Every month, our Food Editor Nicole Douillet shares her top headlines from the world of restaurants, food and wine. Here are some quick news bites for the month of August 2018. Curious about big events in the world of food and drink this month? Click here.
1. Lists of top restaurants seem to be published perpetually. Just when I think I know all of the best spots to hit from Amsterdam to Zimbabwe, a new list comes out from a reputable publication.
Perhaps this would be vexing for some, but I love adding new chefs and restaurants to my ever-expanding list of places to try. I mention this because Bon Appetit just announced the Top 50 Nominees for their “Hot 10” which is their list of the 10 best new restaurants in America. Regardless of which 10 make the final cut, all 50 nominees are worth putting on your radar. We’re particularly keen to check out Pammy’s in Cambridge, Mass.
2. Travelling to Singapore this summer? Be sure to check out the newly released 2018 Michelin stars for the city-state. The closing of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon leaves the city with no three star restaurants, and other closings reduced the number of two star restaurants to five. However, the restaurants securing one star showcase a fairly diverse array of cuisines.
Michelin also announced their Bib Gourmand selections, which names restaurants with good food at an affordable price, and more than half of them are located in hawker centers. Hawker centers are outdoor open air food complexes best known for inexpensive meals, and prolific in southeast Asia. So on your next trip, forgo the foie gras and escargot, and grab an outdoor plate of chili crab or nasi lemak at any one of the great spots on the Michelin lists.
3. If you work in finance, you’ve likely heard the term “The Oprah Effect.” It refers to the boost in sales, and often stock price, that follows the endorsement of a company by media giant, Oprah Winfrey. The latest enterprise expected to see such a boost is True Food Kitchen, which recently announced a “significant equity investment” by the icon, as well as the news that Oprah will join True Food Kitchen’s board of directors.
True Food Kitchen is a healthy, chef-driven, sit-down restaurant serving brunch, lunch, dinner and catering menus with 23 locations in 10 states, mostly in the Western US. The menu was originally designed to promote the “anti-inflammatory food pyramid” created by integrative medicine doctor, Andrew Weil. With Oprah’s investment, the company plans to expand operations to additional states in the middle of the country and along the Eastern Seaboard.
4. Fans of Anthony Bourdain are up in arms. Just a month after Anthony Bourdain’s tragic death, National Geographic announced that it plans to air a new food show called “Uncharted” which will star pugnacious celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey. The premise of the show features Ramsay embarking on “anthropology-through-cuisine expeditions” in order to bridge cultures and “discover the undiscovered” in the culinary world. Each episode culminates in a “friendly competition” pitting Ramsay against local chefs to see if he can create versions of regional dishes better than the local chefs.
Social media exploded denouncing the show’s colonial implications, and the idea that a western chef should be able elevate regional dishes, creating versions better than the originals. Even the title of the show has come under fire for implying that culinary traditions, regardless of how old or how far-reaching, are undiscovered until brought to light and reinterpreted by western culture. The show is scheduled to air in early 2019.
Meanwhile, CNN has announced that Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Parts Unknown’ will return for a final season consisting of seven episodes, airing this fall. Only one was fully completed before his death — a trip to Kenya with CNN host W. Kamau Bell. The others will utilize archival footage.
5. Heading to Europe this August? If your travels are taking you to any of the major capitals, such as Rome, Paris, or Madrid, be sure to book restaurant reservations in advance. Fifteen years ago, I traveled to Paris in August, and expected it to be as slow and deserted as Manhattan can be in certain neighborhoods in August. Believe me, it was! However, there was one major difference. In Manhattan, August is the perfect month to slip into that impossible-to-get-into restaurant with no reservation, and nearly no wait. It’s the silver lining to dealing with scorching city streets and steamy subway platforms. In Paris, the streets were quiet, but many of the great restaurants were closed, simply displaying signs that said “See you in September”.
For a good list of Paris restaurants that will be open this month, click here. Make sure that the gems on your culinary itinerary aren’t on summer holiday! But if you head to any of the seaside towns, fear not. The restaurants will be packed, and you’ll likely see some of the famous city chefs soaking up rays and sipping rosé all August long.
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.