Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pizza Twirling is Now a Protected Art Form


Free pizza was handed out in celebration of the Neapolitan pizza being awarded the coveted "heritage status" by UNESCO in Naples last week.

The result came following a signed petition by two million people in support of the pizzaiolos' application to protect the great tradition of pizza making in the famous home of pizza.


UNESCO has now officially recognised the practice of twirling the pizza dough and topping it, before the pizza is baked in a wood-fired brick oven.

Pizza making also forms part of a unique cultural and gastronomic tradition of songs, stories and gestures that connect the pizza makers and diners in Neapolitan neighbourhoods.


There are also strict guidelines on the permitted toppings of the Neapolitan pizza - the only two pizza toppings recognised are the famous Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, oil and basil) the Marinara (tomato, garlic, oregano and oil).

"I think, and I hope, that this could be the chance to make foreigners understand how pizza is made, without Nutella or pineapple," Matteo Martino, a customer at a Naples pizza restaurant, told Reuters news agency.

Maurizio Martina, Italy's minister for agriculture, food and forestry, wrote on Twitter. "Another step towards the protection of Italy's food and wine heritage."

Fondue: 5 Unusual Locations to Enjoy the Swiss Specialty



If winter makes you want to huddle around a bubbling pot of fondue guzzling hot cheesy laden bread washed down with a bottle of red, you're in good company.

Infact, head to picture-perfect Switzerland and you'll find the ideal winter wonderland to live out your fondue fantasies. Fondue restaurants aside, there's a whole host of unusual locations to enjoy the Swiss landscape and eccentricities sat around a Swiss fondue.

In a gondola? tuktuk? tent? tram? Take your pick of the addresses below and indulge your fondue desires.


What about exchanging that fireplace for winter thermals and cozying up in an igloo to experience that real winter wonderland feeling? You can do just that in the purpose-built fondue igloo.

See the incredible work that went into making the igloo:

Open: 15 December 2017 to 8 April 2018

Berghotel Engstligenalp, 3715 Adelboden, Switzerland

For those cheese lovers out there who prefer to be more mobile check out the fondue tram:

This 28 seater tram operates from 3 November 2017 through to 28 February 2018 giving fondue lovers a tour of the city while they enjoy the national dish.

The tram departs from Bellevue, Zurich. Switzerland. Check the website for departure details for times and dates.


Got an appetite for heights? Try the Pop-up Fondue in the Sky, in 3 Swiss ski Resorts this Winter: Verbier, Villars-sur-Ollon (for its 4th édition) and Crans-Montana.

Trockener Steg 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland


Fancy fondue on three wheels? a ninety-minute tuk tuk tour of Zurich as four of you huddle over a fondue and bottle of wine.

Tuk Tuk operates all year round from Monday to Friday. Check the website for further details.

Taxistand Museumstrasse, Hauptbahnhof Museumstrasse 1 8001 Zürich


You can also, of course get your winter fix at the funky cosy winter tent of Frau Gerald’s in Zurich.

Warm yourself by the open log fire as you tuck into fondue and other winter specialities.

Frau Gerolds Garten Geroldstrasse 23/23a 8005 Zürich

If all this talk of fondue has made you hungry and Switzerland seems a stretch too far, why not try rustling up this flan of wild cardoons with Caciocavallo fondue and take traditional fondue up a level.

29 New Dishes from Gaston Acurio in 2017


Gaston Acurio is in full swing at the moment, after returning to his Astrid y Gaston kitchen in 2016, the Peruvian chef has totally reimagined the restaurant’s menu, introduced one of the best bread offerings in fine dining and, as you can see from the pictures below, kicked out a startling amount of new dishes.

We say startling because in a recent conversation with Acurio, we learned the chef has produced over 30 new dishes in 2017 for Astrid y Gaston alone - this does not take into account numerous other creations for his other restaurants which include a tiger milk bar, a Peruvian grill, a tavern and a Chifa place (Peruvian meets Chinese).

The new dishes includes a wonderful mix of Peruvian flavours weaved into all sorts of colourful creativity. As Acurio explained in a recent interview, “This year we celebrated two ideas, one was recognition to all the communities that have arrived to our country in the last 500 hundred years and mixed their food cultures with the ancient peruvian food culture. And the second was the imagination of communities that are just arriving such as Venezuelans, or others that didn’t arrive yet, like Thailand, Venice, Mexico, Sichuan, India, Morocco."

These new menu themes translate to all sorts of interesting dishes, tiradito, ceviche, goat tamale and Nikkei style sea urchin are just a few on the impressive list. One ceviche, ‘When We Ate All The Fish’, is served only with vegetables - an idea we discussed with Gaston back in 2016.

Below are 29 new creations from Astrid y Gaston in 2017, Acurio has worked alongside his new chef Juan David Ocampo and the award winning pastry chef, Astrid Gutsche, who created the desserts.

River shrimp tartare alfajor.

Egg with chorizo dimsum.

The Andes are melting.

Deep scallops Lima Genova.

“We have tired to imagine what could happened if these groups arrive one day and their food cultures joined ours. A nam pla sauce with huacatay peruvian herb, harissa sauce made with peruvian rocoto, or a tiradito made with sichuan flavours like the Mapo Tofu dish. As peruvians we want to send this message to the world. That in this moment where some people build walls of intolerance, there is a country, called Peru where everybody is welcome, where we embrace immediately their nostalgia, memories and soul in our food - where they will feel welcomed and part of our society.”

Mapo Tofu Chufa Tiradito.

Alpaca steak tartare. 

Sea scallop in love with a lucuma gnoqui.

Guinea pig bao.

Chicharron, sweet potato, quince and black beans on a quinoa tortilla. Taco Peru Loves Mexico.

Duck sanguche.

Ceviche when we ate all the fish.

Melon, proscuitto of bonito fish, parmigiano lech di tigre.

Leche di Tigre.

Octopus and Peruvian five pseudo cereals.

Red snapper, fideos in rocoto and crab parihuela broth. 

Snow high Andes tiradito. 

Tiradito latin lover.

Octopus tuttifrutti.

Peruvian arab community: Tune, quinoa tabbouleh, lima beans humus, aji panca harissa glazed bonito.

Rock and Rol Fish.

The guinea pig that thinks he's a peking duck.

Rabbit with aji amarillo cirry and jazmine quinoa.

Sea urchin a lo alfredo Nikkei.

Duck with rice cooked in banana leaf.

Goat tamale.


Figs from the Lima dessert.

Peruvian apple tarta de manzana - backed at the moment.

Chocolate barquillo. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

France Leading the Fight Against Food Waste



At a time when food waste is a real global scourge, France is not doing so badly. According to the Food Sustainability Index, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, France is at the top of the list of countries fighting against food waste.

For the purposes of the study, the investigators assessed 34 countries according to three main axes: food loss and waste, sustainable agriculture and nutritional challenges. These countries account for more than 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the world's population.

France's acheivements are thanks to "action against waste at governmental and decision-making levels," according to AFP. Last year, a new law was passed prohibiting supermarkets from throwing out foodstuffs approaching their expiry date, with the surplus given to charities and food banks.

In the same vein, France has also run a campaign reminding consumers that 'ugly' fruits and vegetables are quite fit for consumption.

Despite this, much remains to be done. Indeed, if France "spoils less than 2% of its total annual food production," annual food waste per individual still amounts to 106kg. Not far behind France are countries such as Japan, Germany, Spain and Sweden, while at the very bottom of the ranking is the United Arab Emirates, where food waste and rates of obesity continue to rise.

Finally, Italy leads the world with the most viable agriculture, while Japan ranks first in the field of nutrition.

Marthinus Ferreira: 'Don’t be Afraid to Fail'


Marthinus Ferreira: 'Don’t be Afraid to Fail'

A chat with the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 mentor for Africa Middle East, about how he developed his style of cooking and about his plans for the future.

Creativity is at the heart of Marthinus Ferreira’s food. Having worked with the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal in the UK, he has developed a style of cooking that challenges the palate without ever straying beyond the boundaries of good taste. Perhaps it’s the family influence that keeps him grounded at his DW-eleven-13 restaurant in Johannesburg. His mother, father and sister have all played their part in creating one of South Africa’s best restaurants.

Now he brings his nurturing skills to S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018, as he prepares to be a mentor a talented young chef from the Africa & Middle East region. He spoke to Fine Dining Lovers ahead of the competition.

Can you remember the moment you decided to become a chef – what inspired you and what obstacles did you overcome to achieve your dream?
Both my parents worked, so in the holidays I had to make my own food for lunch. At the same time, cooking shows were becoming very popular. These programs started giving me ideas and inspiration to use what was in my fridge and pantry. I realised I wanted to know more and that I really enjoyed the cooking, creating and obviously the eating. What really made me excited was the thought of flavour combinations and creating new dishes. Every day I would try something new and also learn as much as possible about chefs and other ways of cooking.

What was your biggest triumph as a young chef, and is there anything you would consider your biggest failure?
My biggest triumph was opening and still running my restaurant D-eleven-13. It’s been over 8 years and I still love what I do every day. My biggest failure would be the fact that I love to please people. I have learned that you can't please everyone.

As a mentor, what do you expect from your young chef, and what do you think you can offer him/her?
Don’t be afraid to fail. You learn more from your failures than you do from your triumphs. Keep tasting. Always think how you can improve. I hope I can offer not just advice but inspiration, and my years of experience and guidance, to hopefully keep the young chef grounded and humble.

What would victory in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition mean for a young chef?
I think winning the S. Pellegrino Young Chef opens so many doors and also gives confidence and a sense of achievement to these young chefs. As a young chef, cooking day in and day out with very little recognition is part of the job. However, knowing you could be on the road to bigger and better things can and should motivate all young chefs.

You like to take risks in the kitchen. Tell us about some of your signature dishes at DW-eleven-13, and the stories behind them.
24-month aged gouda, coffee cream, praline and burnt onion. Not sure the coffee worked with the cheese, but it’s been the most unusual combination and fun dish we have done in years.

DW-eleven-13 is a family affair – what are the pros and cons of working so closely with family members?
My family are involved a lot less in the day-to-day running of DW. They are more there for advice and support these days. My sister works part time for me doing mostly admin. My mother does a bit of maintenance now and then. And my father helps me make big decisions, especially financially. All this gives me great support. The cons are that they don’t really cook. So I’m the only one coming up with new ideas and menu items. Also, none of them work the floor or the kitchen. They have never done service. Sometimes the day-to-day running can be tough, but so far I have managed to do it.

Your food has a very international outlook – which are your favourite world cuisines and why?
It changes weekly. I’m very much into Italian cuisine at the moment, but last week it was Thai and Portuguese. Next week it might be African. The more I read and learn, the more interesting my ideas and thoughts on food are, which keeps me excited and very passionate about cooking.

You’re a well-known celebrity chef in South Africa after your work on The Ultimate Braai Master. Has fame changed you?
I would say it did when I started doing TV. But fame goes away and you realise what you enjoy most. Being in my own restaurant and doing my own food is always my number one priority.

What are you working on at the moment and what are your plans for the future?
I’m working on making the dining experience better every day at DW. The future plans? I can’t say just yet! However, there is something a bit different coming in the New Year…

Tickets Now Available for Russia's Largest Gastronomic Festival


Tickets are now on sale for the second ever edition of the leading gastronomic event of the year, IKRAin Sochi, Russia, from 31 January to 3 February 3rd, 2018 and in partnership with Acqua Panna and S.Pellegrino.

The winter festival designed to promote Russian gastronomy offers a unique experience for both the professional and foodie community as well as a platform for cultural exchange. The four days focus on Russia's heritage and traditions, from the importance of local farmers to contemporary Russian cuisine and the growing role of professional chefs.

Workshops, dinners and talks shape the culinary landscape for what looks like a truly spectacular and original selection of events.

From Brian McGinn: director and executive producer of the documentary TV series “Chef's Table” on Netflix to Mathew Kenney: vegan chef, author of books on veganism, restaurateur and founder of PlantLab – the first culinary school specializing in raw foods, there should be a topic to appeal to most tastes.

Here's the full programme of events


Leading Russian chefs will be joined by a world-class selection of international chefs for a number of four hand dinners and masterclasses to a live audience.

The most renowned Russian chefs will be on show, like Vladimir Mukhin (”Rabbit”, Moscow), Anatoly Kazakov (“Selfie”, Moscow), Igor Grishechkin (“Kokoko”, St. Petersburg), Evgeny Vickentyev (“Hamlet&Jacks”, “A wine case”, St. Petersburg), Georgy Troyan (“Severyane”, Moscow), S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 mentor Andrey Shmakov (“Savva”, Moscow).

International Chefs include:

  • Virgilio Martinez: his restaurant “Central” in Lima, Peru, occupies the 5th line in The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2017, and the 2nd in the South America's Best Restaurants 2017 list
  • Gaggan Anand: chef of “Gaggan” restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, which tops the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 list
  • Mauro Colagreco: chef of “Mirazur” restaurant in Menton, France, which occupies the 4th place in The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2017
  • Alex Atala: chef of “D.O.M” restaurant in Sañ Paolo, Brazil, the 16th place in The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2017 and 3rd place in The Best Restaurants in Brazil 2017
Esben Holmboe Bang: chef of three Michelin starred “Maaemo” restaurant in Oslo, Norway.

Check the website for tickets.

What is Pandan? Meet the Herb having a Moment


Hailed as the new matcha and endorsed by British food writer Nigella Lawson, pandan is the new food craze reportedly set to sweep across Britain.

What is Pandan?

The aromatic leafy herb that hails from Asia is already popular in the US, and the domestic goddess predicts that its spell is spreading.

In Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and beyond, the herbaceous tropical plant which grows in Southeast Asia is commonly used as a flavouring, like in the West.

Pandan tastes similar to almond or vanilla, although the pandan has many other virtues such as treating sunburns, warding off insects or reducing stress.

How to Use the Pandan Leaf?

Pandan leaves can be used to infuse coconut milk or homemade sauces or blitzed into a paste with a little water, ideal for use in batters, custards and creams.

In pancakes and ice-cream pandan adds a fragrant edge, but is just at home in savoury cooking giving rice some extra flavouring.

Pandan also comes in essence form, which can be used just like vanilla or almond.

20 Dishes from 2017's Newest Three-Michelin-Star Restaurants


As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the comings and going in the world of the Michelin Guide over the past year.

Bangkok received its first ever Michelin Guide, with Taipei soon to follow, while Tokyo remains the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world – an astonishing 234.

In France, chef Yannick Alléno is now the proud patron of two, three-Michelin star restaurants, while over in the US, San Francisco is staking a claim as the best place to eat in America, with seven three-Michelin-star restaurants, two more than New York, which recently saw one of its most famous three-star restaurants, Jean-Georges, demoted to two.

2017 saw the release of 22 different guides in total, with 11 new restaurants receiving Michelin’s highest honour of three stars. Here are dishes from all but one of them (unfortunately no pics available for Lidain Kyoto).

LE 1947









Pizza Twirling is Now a Protected Art Form

PIZZA TWIRLING IS NOW A PROTECTED ART FORM Free pizza was handed out in celebration of the Neapolitan pizza being awarded the coveted &quo...