September 16, 2013
Courtesy of Bentley
British luxury car brand Bentley is giving handbags its famous handcrafted touch with a limited-edition, 160-piece collection debuting next month. Taking cues from the renowned vehicles—smooth-grained calfskin, lambskin, polished hardware with the same textured finish as the controls of a Bentley—the accessories are a natural extension of the storied automaker.
Daniele Ceccomori, the company’s head of product design, collaborated with designer Vincent du Sartel, who in his 20-plus-year career has created leather goods with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Cartier. “The craftsmanship of the interior of the Bentley has much in common with the great couture houses and ateliers, and the handbags incorporate our expertise in leather and stitching as well as design,” Ceccomori explains.
Choose from two styles: The classic Barnato ($7,000), named after the late Diana Barnato-Walker, company muse, high-spirited socialite and daughter of Bentley chairman Woolf Barnato; and the sporty Continental ($5,500), which eponymously honors the fastest line of Bentley autos. Crafted at a manufacturer in Tuscany, the bags come in a handful of colors (black, reds, blues) and mirror the cars in interesting ways. Their silhouettes are drawn from the horseshoe shape on the trunks and the split side panels mimic the wing-shaped buttresses of dashboards. The Continental even has the same cross-stitching as its namesake’s steering wheel. Arrange a viewing appointment at bentleyhandbagcollection.com.
September 16, 2013
Courtesy of Juergen Teller
“I think I may have overdosed on the hotel,” joked Juergen Teller at a recent banquet in New York announcing the release of the lavish new cookbook Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano (Violette Editions; $60). The photographer, best known for his portrait and fashion work, indeed spent a lot of time at the fabled Tuscan retreat (one of the world’s most glorious seaside resorts), turning his lens to a new subject: food.
Over the course of three years, Teller returned repeatedly to the property to shoot and reshoot dish after dish, transforming chef Antonio Guida’s modern, seasonal fare (which has earned him two Michelin stars) into stunning food porn. The chef’s work—with its bright primary colors, iridescent sauces and frequently scattered flowers—lends itself well to the photographer’s raw sensibility, translating seamlessly to the book’s oversized glossy pages.
More art book for ogling than practical volume for cooking, Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano also features wonderfully purple prose by British novelist Will Self. “At Il Pellicano,” he writes in his introduction, “the past and the present are adjacent plots in a garden of gentle topiary and sweet smelling lemon trees.”
The recipes are divided into thematic menus, each dedicated to a loyal and prominent guest. The Missoni menu, for fashion heiress Margherita, features saffron risotto topped with tuna tartare and suckling pig paired with Campari-soaked beets. Mike Mills of the band R.E.M., who vacations at Il Pellicano with his friend Mario Batali, has his own entry, too, featuring squab breast with foie gras and polenta and a Strawberry Fields Forever dessert of berries, tomatoes and yogurt ice cream. Available for pre-order at amazon.com; violetteeditions.com.
September 12, 2013
The New York City Wine & Food Festival, held October 17–20 (866-969-2933; nycwff.com), is still a few weeks away, but Lee Schrager, founder of the perpetually popular event filled with celebrity chefs (like Michael Symon, pictured above), delicious food and parties aplenty, is already gearing up for action. As he heads into the sixth installment of the now-classic affair, we chatted with him about the upcoming lineup, how he would strategize a visit and what the celebrity chefs can’t wait to do.
Q: How do you keep the festival fresh but still hold to its original mission?
A: The festival’s mission is to raise as much money as possible to help fight hunger with Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign—that has always been our goal. We keep the program fresh by identifying new trends, continuously listening to our talent, fans, sponsors and talking with industry leaders about what’s coming up next.
Q: What are you particularly excited for this year?
A: I’m looking forward to our first large-scale pizza celebration, La Sagra Sunday Slices (October 20) hosted by Anne Burrell and Adam Richman, as well as our first tailgate event Jets + Chefs: The Ultimate Tailgate (October 19), hosted by Joe Namath and Mario Batali, and the entire series of pairing seminars hosted by Food & Wine and led by some of the greatest chefs and wine and spirits experts.
Q: What do you think is the best way for guests to navigate the fest?
A: Plan ahead if you are going to multiple events to make sure you leave yourself enough time to get from one venue to another. Drink lots of water and wear comfortable shoes!
Q: And what do the participating chefs look forward to every year?
A: I think they enjoy connecting with all of their fans so much throughout the weekend—and seeing each other! Our chefs come from all over the world and the festival is a chance for them to reconnect with their colleagues from across the globe.
Looking (Even Further) Ahead: The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival runs February 20–23, 2014, but you can book a spot now for an exclusive, 12-person sushi-rolling class with Nobu Matsuhisa and executive sushi chef Oscar Norborikawa at Nobu in Miami Beach. The event precedes a lunch at the restaurant (12 to 3 p.m.; $150), but once the dozen spots are filled, no more will open up. February 22, 10 a.m.; tickets, $350; 1901 Collins Ave.; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 12, 2013
Supporting emerging artistic talent is nothing new, but for online art-buying platform @60”, bolstering the promise of on-the-rise talent will always be a priority.
“It was important for us to be able to build a community of artists that are affordable yet on the verge of mainstream gallery representation,” says co-founder Kipton Cronkite. “We build their careers and our collectors are able to take advantage of our insider knowledge before these artists are widely recognized.”
The site, which debuted late last year, is no slouch, having won a pair of 2013 Webby Awards for (naturally) Best Art and Best Home/Welcome Page. Paintings, photographs and sculptures—from $100 to $50,000—fill the inventory; roughly 50 talents, like painter Tony Ingrisano and photo portraitist Wenjun Liang, make up the roster.
Cronkite and his team try to make the process as easy and engaging as possible. A new Virtual Art Advisory service, which launched earlier this week, helps collectors glean expert advice: Complete a thorough questionnaire and a consultant will recommend specific pieces based on the findings. A try-before-you-buy feature allows you to test-run true-to-size watermarked replicas on your walls. And the Living with Art section features various influencers illustrating how they integrate art into their lives. (Profiles include design entrepreneur Stuart Parr and interior designer Thom Filicia.)
The site’s curatorial board of gallery owners, art professors and advisors vets the artists, and the staff is always on the lookout for a new find, scouting the country and tapping the expertise of curators, museum insiders and collectors along the way. After all, you never know what the next big thing might be.
“Rising stars bring a unique, modern voice that pushes the constraints on traditional definitions of art,” says Cronkite. “We’re very proud of the talent that we have secured.” 212-486-2608; at60inches.com.
September 12, 2013
Courtesy of Tower Gardens at El Encanto
Over the last few years, “fresh,” “seasonal” and “local” became the undisputed culinary buzzwords at top temples of haute cuisine. Hotels around the world followed suit, reinventing their restaurants to remain on trend. Some planted on-site kitchen gardens, growing herbs and maybe the occasional tomato. But these early efforts often felt like window dressing—initiatives that didn’t affect the food all that much. You might find some homegrown basil on a caprese salad or a few microgreens atop a sous-vide heritage-breed pork loin, but it seemed like hotels continued to procure most major produce by more conventional (read: corporate) means.
Not anymore. A handful of hotels, both new and old, have begun building more serious chef’s gardens—quasi-farms that are leading to big-picture reevaluations of restaurant concepts and top-to-bottom menu overhauls.
One of the most recent arrivals is at iconic El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California (800 Alvarado Pl.; 805-845-5800; elencanto.com), which reopened this spring after a seven-year, $134 million renovation by Orient-Express. Here, chef Patrice Martineau (pictured above) planted not one but two gardens: A traditional plot for the likes of eggplant and peppers, and a vertical tower started in partnership with Montecito Urban Farms. The tower—a so-called aeroponic garden used for a variety of lettuces, kale, arugula, herbs and edible flowers—suspends roots in midair, letting them soak in an organic, nutrient-rich solution that allows them to mature faster than normal. The results have turned up in a dish of Provençal-style vegetables, chilled tomato soup and lemon-basil risotto, with more planned for autumn.
Spring also saw the addition of a large garden on the park-like acreage of Il Salviatino (21 Via del Salviatino; 39-055/904-1111; salviatino.com), a three-year-old hotel (its villa is more than 500 years old) just outside of Florence. Chef Carmine Calò—who has worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants—designed a growing space for the necessities of Italian cooking. Already the 300 plants (eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers) are producing a quarter of the vegetables used in the restaurant, whose concept Calò will adapt as the vegetation develops and expands. Fall menus will feature dishes using yellow pumpkin, black and savoy cabbages and chard. By spring 2014, Calò says he expects nearly two thirds of the restaurant’s produce to come from the garden, with new plantings of celery, carrots, spring onions, garlic and zucchini.
In the English countryside, on the pastoral border between Dorset and Northampton, the country house hotel Chewton Glen (New Forest District, New Milton; 44-14/2527-5342; chewtonglen.com) debuted an expansive chef’s kitchen garden last year, plus a newly planted orchard of some 200 trees. Overseen by an in-house, full-time gardener, the plots provide the hotel with thousands of pieces of fruits and veggies every week, including radishes, beans, ruby chard, black kale, fennel, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, herbs and edible flowers. Chef Andrew Du Bourg’s stuffed zucchini flowers were one of the most popular items on the menu this summer; this fall he’ll pair homegrown borlotti beans with a dish of braised lamb brisket and crispy sweetbreads
September 05, 2013
Courtesy of Le Quartier Français
When Susan Huxter, owner of the boutique hotel Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, South Africa, was unable to find a refined yet laid-back place in town where she could meet friends for an early evening drink or an afternoon tea, she created one herself. The new Le Quartier Lounge Bar, which opened in August, is meant to be more than just another hotel watering hole.
“We would like the lounge to be the meeting place in Franschhoek, where locals and our international guests can relax and enjoy good food, teas, cocktails and great company,” says Huxter. “It should be the place to relax and mingle in the area.”
The bar focuses on cocktails—the Edible Fruit Coupe (dried fruits soaked in Cape Brandy and Harnepoot dessert wine topped with sparkling wine) is pictured here. But there are also artisanal beers, wines and teas (by Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour) that pair with delicious snacks by executive chef Margot Janse that highlight indigenous ingredients and locally sourced products. Try bites like Gruyère Oreos, wildebeest doughnuts, crayfish popcorn and flatbread with smoked salmon, avocado and spring onion.
Soothing decor and plenty of space make for a peaceful ambiance, and even the tall-legged, washed-oak bar has a buoyant personality that is more inviting than imposing in every way. “I did not want a dark masculine bar but rather a light, more feminine feel,” says Huxter. “We hope people will love it as much as we do.” Rooms start at $310; 16 Huguenot Rd.; 27-21/876-2151; lqf.co.za.
September 05, 2013
For those in the know, Philadelphia has been a hot restaurant town for quite a while now. Outgrowing its cheesesteak roots, the city has welcomed tiny BYOBs with innovative spirits, glitzy empires of celebrity restaurateurs (Stephen Starr, Jose Garces) and more. Here are three new places where you must dig in.
In December, chef-driven Fond moved to a new and larger (though still intimate) location in the middle of East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia—one of the city’s brand-new foodie hot spots. Fond’s small menu of contemporary American fare changes seasonally, but recent standouts included grilled duck hearts with fennel salad and tahini yogurt; skate wing with corn risotto, avocado and pancetta; and a housemade dessert of cannoli laced with Earl Grey crème anglaise. 1537 S. 11th St.; 215-551-5000; fondphilly.com.
Peter Serpico (of Momofuku Ko fame) helms Serpico, restaurateur Stephen Starr’s latest venture, and although it just recently opened (on June 21), it has already garnered critical raves. The James Beard award–winning eatery has designed a menu that's both playful and serious, with dishes like deep-fried duck leg sliced off the bone, dressed with hoisin and scallions and tucked into a Martin’s potato roll in a creative spin on a lobster roll. A bowl of frozen foie gras (micro-pureed in a Pacojet) is mixed with grapes, candied peanuts and cubes of elderflower jelly for a stunning sweet-and-savory dessert. 604 S. St.; 215-925-3001; serpicoonsouth.com.
The Corner Foodery
For something a bit more casual, the six-month-old Center City location of The Corner Foodery is a perfect spot for a boozy lunch or late-night dinner. Floor-to-ceiling refrigerators line one wall, showcasing the 650 different beers on offer. The menu of Italian sandwiches is based on high-end ingredients, like house-cured charcuterie, broccoli rabe, roasted peppers with pine nuts and warm mozzarella, all of which go down perfectly with a cold Allagash Grand Cru. 1710 Sansom St.; 215-567-1500, thecornerfoodery.com.
September 05, 2013
Richie Culver, Jason And The Astronauts, 2013
Artist Richie Culver is perhaps best known for combining words with painting and collage to form provocative, often emotionally charged pieces. But for “The Four Letter Word”—his first solo exhibit in three years, which opens September 5 at Skur 2 gallery in Stavanger, Norway—the British artist is delving into newer territory: photographic works developed through experimental techniques. Self-taught, Culver hit it big in 2011 when the Tate Modern displayed his work in a group show. This most recent journey to Norway (he exhibited in Stavanger two years ago and recently worked there) is a homecoming of sorts. We asked him about the new show.
Q: What do you love about Norway?
A: What struck me initially was how nice the people were—I've gone on to make some great friends in Stavanger. Also, the surrounding areas are really beautiful, and I love the small towns and the fjords.
Q: How do the pieces in the exhibit differ from what you normally do?
A: The works are a big departure from my past ones. I’m using a totally new technique. Before I was making more documentary/reportage photography of people and objects with an emphasis on my own living environment. Now I have started to really use photography as a medium to express my ideas and thoughts, which is more akin to how I approach my paint or drawing work. Also, the photography in the show is all manipulated. I am exploring lighting and exposure, a little like how one would explore working with photogram photography.
Q: What part of your world do you enjoy the most right now?
A: I really enjoy living in Berlin. I love it there. I had been in London for quite a while, and a change is just what I needed. I do enjoy collaborating, but I’m just enjoying working at the moment. I’m in a really good space, and I am creating works I’m really happy with.
Through September 29; Skansekaien 4006; 47/9710-1074; skur2.no.
August 29, 2013
Courtesy of Dorchester Collection
Champagne could easily be considered the fashion world’s drink of choice, but for the next few months the Dorchester Collection will be toasting in style with cocktails. Beginning September 5 (the start of New York Fashion Week) and continuing through October 2 (the end of Paris Fashion Week), five hotels will serve exclusive drinks inspired by the finalists of this year’s Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize.
“Our bar managers are well versed in creating stylish bespoke cocktails, they are all familiar with the fashion crowd as it forms a large part of their clientele, and they relished the creative challenge of interpreting the designers’ ethos and collections,” says Julia Record, director of communications.
To get a sense of each finalist’s style, the mixologists pored over look books, sketches and videos. Robert Rouleau of Bar Nineteen12 at The Beverly Hills Hotel worked from color swatches and a cocktail drawing by Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman of Fyodor Golan; the resulting Marilyn (Champagne, peach purée, strawberry syrup, lemon-peel garnish) is a nod to the designers’ love of Marilyn Monroe. William Oliveri of Bar 228 at Le Meurice in Paris concocted the Berry Lace (rosé Champagne, strawberries, raspberries, brown sugar, lime juice, fresh mint) to complement Huishan Zhang, whose feminine designs show lots of lace. The Dorchester (London), Le Richemond (Geneva) and the Hotel Principe di Savoia (Milan) will also serve a signature drink.
This year’s Fashion Prize judges include Tank Magazine executive fashion director Caroline Issa, fashion writer Derek Blasberg and stylist Penny Lovell, and the winner (announced on October 29) will take home a $33,000 endowment and mentoring opportunities with the judges. Awarded since 2010, the honor has proven to support burgeoning talent and solidify Dorchester’s own fashion legacy. We’ll raise a glass to that. dorchestercollection.com.
August 29, 2013
Adam Larkey Photography
Justin Cucci has ruled the Denver restaurant scene over the past five years as the chef and owner of Root Down (1600 W. 33rd Ave.; 303-993-4200) and Linger (2030 W. 30th Ave., 303-993-3120; lingerdenver.com), two award-winning eateries in the trendy Highland neighborhood.
Now Root Down, known for its seasonal menu of locally sourced ingredients and its location in a converted 1950s-era gas station, has opened a second outpost, at Denver International Airport (DIA). Good news for en-route diners but wasn't the easiest decision for the owner.
“The Root Down dining experience is very contextual, so it didn’t even make sense at first,” says Cucci, who spent his formative years in the kitchen at New York’s Waverly Inn. “But from my own travel experiences and the struggle to find good food, I saw it as a worthy challenge. There’s an amazing opportunity to change how dining is perceived when traveling.”
Root Down at DIA operates on the same philosophy that fuels the original location. It will source local, organic, natural ingredients—a non-negotiable requirement for Cucci when it came time to ink the deal—and feature many menu favorites like carrot and red Thai curry soup, sweet-potato “falafel” and diver scallops. Riffing on its older sibling’s use of reclaimed and recycled materials, the design in the new space will celebrate the heyday of American travel with vintage Knoll and Saarinen chairs, recycled airplane parts and model globes converted into light fixtures.
But true to its new locale, the restaurant is focused on the traveler. A Grab & Go area caters to those in a hurry, and a forthcoming app will allow guests to submit an order via text at check-in so food can be picked up before takeoff. Denver International Airport, Concourse C; rootdowndenver.com.