Best of the Blogs

Starshine
We love how the Luxist, an American website that reports on luxury stuff and aspirational goodies, covered the announcement of the Michelin stars last week.  Ready?

Gwyneth’s Favorite Female Chef Snags a Second Michelin Star

That’s Helene Darroze to you and me, referring to the second Michelin star she earned for the amazing dining experience she creates at Helene Darroze at The Connaught.  It seems La Paltrow stayed at The Connaught while she was doing up her London digs and fell in love with the Darroze’s cooking.  We gave Paltrow’s own blog, GOOP, a once-over to see if we could confirm her devotion, but no dice, so we’ll just have to take Luxist’s word for it.  Given Paltrow’s famously restricted diet, we do have one question: was she able to persuade Darroze to cook macrobiotic for her?
J’Accuse d’Or
The Bocuse d’Or is a massively huge biennial international culinary competition that attracts some of the most promising young chefs from around the world to go head-to-head in time-limited high-stakes cookoffs.  This is the World Cup of cooking, with intermediate contests within countries and across continents backed by some heavy sponsorship and involvement of some of the best chefs on the planet. There is tinsel and cheering and anthems and an alpine energy level.  There are even wild card entries to, er, spice things up.  For a talented young chef to win the Bocuse d’Or is to change his or her life.  The prize was founded by French chef Paul Bocuse in 1983 and the 2011 final was just held in Lyon.  This year the Scandinavians swept to glory.  Gold went to Rasmus Kofoed of Denmark, Silver to Tommy Myllymaki of Sweden (which has its own Bocuse d’Or Academy) and Bronze to Gunnar Hvarnes of Norway.  This is in the year that Noma in Copenhagen has been named Best Restaurant in the World. We believe we see a pattern emerging from the mist.  Grubstreet has posted a lively series of dispatches from Lyon from an American perspective.
But why the ‘J’Accuse’ of the title?  Sabotage.  The UK Team, who came an honourable middle at thirteenth place out of twenty-four, arrived on the day of the big final to discover that their equipment had been used and left in a terrible state.  We’re sure Simon Hulstone, head chef at The Elephant in Torquay, dealt with it professionally, but it can’t have helped his cause.  His blog on The Road to Lyon is here, though he hasn’t posted since before he left these shores.
Amour A La Carte
Nick Harman at foodepedia reports on a fine meal he had at ‘the most romantic restaurant in London’ Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden.  You can read all about what he had and didn’t have and how he thinks that while it’s not an exciting restaurant it is most certainly a romantic one and he got the vibe even though he was there with a woman not his wife.  At Clos Maggiore, he felt that the food wasn’t the star of the show, the customer is.  But he also brings big news that Clos Maggiore has appointed a Maitre d’Amour for Valentine’s Day to make your romantic day even more unbelievably, star-spangled magnificent.  No, he’s not called Cupid.  His name is Daniel Kapp and he will do everything within his power to tailor the restaurant to your romantic requirements, from favourite flowers and playlists to balloons and favourite dishes on the menu.  A string quartet maybe, or a suite at a nearby hotel or a diamond ring hidden among the chocolates or tickets to the Royal Opera House.  If it brings love to the table, the Maitre d’Amour will make it so.
We have to say that’s a capital idea, though we don’t know how much more romance Clos Maggiore can take.  It already averages one proposal per week in its lovely dining room and that definitely proves that they’re putting the diners first.
Racine Wins Again
The Catty Life has now had The Racine Experience.  We’ve blogged about this before.  Someone means to get there for yonks, finally makes a reservation and goes, has a blinding culinary experience in a lovely space with excellent service and declares Racine a new favourite.  In her words,

Good it was not. Brilliant it was.

See?  Another notch in the Racine belt, if it were so crass as to indulge in that sort of thing.