Chefs Cry! Lucca’s American Salumi Just Too Good

Chefs, Cooking, Restaurants By December 16, 2010

SALUMI TEARS: Cathy Pavlos, chef-owner of LUCCA in Irvine,  made some visiting Italian chefs cry. After they enjoyed a platter of glorious salumi, she told them it was American-made. They didn’t believe her.  She brought out the proof.  Two of them wept. Salt-curing and air-drying meats and sausages is a centuries-old artisanal tradition in Italy. But … American artisanal salumi…

One of the Best Cookbooks for Holiday Gifting

Chefs, Cookbooks, Cooking, Recipes By December 14, 2010

Even the most scurrilous Scrooge on my gift-giving list seems to appreciate the appeal of cookbook gifts. “BAKE! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking” by Nick Malgieri (Kyle Books, $29.95), 224 pages “This book is meant to have enough easy, straightforward baking recipes that people who haven’t baked before can use successfully,” says author Nick Malgieri, who heads up the baking…

Sustainable seafood with a twist

Cooking By December 8, 2010

We know seafood is delectable and can play a big part in a healthful diet, but issues concerning non-sustainability are daunting. Sustainability means this resource is either fished or farmed from sources that keep or increase production for the future, without jeopardizing their ecosystems. Modern fishing techniques allow mankind to fish farther and deeper, with greater efficiency. According to the…

Azmin Ghahreman, chef-owner of Sapphire Laguna in Laguna Beach makes Harira, one of the best soups on the planet.

Cooking, Videos By December 8, 2010

Azmin Ghahreman’s dishes are a delectable marriage of aroma, flavor and texture. Often his unique spice blends play an irresistible role, adding a just-right amount of taste-bud bling. He was born in Iran and raised in Switzerland. His Harira, a Middle Eastern soup with garbanzo beans, lamb and angel-hair pasta, reflects some of the alluring spices savored in his youth….

Chef Thomas Keller’s Salt-Crusted Striped Bass

Cooking, Videos By December 8, 2010

It was as if President Obama was coming to my house for dinner. That’s how excited I was. (Yes, this was written during a different administration.) Thomas Keller, widely regarded as the top chef in America, was due at my Huntington Beach home to tape a cooking video with me. The chef-proprietor of The French Laundry (Yountville) and Per Se…