If you've ever hung out in a restaurant kitchen, or been seated close enough to one to witness the chefs in action, you've probably heard the head chef repeatedly calling out the word "Fire!" Rather than sounding any kind of alarm, the command actually means that the time has come for a particular dish to be cooked so that it will be ready to ...Read more
After five decades of cooking professionally, one of the most important secrets I've learned for making people feel a meal is memorable -- whether it is eaten in a restaurant or at home -- is to add special little touches. Garnish a pasta dish with fresh herbs, quickly saute fresh fruit compote to serve over ice cream or alongside cake, or offer...Read more
Having grown up in a town in southern Austria that was less than an hour's drive from the Italian border, I sometimes feel like I'm almost as Italian as I am Austrian. That may certainly help explain why I love to include pizzas and pastas on the menus in many of my restaurants, including my flagship Spago and even two Italian-style restaurants ...Read more
Food lovers talk a lot about "secret menus" at their favorite restaurants (usually fast-food places) that clue people in on all sorts of special variations they order -- only if they know about them. But even at fine restaurants, like my original Spago in Beverly Hills, there are secret items that anyone with the inside knowledge can ask for. ...Read more
We're just days away from the beginning of autumn on the calendar. (Even though the warm days of Indian summer that arrive with it and often stay through October can sometimes make us feel like the season hasn't changed yet.) Still, I don't usually rely on the calendar or the weather to tell me what season it is. One stroll through the farmers' ...Read more
In 1983, after opening my restaurant Chinois on Main in Santa Monica, Calif., I was proud to play a part in the culinary revolution known as Asian fusion. That term refers to combining traditional Asian ingredients, recipes, and cooking techniques with those of other cuisines, particularly western ones. At Chinois, our Asian fusion naturally ...Read more
All across the country, people are at a transition point in their dinnertime habits. We've finished summer's easygoing days, when the evening meal might mean grilled burgers and hot dogs or a quick bite out before a movie or maybe the children heading off in different directions for dinner at friends' homes. It sometimes seemed as if the family ...Read more
Even though autumn is three weeks away, most Americans think of Labor Day weekend as the end of summer. Family vacations are over, children are starting school, and grills are being readied for one more grand meal cooked outdoors.
There's just one problem. Summer doesn't seem ready to go. In many parts of the country, we're only ...Read more
Protect the ButterfliesJ.D. Sherylyn B. Bailey
The story takes place in the 1960's in a ficticious town in Mississippi. The towns people do not interact but Joseph, who is white, and Elizabeth, who is black, find a way to talk and interact with each other unbeknown to anyone.
Their secret comes out after some boys do the ...
We're now in the middle of a part of summertime known as "the dog days." Although that term began in ancient Rome to signify the time when Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, rose in the night sky, most people today associate it with weather so hot and sultry that dogs and humans alike lie down panting, unable to move.
But autumn is now only a ...Read more
We professional chefs can sometimes feel the pressure of having to come up with new, delicious dishes that will get people talking and make them excited about returning to our restaurants. After all, if we served just the same old familiar recipes, their attention might turn elsewhere.
But sometimes, as the saying goes, the oldies are the ...Read more
As I often like to say, we eat with our eyes first. Food that looks beautiful without being too fussy starts your mouth watering in anticipation. And, by contrast, if good ingredients have been well prepared only to be presented in a way that looks unexciting, you may get less pleasure from the whole experience.
That explains why I've been ...Read more
Among summertime's signature vegetables, eggplant sometimes seems like it doesn't get its fair share of attention. Tomatoes are the seasonal superstars, filling farmers' market stalls with all their many-shaped, multicolored variety. Zucchini can dominate through sheer numbers, especially if you grow them yourself. And then there's sweet corn, ...Read more
In my early years as a chef, one of the most basic, and best, lessons I learned was to taste ingredients raw. Experiencing even a little bit of food in its uncooked state is a perfect way to get a sense of its flavors and textures, so you'll always keep in mind the inherent qualities you want to highlight in the finished dish.
Sometimes, taking...Read more
Yes, I have to admit it: I played a part in the great sun-dried tomato craze of the 1980s. Guests at my original Spago location above Hollywood's Sunset Strip could enjoy sun-dried tomatoes on pizzas, in pastas and salads, and as part of the sauces or garnishes for grilled or sauteed foods. From their gemlike, deep-red color to their chewy ...Read more
Cooking with the seasons has become a big catchphrase these days. And it's easy to understand why. When you plan meals around what's freshest in the farmers' market, you almost always ensure that the food you put on your table will have the best flavor and texture while also offering the most nutritional benefits -- and all at the greatest ...Read more
Most people today understand what it means to be vegetarian, avoiding meats, poultry or seafood in their diets. In fact, the ever-rising popularity of farmers' markets makes it possible for more and more food lovers to consider themselves at least part-time vegetarians, enjoying the pleasures and health benefits of meals without animal proteins ...Read more
I haven't seen definitive statistics on the matter, but I'd be willing to bet that Independence Day sees more people across America cooking and eating outdoors than any other day of the year. It's a time to enjoy summer in all its glory with family and friends; and food in the open air seems even better when it's bookended first ...Read more