught the attention of chef and Top Chef judge, Tom Colicchio who became an early investor.
Both companies make pots and pans that are not just durable and made in the USA, but that are also really nice-looking. I’m sure these would be a cherished addition to any foodie’s kitchen.
3. michelin’s 2019 new york city stars awarded
Michelin, the European tire-maker and publisher of world’s oldest restaurant guide, announced its list of starred NYC restaurants early last month. While the 2019 guide didn’t see many big moves up or down in the rankings, there were a few noticeable omissions. Especially in light of the #MeToo movement that has rocked the restaurant industry.
For the first time since April Bloomfield entered the NYC restaurant scene, she does not hold a single star. She and former business partner, Ken Friedman, parted ways last year after allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Friedman hit the papers. Ms. Bloomfield still helms the kitchen at The Breslin, which was stripped of its star this year.
When asked about the loss of a star, Gwendal Poullennec (the new international director of the guide) said that there had been a lack of “consistency and quality” in the experiences of his Michelin inspectors.
Oxomoco and Claro, two new Mexican restaurants run by non-Mexican male chefs, each earned stars this year. Both are very good restaurants, but so are Cosme and Atla. Yet, neither Cosme nor Atla have received recognition from Michelin. This despite the fact that their Mexican chef, Daniela Sotto-Innes has received accolades from many other highly regarded lists and guides.
When asked about Cosme, Poullennec replied that “consistency was lacking.” The chefs who earned stars are very deserving of the recognition. But it would be nice to see more chefs of diverse backgrounds also lauded by Michelin.
4. price drop on truffles
Here’s some good news for truffle-lovers! Heavy rains this fall in northern Italy have produced a bumper crop of Italian white truffles. Because of the supply, prices are roughly half of what they were last year.
The Piedmontese city of Alba is the white truffle capital of the world. It hosts the main market for the tuber, as well as a two-month long truffle festival. The current price in Alba is EUR 2,000 to EUR 2,500 ($1,030 to $1,286) per kilogram. That compares to an average price of EUR 5,000 per kilogram last year.
New York restaurants which typically offer a truffle supplement to certain dishes are charging roughly 20-30% less than last year. That still means shelling out a couple hundred dollars for a 10 gram shaving over your pasta. But, don’t dwell on the notional amount – order the truffle supplement and pat yourself on the back for saving 20-30% over last year!
5. marcus samuelsson heads to montreal
If your travel plans will take you to Montreal next year, look out for the opening of Marcus Sameulsson’s newest restaurant. It’s set to debut in the new Four Seasons Hotel in the spring.
The chef will also be relocating to Montreal to oversee the kitchen personally. Early indications suggest a focus on vegetables and fish, with accents from Mr. Sameulsson’s “culinary background.” Think flavors from his native Ethiopia, upbringing in Sweden, and many years living and cooking in New York. The restaurant, to be called Marcus, is being billed as a brasserie and will be the first to Montreal opening by a prominent New York chef in quite some time.
Those are the top headlines from the world of food and wine this month. You’re good to go – have a great December.
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Nicole Douillet is Dandelion Chandelier’s Food Editor. In addition to sharing her love of all things food with our readers, Nicole is a finance executive who has spent nearly 18 years on Wall Street in a variety of roles.
She began her career as the first woman hired as a trader on the block trading desk at UBS. For over 13 years, Nicole was a quantitative trader and portfolio manager on the proprietary trading desk at Credit Suisse. She then served as Head of Product Innovation and LGBT Strategy for Wealth Management Private Banking New Markets at Credit Suisse.
Most recently, Nicole co-founded Reboot Investing, Inc. where she served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer. A recognized leader in socially responsible investing, Nicole created the ground-breaking Credit Suisse LGBT Equality Index ® and co-authored “What’s the Effect of Pro-LGBT Policy on Stock Price?” for the Harvard Business Review in 2014.
Nicole currently serves on the Advisory Council for Action Against Hunger | ACF International. She is a former junior Olympic skier, food and drink aficionado, serial restaurant regular, and chili cook-off champion. She and her wife live in Brooklyn with their son, whose favorite restaurant is Lilia. Nicole is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.