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Friday, April 29, 2011

Chefs Speak! David Chang on Farm to Table, Anthony Strong on Grandma's Pasta

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

1. Another zesty David Chang interview. If I was a food writer in New York, I would beg Momofuku's David Chang for an interview every week. Is his food a culinary revolution? Is he a nice guy? Who cares! Like Anthony Bourdain and Jay Rayner, the man opens his mouth and good copy gushes out. In this new Details interview, Chang wades back into the fig-on-a-plate morass he flopped out of, gasping, a few years ago:

I think the best restaurants in America should be in California. It's the land of fucking everything ... but everywhere you go, everyone wants rustic Italian shit. I have nothing against that. Chez Panisse is one of my favorite restaurants. But does every restaurant have to be that? No! And everyone's opening up these fucking farm-to-table bullshit restaurants. How else are you supposed to cook? You're supposed to get the best ingredients possible. Do you want a pat on the back?

See? Good copy! Of course, New Yorkers like Chang have no idea how scrupulously San Francisco diners examine menus -- a good portion of the source-identifying that S.F. restaurants do is for customers' sake. Plus, of course, he's completely out of touch with what's happening in L.A. and San Francisco, where a ton of new restaurants start with a farm-to-table mission and then bat for the fence, creatively. But I blame the myopia of the national food press for Chang not knowing that. It takes an awful long time for the New York magazines -- and therefore, New York chefs -- to notice what's percolating on the other side of the country.

2. Speaking of good copy. I'm enjoying the series that Anthony Strong, chef of the forthcoming Locanda, is writing for Inside Scoop. To prepare for the Delfina owners' Roman restaurant in the Mission, Strong staged in Rome. He talks about the origins of some of the dishes on the new restaurant's menu, such as the amatriciana (which he compares to his Iowa grandmother's baked spaghetti) and carciofi alla giudia. It's funny, vivid writing that deserves its own blog. Or cookbook.

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