gastronomy

Inside the world’s top kitchens, where leading chefs, mixologists and winemakers reveal their secret ingredients

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August 19, 2014

At Home with Diana Kennedy

Inside the Chili-Filled Kitchen Garden of Mexican Food's Grand Dame

“In 1976 I decided to create a centre for my learning and cooking,” says Diana Kennedy, the 91-year-old doyenne of Mexican cuisine and culture. “I bought some land and gradually built my ecological house.” Quinta Diana in Mexico’s Michoacán state has been the longtime home of the legendary food writer and culinary anthropologist—and following a private lunch and post-prandial stroll through her garden—is explored in today’s film by James Casey, founder of New York-based Swallow Magazine. Kennedy’s publishing career began in 1972 with the epicurean classic, The Cuisines of Mexico, most recently winning a James Beard Award for her 2010 journey into the heart of her adopted country’s eating, Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy. Nestled in the verdant hills above the small town of Zitácuaro, the fertile grounds of Kennedy’s home support an embarrassment of riches. Vast selections of meticulously sourced chilies are flanked by numerous edible plants, herbs and fruits, celebrating Mexico’s extreme biodiversity in miniature. “There’s a lot I want to do,” she says. “When I make this place a foundation it will keep my ideas of conservation and sustainability alive.” Plans are afoot to turn the property into the Diana Kennedy Center, a non-profit space housing Kennedy’s vast archives of literature, writing and collecting, a fitting tribute to a life’s work both edible and otherwise.

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Ticket to LA: Le Chateaubriand's Iñaki Aizpitarte

Day 1: The Paris-based Chef du Jour Imports Some Cali Flavor Into His Kitchen

Grilled avocado and fresh citrus take center plate as culinary hotshot Iñaki Aizpitarte of must-visit Paris restaurant Le Chateaubriand preps for his first-ever trip to the Golden State by conjuring his own vision of Californian food culture. Ahead of his visit to Le Grand Fooding—a two-day gormandizer’s paradise organized by Alexandre Cammas, founder of chic French dining guide, Le Fooding, which starts tomorrow in LA and aims to connect the Parisian and Los Angeleno gastronomic scenes—Aizpitarte welcomed filmmaker Gautier Billotte into his 11th arrondissement eatery. “The atmosphere in Le Chateaubriand is a mix of serenity and effervescence,” says Billotte. “You could smell fresh, raw products and the food cooked for the team lunch in the small kitchen, where they listen to loud electro music.” Currently ranked 15th in the world by Restaurant magazine, the bistro is known for its exciting, untraditional take on French fare and a nonchalant atmosphere. A testament to Aizpitarte’s role as one of today’s leading young chefs, he also runs another of the city’s top destinations, the more relaxed tapas bar Le Dauphin, designed by Rem Koolhaas. For Le Grand Fooding, Aizpitarte is joined by fellow Paris-based chefs including Frenchies’ Gregory Marchand and Jean-François Piège of the eponymous Left Bank establishment, and such LA culinary stalwarts as Mozza’s Nancy Silverton, and he will be cooking up a specially prepared dish of fresh beans, herbs and brown butter.

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Danny Bowien: Mission Chinese

The Culinary Rogue Reveals the Secrets of Chinatown and the Music of Sichuan Cuisine

Sporting his trademark long bleached hair, maverick foodie and Sonic Youth aficionado Danny Bowien shares the kitchen antics at his celebrated Mission Chinese Food restaurant and feasts at his favorite local joint, where he finds inspiration in peppercorn- and beer-braised chicken and pork pancakes, in this new film by Jordan Bahat. The Korean-born, Oklahoma-raised chef has been drawing visitors to his small Chinatown outpost in staggering numbers since it opened in Manhattan last May, placating lines of hungry guests with a keg of free beer. It’s worth the wait: hybrid dishes like Kung Pao pastrami, catfish à la Sichuan seasoned with Old Bay and barbequed pig tails marinated in Coca-Cola have earned him a place at the top of The New York Times critic Pete Wells’ 2012 “Restaurant Triumphs” list. Bowien first gained cred for his signature brand of Chinese-American dishes with a pop-up venture in San Francisco’s Mission District. He picked up his culinary spark working odd restaurant jobs—not in formal training—and happily credits neighborhood haunts like Spicy Village as keys to his success. “Danny really let us in on his process,” said Bahat, who has shot music videos for indie acts including Josh Osho and Grouplove, and chose the sounds of Ducky to accompany this new short. “Danny goes somewhere, orders everything on the menu and then goes home and tries to recreate it. He’s the Mayor of Chinatown.”

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