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Kenny Callaghan Opening The Big Easy in London

Kenny Callaghan Opening The Big Easy in London

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Former Blue Smoke executive chef Kenny Callaghan is moving to London to head up The Big Easy, an American restaurant in Covent Garden.

The original Big Easy was founded by restaurateur Paul Corrett some 20 years ago. With Callaghan's arrival, however, the new "barbecue and crab shack" is slated to open February 2014, with Callaghan saying in an email, "There will be an open kitchen with two Argentinean-style parilla charcoal grills, a rotisserie spit big enough to roast whole hogs, a large wood-burning oven, and a dedicated pit area with two wood-burning smokers brought in from Texas."

The U.K.'s Restaurant Magazine also reports of "imported, purpose-built cocktail machines" to pour frozen margaritas, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds on tap, plus alcoholic milkshakes. "There will also be [two] bars focusing on American whiskeys, as well as rare tequila, rum, liquor, and French and Spanish brandy," Callaghan said in his email. Expect massive lobster tanks and whole roasted pigs, to go with an ounce of whiskey on the rocks. Callaghan's full email below:

"I wanted to let everyone know what my next steps are after leaving Blue Smoke last month. I'm excited to share that I am in London opening a restaurant called The Big Easy in Covent Garden's Maiden Lane, which opens in February. Little did I know when my mom left from County Claire Ireland to work in London, I would follow in her foot steps several years later to make her proud! I am excited to bring a new perspective on American cuisine here in London.

The new Big Easy occupies a 19th-century electrical power station that was used to power the first bright lights of the West End. There will be an open kitchen with two Argentinean-style parilla charcoal grills, a rotisserie spit big enough to roast whole hogs, a large wood-burning oven, and a dedicated pit area with two wood-burning smokers brought in from Texas. The lobster tank is massive and will house the largest quantity of lobsters in the U.K.!

My menu will feature an abundance of rare pork breeds and beef cuts sourced from the U.K. The lobsters will be sourced all year round from Nova Scotia. There will also be two bars focusing on American whiskeys, as well as rare tequila, rum, liquor and French and Spanish brandy. I'm really excited to start this next chapter and I hope you'll come visit me in London in the New Year."

Kenny Callaghan Opening The Big Easy in London - Recipes


October 5, 2020 – For the first time ever, all five of the Gambler films starring Kenny Rogers are being released in one DVD collection— Kenny Rogers: The Gambler . This 6-film box set (featuring the movie Coward of the County as a bonus) is essential for Kenny Rogers fans and can be found exclusively at your local Walmart starting October 6th from Shout! Factory.

The Gambler series generated five Emmy Award nominations. Rogers made his acting debut in the original film The Gambler, which was a massive ratings hit that achieved critical success for CBS upon its original release on April 8, 1980. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards.

The film is an Old West tale inspired by one of Rogers’ most beloved songs of all time. Brady Hawkes (Kenny Rogers) is a gamblin’ man who has seen it all. except for the son he never knew. When Hawkes receives a surprising letter from his child, he sets off on a journey to finally meet the boy. In the course of his travels, Hawkes crosses paths with the impetuous Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner - Tron, How The West Was Won ), and the two become fast friends. Billy considers himself to be a professional gambler, but he’s got a lot to learn – and Hawkes has got some very familiar advice for him.

By popular demand, R ogers returned as Brady Hawkes in The Gambler: The Adventure Continues, which premiered in November 1983 on CBS. The film was an even bigger ratings success than the first and was nominated for an additional two Emmy Awards. The Gambler Part III: The Legend Continues followed in 1987 (also on CBS), and the Emmy-nominated fourth installment of the series, The Gambler Returns: The Luck Of The Draw , starring Rogers and Reba McEntire, aired on NBC in 1991. The series moved back to CBS for the 1994 finale, Gambler V: Playing For Keeps. The first four movies of the series were directed by Dick Lowry and the last was directed by Jack Bender.

“The Gambler,” written by GRAMMY®-winning Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter Don Schlitz, was Kenny's fourth #1 solo hit and one of five consecutive songs by the music icon to hit No. 1 on the Billboard country music chart. “The Gambler" also went to #3 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the first #1 hit Schlitz had written. The song won a 1978 Grammy for Best Country Song and became CMA’s 1979 Song of the Year. Kenny won a 1979 Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for “The Gambler,” and also earned CMA’s 1979 Male Vocalist of the Year. In addition, the album, The Gambler , won CMA honors as 1979 Album of the Year, among other accolades.

In 2018, “The Gambler” was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.” Following Kenny’s death on March 20, 2020, “The Gambler” hit No. 1 on Billboard ’s Digital Song Sales chart.

In a career that spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world. Chart-topping hits like “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands In The Stream” (with Dolly Parton), “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me,” and “Through the Years” are just a handful of Kenny’s songs that continue to inspire new generations of artists and fans alike. With twenty-four number-one hits to his credit, Rogers miraculously charted a song within each of the last seven decades. He is a Country Music Hall of Fame member, twenty-one-time American Music Awards winner, eleven-time People’s Choice Awards winner, ten-time ACM Awards winner, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015 and was voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People .

Details on all the films in the Kenny Rogers: The Gambler box set can be found here:


The film is an Old West tale inspired by one of Rogers’ most beloved songs of all time. Brady Hawkes (Kenny Rogers) is a gamblin’ man who has seen it all. except for the son he never knew. When Hawkes receives a surprising letter from his child, he sets off on a journey to finally meet the boy. In the course of his travels, Hawkes crosses paths with the impetuous Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner - Tron, How The West Was Won ), and the two become fast friends. Billy considers himself to be a professional gambler, but he’s got a lot to learn – and Hawkes has got some very familiar advice for him.


Brady Hawkes is back in this rip-roaring sequel to The Gambler . When Brady's son Jeremiah is kidnapped by a vicious gang, the gambler and his sidekick Billy Montana saddle up to rescue him. With the aid of the quick-drawing Kat Muldoon (Linda Evans - Dynasty ), the stakes couldn't be higher. Will this pair of aces with a queen kicker come out on top?


Brady Hawkes and Billy Montana ride again in this thrilling continuation of The Gambler saga. When the Sioux Nation is threatened by corrupt U.S. Calvary and government officials, it's up to the two friends to resolve the conflict. Also starring Linda Gray, Melanie Chartoff, George Kennedy, and Jeffrey Jones.


On the eve of a new law banning gambling is passed, Brady Hawkes finds himself struggling with a crisis of confidence…and at the end of a hangman’s rope. Rescued by the vivacious Burgundy Jones (Country superstar Reba McEntire), Hawkes discovers that his benefactor has a deal too good to pass up: the ultimate poker game, matching the greatest gamblers to ever ante up. Hawkes and Jones take to the trail in search of one last winning hand—but can they make it to the table in one piece? Featuring special appearances by some of the West’s greatest legends, including Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors), Bat Masterson (Gene Barry), and Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine).


Brady Hawkes has won just about every game of chance there is, but this time he’s risking everything for the biggest stakes of them all: the love—and life—of his son Jeremiah. Estranged from his father for years, the now-grown Jeremiah has joined up with the legendary Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid…and it’s up to Brady to track them down before the law catches up to them. Featuring Mariska Hargitay ( Law & Order: Special Victims Unit ) and guest appearances by Loni Anderson and Bruce Boxleitner, Playing For Keeps wraps up the saga of Brady Hawkes in grand fashion, as The Gambler takes his place among the legends of television Westerns.


In the tradition of The Gambler series, Coward of the County takes its inspiration from one of Kenny Rogers' all-time greatest hits. Rogers plays a small-town preacher whose nephew has taken a pledge of pacifism at the request of his dying father. The young man's oath is tested when the Gatlin boys attack his loving wife. Featuring Frederic Lane, Largo Woodruff, and William Schreiner.

Formed in 1968, the band initially consisted of vocalist Errol Brown, guitarist Franklyn De Allie, drummer Jim King (shortly thereafter replaced by the unrelated Ian King), percussionist Patrick Olive, and bassist Tony Wilson [3] with keyboardist Larry Ferguson joining the band in the following year. [4] The band was originally named "Hot Chocolate Band" by Mavis Smith, who worked for the Apple Corps press office. This was quickly shortened first to "The Hot Chocolate" and then to "Hot Chocolate" by Mickie Most. By 1970 the band's line-up had changed again to include Harvey Hinsley and Tony Connor (who was also a member of Audience at the time) replacing De Allie and King respectively. [3]

Hot Chocolate started their recording career making a reggae version of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance", but frontman Errol Brown was told he needed permission. He was contacted by Apple Records, discovered that Lennon liked his version, and the group was subsequently signed to Apple Records. [5] The link was short-lived as the Beatles were starting to break up, and the Apple connection soon ended.

Later in 1970 Hot Chocolate, with the help of record producer Mickie Most, began releasing tracks that became hits, such as "Love Is Life", "Emma", "You Could Have Been a Lady" (a US and Canadian hit for April Wine), and "I Believe in Love". All those releases were on the Rak record label, owned by Most. Brown and bassist Tony Wilson wrote most of their original material, and also provided hits for Herman's Hermits, "Bet Yer Life I Do", Julie Felix, "Heaven is Here", and Mary Hopkin, "Think About Your Children".

Gradually the band started to become UK Singles Chart regulars. One of the hits from this period, "Brother Louie", featured a guest spoken vocal from Alexis Korner.

It was in the disco era of the mid-1970s that Hot Chocolate became a big success. A combination of high production standards, the growing confidence of the main songwriting team of Wilson and Brown, and tight vocal harmonies enabled them to secure further big hits such as "You Sexy Thing" and "Every 1's a Winner", which were also US hits, peaking at No. 3 (1976) and No. 6 (1979), respectively. After Wilson's departure for a solo career, that included a 1976 album I Like Your Style, Brown assumed all songwriting duties. Wilson was initially replaced by Brian Satterwhite before Satterwhite departed the band and Olive switched to bass as his primary instrument. [3]

In 1977, after 15 hits, they finally reached Number One with "So You Win Again". It was one of the few of their recordings that was not written, at least partly, by Brown [6] The track was a Russ Ballard composition. [6]

The band became the only group, and one of just three acts, that had a hit in every year of the 1970s in the UK charts (the other two being Elvis Presley and Diana Ross). [6] [7] The band eventually had at least one hit, every year, between 1970 and 1984. [8]

The band continued well into the 1980s, and clocked up another big hit record: "It Started with a Kiss", in 1982, which reached Number 5 in the UK. In all, the group charted 25 UK Top 40 hit singles. Their single "You Sexy Thing" became the only track that made British Top Ten status in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. [9]

In 1987, Dutch DJ and producer Ben Liebrand made remixes of the Hot Chocolate hits [10] You Sexy Thing and Every 1's a Winner. [11] Liebrand also made a combination remix of those two hits called Two in a Bed [12] for the exclusive Disco Mix Club.

Renewed interest in Hot Chocolate came in part with the band’s appearances on a string of successful film soundtracks starting with the 1997 comedy The Full Monty, as well as in a 1989 acne lotion commercial (featuring a young Patsy Palmer). [13] From the late 1980s onwards the group experienced a resurgence of credibility: Urge Overkill, PJ Harvey and the Sisters of Mercy all added Hot Chocolate songs to their live sets, [14] and Cud's cover of "You Sexy Thing" featured in John Peel's Festive 50.

Errol Brown and Larry Ferguson departed the band in 1986 ultimately leading the group to disband. Brown then began a solo career. Two of his singles made the UK Singles Chart – "Personal Touch" and "Body Rockin'". Hot Chocolate had a hit in 1988 in Germany. "Never Pretend" was written by Harvey Hinsley and Susan Stuttard, and the vocalist was Grant Evelyn. [15] The band's enduring popularity was verified when two compilation albums both reached No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart (see below). In 2003, Errol Brown received the MBE and in 2004, the Ivor Novello Award for his contribution to British music.

In 1992 the band reformed with new vocalist Greg Bannis and keyboardists Steve Ansell, Andy Smith, Willy Dowling, and Steve Matthews (the latter two of which departed the band in 1994), and manager and agent Ric Martin took control over the band's bookings and live appearances. [16] Kennie Simon took over lead vocals in 2010 following the departure of Bannis and Hot Chocolate continue to make live appearances in the UK and Europe. [17]

On 6 May 2015, original frontman and principal songwriter Errol Brown died from liver cancer. He was 71. [18]

Why is New Orleans Known as "The Big Easy?"

New Orleans received its official title in 1718 when the French, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, founded the city and named it after Philippe II, Duc D’Orléans (a member of the royal family of France, who served as regent from 1715 to 1723). However, the origin as to how, or why the city earned “The Big Easy” nickname still remains somewhat obscure. Let’s see if we can’t make some sense out of it.

One of the most popular theories discussed over the years by locals points to the late Times-Picayune gossip columnist Betty Guillaud, who allegedly coined and popularized New Orleans’ undisputed nickname while chronicling the city’s peculiar lifestyle. During the late 1960s, Guillaud began using the term to contrast how different life was (and still is) in “The Big Easy” compared to “The Big Apple.”

Another common theory accredits New Orleans’ uncorroborated label to the city’s rich musical heritage. During the early twentieth century, due to the sheer number of performance venues, the city became nationally recognized as a haven for struggling jazz and blues musicians. From playing at parks and performing on the streets to booking private parties and nightclub appearances, The Big Easy was always (and continues to be) an open and supportive city that embraced an aspiring musician’s thirst for performing. Musicians could make a living by booking easy gigs while honing their craft at the same time. The nickname may, therefore, have been perpetuated through time to reference the ease in which New Orleans’ laboring musicians pursued their art.

Then there was James Conaway’s 1970 crime novel titled The Big Easy, which was turned into a 1987 national blockbuster featuring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin. Ultimately, it pushed the term onto the nation’s vocabulary. According to the author, the phrase had never been penned to a published book until then. He argued that, while working as a police reporter for the Times-Picayune himself, he overheard two men chatting, and the phrase “The Big Easy” came up one night and it stuck with him.

Other possible origins have been attributed to the relaxed attitude New Orleans residents had toward alcohol consumption during Prohibition. The “noble experiment,” which ran from 1920 until 1933, was pursued to limit social problems, crime and corruption however, the national banning of alcohol in America never quite made it to NOLA. Down South, and perhaps more than any other city in the country, people who wished to enjoy a drink continued to have a very active nightlife because of the city’s many hotspots and inconsistent enforcement of the drinking-law. The term might have been coined to credit how one could wander down the street with an open container filled with booze without getting in trouble. This is all in keeping with the New Orleans tradition of letting the good times roll!

The nickname’s origin, among the many in circulation, may never be deciphered however, the city’s easy-going, laid-back attitude toward anything life-related could never be disputed. What is guaranteed? That “The Big Easy” is a synonym for the city’s spirit that it defines how folks in New Orleans embrace life and that people here do things their own way, without ever fearing judgement.

Remy McSwain (Dennis Quaid) is a New Orleans police lieutenant who investigates the murder of a local mobster. His investigation leads him to suspect that fellow members of the police force may be involved.

Anne Osborne (Ellen Barkin), a state district attorney, is sent to investigate alleged police corruption. After seeing firsthand some unorthodox practices by Remy, Anne accuses him of being on the take. He argues that she does not have an understanding of how the system works in New Orleans for police.

Despite Osborne's suspicious and apprehensive feelings towards him, they form a relationship. McSwain is caught accepting payoffs in an Internal Affairs sting, and Osborne has the burden of prosecuting him. With the assistance of fellow officers within the police force, the evidence is destroyed and suppressed. McSwain is cleared of the charges, at which point Anne, now clued in, is faced with the conflict of her personal feelings for Remy and her duty to uphold the law.

It is later revealed that Jack Kellom (Ned Beatty), Remy's boss, and the two detectives De Soto (John Goodman) and Dodge (Ebbe Roe Smith) are behind the murder, and a stash of heroin is hidden at a boat yard. Kellom goes to the boat and is confronted by De Soto and Dodge. Kellom suggests getting rid of the drugs, but De Soto shoots Kellom. Remy and Anne arrive and are confronted by De Soto and Dodge, and a shootout starts, resulting in De Soto being shot by a fatally wounded Kellom, and Dodge being shot with a flare gun by Remy, which starts a fire, and Remy and Anne make a run for it in the nick of time just before the boat explodes.

The final scene shows Remy dancing with Anne, and it appears they had just been married.

    as Detective Lieutenant Remy McSwain as A.D.A. Anne Osborne as Captain Jack Kellom as Detective Sergeant Andre DeSoto as Detective McCabe as Bobby McSwain
    as Lamar Parmentel as Mam as Vinnie 'The Cannon' DiMotti as Daddy Mention as Chef Paul as Judge Jim Garrison as Detective Sergeant Kearney

Filming took 50 days and the lead actors rehearsed three weeks before the start of principal photography. [6]

The original title of the script was "Windy City", and was set in Chicago. The title was briefly changed to "Nothing But The Truth". [ citation needed ]

Well-known New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison makes a cameo appearance as a judge. Garrison became known for his Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories and his own investigation into JFK's murder from New Orleans in the 1960s.

City of New Orleans Edit

The city of New Orleans and its atmospherics function as a protagonist in the film. This is evident from the beginning of the film: The opening is an aerial shot of the New Orleans bayou and the cajun band BeauSoleil plays "Zydeco Gris Gris" on the soundtrack (title sequence).

The producers used well-known locations such as Tipitina's, Antoine's, Blaine Kern's warehouse full of Mardi Gras parade floats, and a French Quarter strip joint, to flesh out the mood of the film.

Box-office Edit

The film had a limited opening on August 21, 1987, and grossed $353,259. It widened a week where its gross was $3,626,031 from 1,138 screens and the total receipts for the run were $17,685,307. In its widest release the film was featured in 1,219 theaters. The motion picture was in circulation five weeks. [7]

Critical response Edit

Roger Ebert, film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, lauded the film, and wrote, "The Big Easy is one of the richest American films of the year. It also happens to be a great thriller. I say 'happens,' because I believe the plot of this movie is only an excuse for its real strength: the creation of a group of characters so interesting, so complicated and so original they make a lot of other movie people look like paint-by-number characters." [8]

Sheila Benson, writing for the Los Angeles Times, wrote, "Screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr. sets up the conflict, and director Jim McBride fleshes it out with devastating, sexy assurance. " [9]

Film critic Vincent Canby was a bit tougher on the film, and wrote, "Remy and Anne are made for each other, or would have been if The Big Easy were the sophisticated comedy it could have been. [the film] was directed by Jim McBride who one day is going to come up with a commercial movie that works all the way through, and not just in patches." [10]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 89% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 35 reviews with the consensus: "Loaded with atmosphere and drenched in the sizzling chemistry between Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin, The Big Easy remains one of the strongest -- and steamiest -- thrillers of the 1980s." [11] The film is praised for the accuracy of Quaid's Cajun accent, which he meticulously researched in preparation for the role. However, residents of the New Orleans area were not so pleased, referring to it as "cringe-inducing." [12]

Accolades Edit

Wins Edit

  • 1987 — Cognac Festival du Film Policier, Cognac, France: Grand Prix
  • 1987 — Valladolid International Film Festival: Best Actor, Dennis Quaid
  • 1988 — Independent Spirit Awards: Best Male Lead Dennis Quaid
  • 1988 — Sant Jordi Awards: Best Foreign Actress, Ellen Barkin — Anthony Award: Best Movie [13]

Nominations Edit

  • 1988 — Independent Spirit Awards: Best Director, Jim McBride Best Feature, Stephen J. Friedman
  • 1988 — Casting Society of America: Artios Award Best Casting for Feature Film, Drama, Lynn Stalmaster and David Rubin
  • 1988 — Edgar Allan Poe Awards: Edgar Best Motion Picture, Daniel Petrie Jr.

Others Edit

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

The film was first shown in 1986 at various film festivals including the Cognac Festival du Film Policier, the Davao City Film Festival in the Philippines, the Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain, and the Sundance Film Festival before being picked up for distribution. According to Robert Redford, founder of Sundance, The Big Easy was the first film sold at the festival. Redford tells of dragging David Puttnam, then the head of Columbia Pictures, to see the film. After the screening, Puttnam decided to pick up the movie for distribution. [16] The Big Easy was released as The Big Crackdown in the Philippines by Season Films and Jemah Films on November 5, 1988. [17]

Home media Edit

On February 2, 1999, a video and DVD of the film were released on the Trimark label as part of the label's "Gold Reel Collection."

The film inspired its television series, which premiered on the USA Cable Network August 11, 1996. Tony Crane played McSwain and Susan Walters played Anne Osbourne. Actress Leslie Bibb also appeared as a recurring role in the series. [18] There were approximately 35 episodes broadcast over two seasons. [19] [20] Although Daniel Petrie Jr. (who wrote the screenplay to the original film) was credited as an executive producer of the series, Petrie has stated that he was "not at all" involved in the series, receiving only "a credit and money". [21]

With the action taking place in New Orleans, and the main protagonist's Cajun family background (Remy McSwain), the producers of the film used cajun, zydeco, R&B, and gospel music in the soundtrack.

An original motion picture soundtrack album was assembled by label executive Danny Holloway and released in 1987 on the Island label. The album contains twelve tracks including "Tipitina", played by New Orleans pianist Professor Longhair (1974 re-recording from his album Rock 'n' Roll Gumbo in the substantially remixed version produced for its 1985 CD reissue), [22] the New Orleans anthem "Iko Iko," by The Dixie Cups, and a ballad, "Closer to You," written and performed by actor Dennis Quaid who also performs the song in the film. Other performers on the album include Terrance Simien, BeauSoleil, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dewey Balfa, Aaron Neville and The Neville Brothers.

Vegan subscription company Vibrant Vegan has partnered with Open Kitchen Co. to launch vegan hot meal vending machines in UK hospitals, starting with Hillington Hospital in Greater London.

The brand decided to launch the project after 78% of NHS workers said they would eat a Vibrant Vegan ready meal if it was available – indicating a significant demand for hot vegan meals amongst frontline staff.

The vending machines will help to ensure that our key workers have easy and quick access to hot, nutritious food whilst at work.

Iain Burke-Hamilton, founder of Vibrant Vegan, said, “As we all know, the NHS has been doing an incredible job of keeping the country afloat during this terrible pandemic, and it’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Open Kitchen Co. to try and make a difference – we’re confident the partnership is going to improve the quality of NHS staff diets across the country

Vibrant Vegan will be providing 18 of their award-winning meals to the vending machines, including: Super Mac & Cheeze, Piri Piri Jambalaya, Mumbai Cauli Thali, and No-Meatball Bolognese.

These protein-rich meals take less than 4 minutes to heat, and will be suitable for a range of dietary requirements.


Hungry hospital workers will be able to hot meals like the No-Meatball Bolognese from the new vegan vending machine

In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Liz Kenny, Director of Open Kitchen Co, said, “It’s great to be working with the NHS and providing staff and visitors with hot, tasty and nutritious meals 24/7.

“The future of vending is exciting. Our high-tech machines have touchless Covid proof technology, advanced software and a super speedy oven that can cook meals from frozen in 3-4 minutes.”

The brand is planning to install over 100 collaborative vegan vending machines in hospitals across the UK over the next couple of years.


Hamburguesas al Carbón Torreon
The inexpensive charcoal-grilled burgers at this street stand near Pushkin Garden are world class, according to Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, whose Pujol places at 12 in the current ranking of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.  
Chosen by Enrique Olvera of Pujol, Mexico City

El Rey del Taco, Mexico City
Mexican chef Martha Ortiz prefers tacos to burgers. El Rey del Taco covers both bases with the Cheeseburger Taco, which features a grilled patty with਌hihuahua cheese served in flour tortillas with mayo, tomato and avocado.
Chosen by Martha Ortiz of  Filigrana, Mexico City

Kenny Gilbert

Kenny recently moved to Jacksonville, FL, where he is now owner of Gilbert's Underground Kitchen and Gilbert's Social. His cuisine ranges from American Regional, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Native American, Moroccan and African. After graduating from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Kenny went on to become a Chef de Cuisine at the young age of 23 at The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, FL, a AAA Five Diamond Restaurant, and the youngest African-American chef ever to run a Ritz-Carlton Hotel restaurant. An intense and no-nonsense chef, Kenny once split his pants open while cooking a 10-course meal and didn’t even blink an eye. If he could have his last meal with anyone, it would be President Obama, and he would prepare a modern American Southern meal.

Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi is an Emmy-nominated food expert, television host, producer and The New York Times best-selling author.

She is the creator, host, and executive producer of the critically acclaimed Hulu series Taste the Nation, which received a 2021 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series. The series has just been greenlit for a second season.

Lakshmi also serves as host and executive producer of Bravo’s two-time Emmy-winning series Top Chef, which has been nominated for 32 Emmys, including her two-time nomination for Outstanding Host for A Reality-Competition Program. Its new season will be premiering in spring 2021.

Lakshmi is co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) and an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Artist Ambassador for immigrants' rights and women's rights. Lakshmi was also appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Born in India, she grew up in the United States, graduating from Clark University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts and American Literature. Known as India’s first supermodel, she began her career as a fashion model and actress working in Europe and the United States.

Laskhmi established herself as a food expert early in her career hosting Padma’s Passport, where she cooked diverse cuisine from around the world and Planet Food, a documentary series, both on the Food Network domestically and worldwide on the Discovery Channel. She also co-hosted Rai Television's Domenica In, Italy’s highest-rated variety show.

She’s a prolific author, writing the best-selling Easy Exotic, which won the “Best First Book” award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Lakshmi followed this with the publication of her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet and her memoir The New York Times best-selling Love, Loss and What We Ate. She later published The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs. In August of 2021 she will publish her first children’s book Tomatoes for Neela.

In addition to her food writing, Lakshmi has also contributed to Vogue, Gourmet, both British and American Harper's Bazaar, as well as penning a syndicated column on fashion and food for The New York Times.

Lakshmi created a fine jewerly line The Padma Collection, which sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. She also designed a home décor line under the same name featuring tabletop dishware, stemware and hand-blown glass décor pieces, was sold nationwide in Bloomingdale’s. In addition, Lakshmi created Padma’s Easy Exotic, a collection of culinary products ranging from frozen organic foods, fine teas, natural spice blends and home goods. In 2018, Lakshmi collaborated with MAC Cosmetics for a worldwide capsule collection called MAC Padma which quickly sold out in both India and the United States.

After unknowingly suffering from endometrisis for decades, in 2009 she co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) alongside Advanced Gynecological Surgeon Tamer Seckin, MD. The EFA launched the first interdisciplinary research facility in the country for Gynepathology, as a joint project between Harvard Medical School and MIT and Lakshmi gave the keynote address at the Center’s opening in December 2009.

Her efforts were recognized on the floor of the New York State Senate, where she succeeded in passing a bill related to teen health initiatives. The organization’s ENPOWR program has currently educated over 32,000 students about endometriosis in high schools across the state of New York.

Lakshmi is a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has received the 2018 Karma Award from Variety, as well as the 2016 NECO Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

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Dim sum king: Andrew Wong draws on thousands of years of Chinese history at his London restaurant A Wong

Andrew Wong has always based his menu at A Wong in London's Victoria on authentic Chinese cuisine, but now he's delving deeper, creating a sharing menu fit for an emperor, as well as opening another site in the City's Bloomberg Arcade. Fiona Sims reports

And no, in case you're wondering, Andrew isn't the A in A Wong. It's a nod to his parents, Albert and Annie, who founded the restaurant in 1985. Although since Andrew took it over five years ago, it's a very different animal, with its lofty lunchtime dim sum and its 10-course Taste of China menu, a romp through regions most of us have never heard of.

It's because Wong wants us to know more about Chinese cuisine - beyond Cantonese, Shanghainese and our peculiarly British hybrid of it. And if he can do that at a grass-roots level, then so much the better. Not content with just a Michelin-starred eatery, Wong is opening a second, more casual restaurant in the City's Bloomberg Arcade in the summer, which will aim to do just that.

"I've been given this privileged platform and I think it would be an injustice not to use it in some way to promote Chinese culture and heritage, because there is just so much to know," he says.

The new restaurant is backed by Chris Miller's White Rabbit Fund and is set to open in June. It will seat 80 and occupy two floors, and boast a bigger kitchen than the one in Pimlico. Will it be called Madame Wong, as reported widely by the press? "We've still got a few names we're working on," he replies, with a shrug.

"Although it will be completely different to A Wong, it will still reflect the way I cook," he adds. He's not giving much away about the menu, but he insists there won't be any crossover with the dishes.

"We're still toying with it. The most important thing is that it needs to sit well with the City crowd. A Wong is very much a neighbourhood restaurant and I'm here every day - we try our best to make it as destination as we can. The restaurant in the Bloomberg building is for office workers who need a quick meal that will give them a snapshot of China and an understanding of what we do - what China has to offer, with its multiple levels of flavours and textures," he explains.

Meanwhile, A Wong, which has just had a bit of a makeover and is sporting more serious seating and more grown-up flooring and lighting, is set to move in a slightly different direction - more of which later. "It will give this second restaurant a clearer identity," says Wong. "In London there is this massive, murky pool of relatively inexpensive Chinese food. We will try to do something slightly different, but still using the best products and cooking with integrity and celebrating those techniques. The amount of research that goes into these dishes will be the same as the work we put into the dishes at A Wong."

Collaborate to innovate

He reveals that he's been working on the development of these new dishes with "some great chefs" in both London and Hong Kong, coaxing them to part with their techniques. For example, he waxes lyrical about a technique for cooking pork belly where it stays crispy for five hours and crumbles like pastry.

"The second restaurant project has been going on for several years and we had been trying to find the right home for it and now we have one. The first seed was a won ton noodle shop, and obviously that idea has changed dramatically, but it will have the heart of that - busy and buzzy," he promises. There'll be no dim sum, though. "It's a very specialist skill - we have two ladies here in Pimlico who have been doing it for 25 years. If we can't do the very best, I'd rather not do it at all," he says.

The dim sum at A Wong is what put the restaurant on the map for many. Take his ginger-scented, broth-filled soup dumplings, which he injects, rather ingeniously, with vinegar. "It used to annoy me seeing people dunk them in too much vinegar, not to mention the waste, so we decided to inject it. But I don't see that as innovation, I just see that as being practical - I can control the volume of vinegar," he says.

Shanghai steamed dumpling with pickled tapioca

e prawn dumpling, too, shows star quality with its rice vinegar foam and chilli jam. "I'm not even a big fan of foam. But the one thing I've always disliked about har gau is that they are quite one-dimensional. If you eat any more than three, it gets very samey, so the chilli jam gives it a bit of sweetness and the rice vinegar foam adds another dimension," he explains.

"I didn't necessarily expect to win accolades but I did want to be the best. It would be the same if I was playing ice hockey, for example - I'd want to play at national league level. And a Michelin star is a pinnacle for the industry. The aim was always to create a restaurant of which I and my wife Nathalie could be proud."

He admits it wasn't easy when they first opened. "It was a car crash, to be honest. When you first get the reins of anything, you're not very comfortable with what you think you like, so you follow trends, and you look at what other people are doing and what other people are saying, and you aspire to that, instead of thinking, 'is this bullshit?' But five years down the line, I'm comfortable with the fact that there's no point in comparing myself to the likes of Claude Bosi or Isaac McHale.

Watch the video: Vlog - Χριστούγεννα στο YouTube Space στο Λονδίνο! (July 2022).


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