December 17th, 2010
07:30 PM ET
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Chef Richard Blais burst onto the national dining scene in 2008 when his stint on Top Chef allowed him to highlight the innovative cooking style that had earned him a devoted following at BLAIS restaurant in Atlanta. He finished as runner-up, but returned home to open Flip Burger Boutique with his creative culinary company Trail Blais and works with corporations to develop new products and kitchen tools.

As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with stints under food world luminaries like chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Ferran Adria, Blais honed his classical skills and now continually seeks to marry them with innovative techniques that borrow heavily from the chemistry lab. He's currently taking shot at the title as a cheftestant on Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars, and his new show Blais Off premieres tonight at 10 ET on the Science Channel.

Blais spoke with Eatocracy about the balance between tradition and technique, the power of nostalgia and his place in culinary history. Oh yeah - and he carries nutmeg in his pocket.

December 17th, 2010
05:30 PM ET
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December 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Wheels up for the weekend! We're fixin' to clock out, re-swaddle ourselves in approximately eighteen layers of clothing and bust a move to a slew of holiday soirees this evening. And tomorrow? We’re going to need a big cup of coffee.

To help us get our optimal weekend brew on is Lucy Valena, the owner of Voltage Coffee and Art in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now - where'd that other mitten go?

Five Things You Need to Know to Make an Awesome Cup of Coffee: Lucy Valena

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Filed under: 5@5 • Business and Farming News • Coffee • News • Sip • Small Business • Think

Republicans block food safety bill
December 17th, 2010
03:51 PM ET
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A sweeping food safety bill that passed the House and Senate earlier this year before stalling because of a legislative technicality now will likely die because Republicans object to giving it quick approval in the waning days of the congressional session, Senate leadership aides on both sides of the aisle said Friday.

The bill, designed to increase government inspections of the food supply in the wake of recent deadly food borne disease outbreaks, originally passed with wide support in the both chambers. However, it needs approval again because it violated a Constitutional requirement that bills that raise revenue initiate in the House.

Read Food safety bill could die on CNN Politics and catch up on S.510 the Food Safety Modernization Act


- Digest this: the new food safety act (and some very weird rumors)

- Senate approves long-delayed food safety bill

- Advocates: Food safety bill doesn't have teeth

- Food safety bill 'not perfect' but historic

- Op-ed: Jane Velez-Mitchell – Food safety doesn't end with S.510

- Poll: How much control should the federal government be allowed to exercise over food safety?

- S. 510: Food Safety Modernization Act – the basics

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Filed under: FDA • Food Politics • News • S. 510

December 17th, 2010
01:45 PM ET
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All Sally Jackson Cheeses are being recalled because they may be contaminated with E.coli, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday.

The cheeses from the company are made from raw cows', goats', and sheep milk. They do not carry labels or bar codes, because they are wrapped in leaves and tied with twine. The cheeses are all soft raw milk cheeses, and were distributed nationwide to restaurants, distributors, and retail stores.

Previous outbreaks have linked E.coli to raw dairy products, according to research.

Read Sally Jackson Cheeses recalled for possible E.coli

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Filed under: Dairy • Health News • Recalls • Tainted Food

Lunchtime poll – a very new-fashioned Christmas
December 17th, 2010
12:15 PM ET
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Nitro-chilled eggnog and a turkey sous-vide - do these things say "Christmas" to you? Later today, we'll share highlights from our chat with Top Chef All-Stars contender, Blais Off! host, and madly, wildly, wonderfully experimental chef Richard Blais, along with his recipe that knocks traditional 'nog on its noggin. Earlier, 'Cooking for Geeks' author Jeff Potter dropped some serious science about using an immersion circulator to ensure an ultra-moist turkey.

But does all that whiz-bang gadgetry jibe with your notion of what a holiday ought to be?


Box lunch
December 17th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • An artful sprinkling of festive cheer vis-à-vis cookie dough.– New York Times

  • Writer Jesse Bering goes all Hannibal Lecter and researches the logistics of cannibalism. - Slate

  • The woman behind Sandra Lee's infamous Kwanzaa cake confesses her sins. - Huffington Post
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

Roland Martin says parents shouldn't blame Happy Meals
December 17th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
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Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, Washington Watch with Roland Martin.

As a strong proponent of parental responsibility, it both amuses and angers me to see some parents lining up behind an initiative to sue McDonald's over the inclusion of toys in their Happy Meals.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is leading the charge in this case, pushing the state of California to ban the toys, suggesting that the toys in Happy Meals are inducing children to eat burgers and fries, thus contributing to the obesity epidemic in America.

As I asserted a few weeks ago in my column supporting First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, I fully back efforts to end obesity among our children. But at what point do some folks use common sense?

Read Parents, don't blame Happy Meals

Previously - Lawsuit wants McDonald's to stop toying around

December 17th, 2010
09:30 AM ET
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Science! It feeds your head and your belly. Cooking for Geeks author Jeff Potter shows you why you oughta sous vide at the holidays.

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Filed under: Christmas • Cooking • Holidays • How To • Molecular Gastronomy • Molecular Gastronomy • Sous vide • Techniques & Tips • Video

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