January 28th, 2011
06:15 PM ET
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Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate.

Back in December, Chef Michael Symon sent out what he thought was an innocuous Tweet, reminding his over 20 thousand followers to eschew the center aisles and do their holiday food shopping at the perimeter of the grocery store. Little did he know that he'd be called an "elitist" - and much worse - for his trouble.

We invited the Iron Chef to sit down and expound on his wishes for clean, healthy food for all, the importance of cooking with family and why his grandfather just flat-out rocks.

January 28th, 2011
06:00 PM ET
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Food prices have been rising worldwide, as the cost of raw materials and agricultural products surge, contributing to political unrest around the globe.

In December, international food prices broke an all-time high when they rose 25% for the year, led by rising costs for staples like rice, wheat, and maize, the United Nations reported.

The sharp rise in food prices, in particular, has become "a source of political instability," New York University economist Nouriel Roubini, told CNNMoney's Poppy Harlow, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week.

Read - Tensions rise on surging food prices on CNN Money

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Filed under: Food Politics • Hunger

Fame Bites: Back of House - Suzanne Goin
January 28th, 2011
05:30 PM ET
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Fame Bites goes inside the belly of the entertainment beast. We're dishing out where the celebrities are eating, what they're eating and who they're eating with.

A celebrity in her own right, Suzanne Goin has her hands full this weekend. The James Beard Award-winning Los Angeles chef is feeding 1200 celebrities at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Her menu includes:

Fresh baked herbed crostini with Parmesan, chopped thyme and parsley
Blood oranges with dates, arugula and Parmesan
Beluga lentils with carrots, pine nuts and feta
Slow-roasted king salmon with cucumbers, yogurt and a ginger-mint chutney
Slow-roased lamb with a chickpea purée, black olives and a feta salsa verde.

Forget the beef, there’s no fowl in sight: Goin made some interesting menu choices for a crowd that has been famously known for its food peccadilloes. We caught up with her at Lucques, one of three restaurants she co-owns in Los Angeles.

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Filed under: Bite • Columns • Fame Bites

R-Pattz eats sandwich; people freak out
January 28th, 2011
04:15 PM ET
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Our fabulous colleagues over at The Marquee blog snagged the recent details of a Louisiana sandwich outing by a certain fawned over vampire. Whatever he ordered - we've got our fingers crossed for blood sausage - we hope it didn't suck.

(PEOPLE.com) - He's busy filming "Breaking Dawn" in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but during a recent lunch outing at a local deli, Robert Pattinson ended up feeding his fans' appetites.

"A couple of girls who work in here are young ... and they were absolutely star struck," a source at Maxwell's Market, where the actor dropped in for sandwiches, tells PEOPLE.

Pattinson is a repeat customer at the deli and, despite the attention he earned from the younger employees, the source says he's just like any other customer. "He's just a regular guy, and that's how we try to treat him," says the source.

Read the FULL STORY: Robert Pattinson causes a stir at a Louisiana deli

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Filed under: Bite • Gossip • News

Chinese dining 101: tap your tea and slurp noodles like it's your birthday
January 28th, 2011
03:45 PM ET
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No doubt you once thought that as soon as your skills were honed, you’d become the chopstick-wielding version of Edward Scissorhands, embarking on a masterful two-pronged exploration of China’s culinary culture.

Well, not quite.

Chinese dining etiquette is built on tradition, not dexterity.

We asked Lawrence Lo, founder of LHY Etiquette Consultancy Limited, to explain the enigmatic cultural origins of some common table manners, just in time for your Chinese New Year banquet.

Read the rest of "5 Chinese eating habits explained" on CNNGo.

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Filed under: Asia • Asian • Bite • Chinese • Chinese New Year • Cuisines • Etiquette • Holidays • Travel

Lunchtime poll - service with a snub
January 28th, 2011
01:00 PM ET
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One of the first things I knew about my now husband is that he had the appropriate level of regard for the people who serve his food. He and I met through online dating (seriously - it works) and one of the key criteria in my profile (in addition to not spitting in the street) was, "You're nice to the waiter and tip well."

His first note back included the assurance, "I have to be nice to waiters because I eat out so frequently. They have their own category on my social roster."

I'm a firm believer in the notion that how a date interacts with restaurant staff is a huge indicator of how he or she will eventually treat you. It's not just how much they tip (though that's always interesting) - it's the amount of respect they show.

In the six years we've been together, my husband and I have made friends with the waitstaff at some of our favorite restaurants, socializing outside of our visits to the restaurant. Why? Because the some of the smartest, quickest, funniest, most gleefully profane and emotionally intelligent people I know find that the profession that best suits those qualities is working front of house.

Sadly, not everyone's not on the same page of the menu. I've been out with people who treat their waiter with no human regard, dressing them down, treating them as a servant, asking "What do you do for your real job?" and assuming (most incorrectly) that someone would only take the job because they have to - not because it's their calling.

Those people have their own category on my social roster. It's labeled "dis-invited."

Previously - A life in waiting

Box lunch
January 28th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • Green means go! Red means stop! Australia may implement a traffic light labeling system for food.– Herald Sun

  • The pot is stirring after a woman was fired from a restaurant for shaving her head. - Winnipeg Free Press

  • Cheeseburger dip: it's a real thing, and you can make it at home. - Serious Eats

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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

January 28th, 2011
11:00 AM ET
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Taco Bell is steaming mad over a lawsuit alleging that its beef isn't beef, and replied with promises of a counter-suit in an ad slamming the claim as "absolutely false."

In a full-page ad appearing in prominent newspapers on Friday, Taco Bell proclaimed, "Thank you for suing us."

"Our reputation's been falsely tarnished," said Greg Creed, Taco Bell's president. He told CNNMoney that he's meeting with outside counsel to possibly take legal action on these "egregious" accusations against his beef.

Read Taco Bell: 'Thanks for suing us' on CNN Money

Previously - Lunchtime poll – Does Taco Bell's beef blending bug you?

Breakfast buffet
January 28th, 2011
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday and the most delicious finds on TV.

Sorry Jack Johnson: making banana pancakes will have to wait for another day. January 28 is National Blueberry Pancake Day, though the fruit in the pancake idea is golden all year round.

Blueberries (that is, if they're real) are often touted for their high antioxidant and fiber content, two qualities that superbly match up with pancakes’ high fluffiness and deliciousness content. Be sure to douse 'em with butter and syrup - it’s how Mrs. Butterworth would want it.

What's on TV?

January 2011
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