The week that was (4 February 2016)

- CN Traveller have released their ten young chefs to watch in 2016 (including our own lovely Louis Tikaram). The gender split also gives cause to smile. Click on the links to read more.

Rosio Sanchez, 30, owner of Copenhagen's Hija de Sanchez
Louis Tikaram, 30, executive chef at L.A.'s EP & LP
Victoria Eliasdóttir, 27, chef of Berlin's Dóttir
Malcolm Livingston II, 29, pastry chef at Copenhagen's Noma
Katia (28) and Tatiana Levha (30) of Paris's Le Servan
Sergey Berezutskiy, 28, chef and owner of Moscow's Twins (with his twin brother)
Cara Stadler, 27, chef and owner, Maine's Tao Yuan and Bao Bao
Fabián von Hauske Valtierra, 26, of NYC's Contra and Wildair
Elise Kornack, 28, chef and owner of Brooklyn's Take Root
Keiichi Terada, 29, chef at Den

- The 2016 French Michelin Guide was announced this week. Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athénée and Christian Le Squer’s Le V both ascended to three hats, while Le Meurice and Le Relais Bernard Loiseau were demoted to two. Full list here.

- The critic vs chef palaver is a very old chestnut. That doesn’t seem to stop anyone. This week Thomas Keller published a poised and gentle response to that Per Se review. This was in stark contrast to restaurateur Ahmass Fakahany, who also received a negative review from Wells for Vaucluse. He was not-so-poised: “You need to do some of the basic journalism and sharpen your food knowledge  …” Wells wasn’t ruffled: “I just think that we show an awful lot of deference to chefs in our culture and maybe not enough deference to customers …”
- Wells is not alone in that appraisal of the system. If you want to delve a little deeper, read this article on First we Feast. It’s a pretty blunt look at the US food media: from those who let their fear of losing access interfere with their ability to report the facts; the bandwagon jumpers; the list writers; the focus on cheap eats (based on cuisine not ingredient); the dud recipes (not just online, but everywhere); the “pre-review” review hack; etc etc. It’s pretty harsh but largely fair, and we are far from immune.
“We constantly challenge the makers of food to be better—to serve us better, more sustainable products while keeping prices down; to abolish tipping and address the wage gap in restaurants; to be thought-leaders but never say the wrong thing—yet we rarely turn the mirror on ourselves. If we dock an ambitious chef for putting populist burgers and fried chicken on the menu to prop up the bottom line, shouldn’t we be willing to stop publishing clickbait lists to subsidize longform stories? If we demand more diversity in kitchens, shouldn’t we demand the same in our edit bays?”

- My favourite Noma story of the week (in fact to date) belongs to The California Sunday Magazine. Tienlon Ho clearly spent a considerable amount of time with the team, understanding their creative process ("Think about fire, char, and smoke, the flavors of cooking in Aboriginal camps and backyard barbecues, he suggested; think about ocean breezes, the way an oyster brines your teeth.") It is a thoughtful and insightful piece, and there are some lovely pics.
- If you’re not Noma’d out you can read how they built the beverage list, in an article from Mads Kleppe (their somm) in GT. There are some interesting thoughts about Australia’s young wine producers, a little touch up for the many Aussie winemakers who “spray their grapes to pieces with chemicals” and the rather large claim “we're going to make the best coffee in Sydney.” Clearly he doesn't mind stirring the pot ... but I quite like that.