Monday, July 28, 2014

Young chef competition call: ment'or

Are you, or do you know, a chef 22-27 interested in recognition and some bucks to go with it?

What used to be called the Bocuse d'Or Foundation -- a nonprofit aimed at preserving classic cuisine in America -- became the ment'or BKB Foundation (with board members Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Jérôme Bocuse, son of the more famous Paul), and it's now holding its first "ment'or Young Chef Competition Series."

Chefs apply between now and Sept. 4 to compete in one of four two-hour cooking contests, set for October and November in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Miami and New York (four chefs will compete in each city). Winners and second-place finishers in each city get three- and two-month stagiaires (essentially internships) in what the competition's press release calls "some of the nation's most well respected restaurants."

“We have so many excellent young cooks in this country who are eager to learn, grow, and advance their careers, as well as cook on a national stage,” Boulud says in the release. “This competition is a celebration of the younger generation of aspiring, talented chefs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a self-taught line cook, a culinary school graduate, a second-career cook or came from another country. Let the best chef win!”

Of course, diners are invited to go, watch and eat at the "host venues" (not announced yet).

For applications and more info:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Links for a Thursday

Call me when you start garnishing like this. Anyone. (Zagat's listed eight "over the top" cocktails, here.)

Actual state fair food, or made-up silliness? (I whiffed on the quiz.)

Well played, Eater, especially the "unconventional riff on brussels sprouts" here.

National Tequila Day (although: Isn't every day?): July 24

Vida uptown features Casamigos tequila for the day: Buy a shot or a drink made with it and $1 goes to Second String Santa, and Vida matches the overall donation. Come for a tasting at 7 p.m. for $25, and Vida donates $5 to SSS, which raises money and delivers gifts and school supplies to kids who need them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

'Dog days' at BLT Steak; actual dogs at JJ's

BLT Steak offers a "Dog Days of Summer" blackboard menu from chef Ben Miles through July. Among the items: heirloom tomato salad with olive oil croutons and burrata (that's mozzarella cheese, encasing more mozzarella and cream) drizzled with Vincotto vinaigrette; tempura squash blossoms topped with ricotta and tomato-tarragon jam; and New Town Farms baby squash sprinkled with basil and Parmesan. Entree options include diver scallops with chanterelles, corn and smoked bacon, and a double-cut pork chop with Mission figs and pancetta; dessert's Georgia peach tart with almond filling and a scoop of vanilla gelato. The lineup can be ordered individually, or as a $60 fixed-price menu (for wine pairings, add $35). 110 N. College St. in the Ritz-Carlton; 704-972-4380.

Meanwhile, JJ’s Red Hots (with locations in Dilworth and Ballantyne) looked at sales and feedback and social media for the past year and declared its "Top Ten Most Outrageous (and Best Selling) Hot Dog Toppings," all from its "dog of the week" program, in which it lets businesses and others dictate the dog of their dreams. (Some of these people need to adjust whatever they're doing before bedtime.) They are:

  • Mac & cheese (on the "Mac Daddy")
  • Sweet potato hash (on the "Yam I Am")
  • Peanut butter (on the "Weiner the Pooh")
  • Scrambled eggs (on the Breakfast Dog)
  • Smoked jalapeno ketchup (on the "Put That In Your Pipe")
  • Pineapple salsa (on the "Maui Gold")
  • Sage and andouille stuffing (on the "Franksgiving")
  • Smoked amber barbecue sauce (on the "Beer B Q," a collaboration with Triple C Brewing)
  • Jalapeno corn salsa (on the "Maized and Confused")
  • Housemade pimento cheese (on the "Big Cheesy")

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Now open: littleSpoon in Myers Park

The long-delayed Selwyn Avenue spot called littleSpoon opened Monday with what it calls a "locally driven" breakfast/brunch/lunch lineup.

Breakfast ranges from corn tortillas with egg white, kale, red quinoa and salsa to soft-boiled egg with toast sticks and flake salt to quinoa "porridge" with blueberries, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon (prices about $5-$9.50).

For midday, look for heirloom tomato with anchovy-butter croutons, fennel and parsley; lamb pastrami on rye; shrimp and horseradish on a soft roll with lemon, celery and onion (prices about $8-$11).

Chef Miles Payne will make adjustments in the first month or so, said partner Alesha Sin Vinata.

2820 Selwyn Ave.; 704-496-9908; website's not up yet, but the Facebook page is (above photo's from the Twitter feed: @littlespoonCLT). Hours now are 7 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 9 to 3 Sunday.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dine out, spot Gatsby, do good later

He'll look so cool.
He always looks so cool.

The '20s-themed Great Gatsby Gala will be Aug. 23, raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and you can win tickets for two by finding Gatsby a little early.

He, Daisy and Nick (the main characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel to which this yearly fundraiser alludes) will be dining in a Charlotte Restaurant Week restaurant July 24, sometime between 7 and 8:30 p.m. Hints will be posted on the Great Gatsby Gala's Facebook page, which you must Like to enter this contest. Figure out where he'll be, find him, snap a photo of yourself at his table and post to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #IFoundGatsby and you'll get a gift. One person will win two Gala tickets. The Gala will be at the Wells Fargo Atrium, and has food from area restaurants, an open bar for beer and wine, a silent auction, Big Band dancing and a best-dressed contest. Info and ticket sales:

P.S.: A first clue for you: The city seen from near Discovery Place and Spirit Square is always the city seen for the first time.
P.P.S.: No, I don't know the answer.

Dine out, do good: Theater edition

The Storefront Theatre of Waxhaw will benefit from an Aug. 3 fundraiser called "Delicious!" Chef Jason Ziobrowski (Jay-Z, see?) will do a tasting menu, and will be using artisan grains, rices and legumes (he's Eastern Region corporate chef for InHarvest, which specializes in those). There'll also be a "Chopped"-style cooking challenge, and guests will bid on two opportunities: To serve as a sous chef in the challenge, or to get to choose (from a group of designated items) what ingredient the chef will need to incorporate in the challenge.

The theater company, which hopes to gain seed money for a facility, will announce its upcoming season at the event.

Tickets: $75 (limited to 50);