Top Female Chef Award Goes to a British for the First Time

Richard Vines wrote . . . . . . . .

London-based Clare Smyth won this year’s award for the world’s best female chef, becoming the first British woman to claim a title that usually goes to chefs in mainland Europe.

Smyth, who opened Core by Clare Smyth last year in Notting Hill, was the only female chef in the U.K. to hold three Michelin stars when she ran London’s Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. She was with Ramsay for more than 13 years.

“This accolade is not for me but for all the women working in the hospitality industry around the world,” Smyth said in an emailed statement. “I hope to use this platform to encourage and mentor more women to achieve success.”

Smyth grew up on a farm in Northern Ireland. She is known for her light and modern interpretation of classic French cooking. Her informal approach is reflected in her choice of Notting Hill for her restaurant, rather than the traditional locations of Mayfair and Chelsea for fine dining.

At Core, she has dispensed with tablecloths and stiff service, offering new dishes such as a starter based around a single potato served with beurre blanc, herring and trout roe. The lunch menu costs £65 ($90) and dinner is £75.

The Elit Vodka World’s Best Female Chef Award comes from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, an organization that has gained influence since it spawned from a U.K. trade magazine in 2002.

The award is controversial. Some chefs and food writers (mainly male) have said it is insulting to have a separate award for women. Last year’s winner, Ana Roš of Hiša Franko, in Slovenia, was unimpressed by such criticism.

“It is very clear that for a woman in a male world, it’s always going to be difficult,” she told Bloomberg last year. “The best chefs in this world—look at Massimo Bottura, look at Rene Redzepi—they have great wives. They are 100 percent on their work because it’s taken care of, their children, it’s taken care of their private life. They come home, probably somebody even cooks for them and has time to chat to them. Do you think that happens to a woman? You can never compare these two different worlds.”

Smyth said she has discussed the lack of women leading professional kitchens with the 50 Best team.

“There is no right and wrong way to address this but things won’t change if we do nothing,” she said. “When we see women represented in numbers in lists like these, then we will have changed the industry for the better and these awards will no longer be needed.”

Other previous winners of the award, in its eighth year, include Elena Arzak, of Arzak restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain; Anne-Sophie Pic, of Maison Pic, in Valence, France; and Hélène Darroze, who has restaurants in London and Paris.

This year’s winner of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants award will be announced on June 19 in Bilbao.

Source: Bloomberg

Grilled Steak with Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

4 grilling steaks, about 500 g, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves
2 Serrano chilies, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Cauliflower Rice

1 small head cauliflower
1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. To make the cauliflower rice, cut cauliflower into florets. Pulse florets in a food processor until finely chopped to resemble rice.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high. Add oil, then onion. Cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower. Cook until tender, about 2 more minutes. Stir in salt and season with fresh pepper. Set aside.
  4. Preheat barbecue to medium-high.
  5. Sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt and season with fresh pepper.
  6. Whirl garlic and chilies in a food processor until finely chopped. Add lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, cilantro and mint. Whirl until finely chopped. Scrape into a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Oil grill. Barbecue steaks, with lid open, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare if steak is 1-inch thick.
  8. Transfer steaks to a cutting board. Let stand 5 minutes, then slice into thin strips. Drizzle steak with cilantro sauce and sprinkled with more mint if desired.
  9. Serve steak with cauliflower rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Chatelaine magazine

In Pictures: Super Look-alike Inedible Demo Food Samples

Made by the Japanese company Iwasaki

Opinion: Too Many Almonds May Be Dangerous To Your Health!

Evan Levine, M.D. wrote . . . . . . . .

I remember it quite clearly. When it hit me, it was as sharp and as sudden as a bullet from a gun. Just a day before I had noticed that my urine looked a bit amber and now I had this sudden, sharp pain in my flank: “You fool,” I told myself, “you have a kidney stone.” I was pretty sure that’s what it was, but to make sure, I had my wife drive me to the ER where a CAT scan clearly showed a rather large and calcified stone in my right kidney.

Renal stones (nephrolithiasis) are much more common than I would have guessed. In the United States in 2000, almost 2 million outpatient visits resulted in a primary diagnosis of kidney stones. While there are several types of stones, the majority of them, over 80 percent, are made up of calcium combined with oxalate.

After a week of waxing and waning pain; pain that many women who have had kidney stones have compared to their labor pains, and an $8,000 dollar visit to an ER (a future story), my urologist decided we should blast the thing out of my kidney by using focused sound beams. And so a few more thousand dollars later, with the use of the technique known as lithotripsy, my stone was broken into several sharp sliver like pieces that would pass, like, I suppose, real slivers of glass would, from me over the course of about a week.

For the few moments I had no pain, I began to wonder why I got these stones and if there was a way to prevent them. This was something I wasn’t hoping to have again. I wondered if there was some correlation, or association, between the foods I ate and why I formed this kidney stone. And so, when I had the strength to do so, I began searching through the medical literature. I found out that most stones are made up of calcium and oxalate but that the dietary Oxalate intake was far more important in causing these calcium oxalate stones. I might be a physician but I hadn’t the foggiest notion that calcium kidney stones were actually a combination of calcium and oxalate, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks, or better still, that kidney stone: I ate tons of almonds. OK, I ate ounces of almonds almost every single day, often as many as three small bags of roasted non-salted almonds. Could it be that I was loading myself up with oxalates when I was munching on almonds?

I ran to my computer, did the standard Google search, and came up with what I had expected; almonds are loaded with oxalates (just below Rhubarb and Spinach), and eating too much of them, like I did, was potentially the reason why I got that kidney stone. And not only were almonds loaded with oxalates but the oxalates in almonds appeared to be better absorbed, according to a one study published in the Journal of Urology, into our body when compared to other sources of dietary oxalate.

I had always thought that eating almonds, instead of the usual snacks, would be good for me. Almonds after all were loaded with fiber, might help lower your cholesterol, and had antioxidants. Even Dr. Oz seems to believe that almonds are good for you championing them as “The best snack of all.” “Because nuts are high in fiber and protein, they’ll satiate you so you’ll never be hungry. Because of my Turkish culture, I grew up eating almonds that have been soaked in water first. I still do that. It makes them taste completely different—very sweet,” Dr. Oz says.

What could go wrong? But as I read the Almond Board of California site (almost all the almonds grown in the states are grown in California) I wondered why they suggested everyone have a handful of almonds a day? Why not just say eat almonds and eat lots of them? Was this a carefully vetted statement?

Here is just one of several statements made on their site:

Of all the things to love about almonds, this one should really get your heart pumping: Just a handful of almonds a day may help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. And that’s good news for just about everyone as cardiovascular disease holds its spot as the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S.

California Almonds are cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat, making them a deliciously tempting option for smarter meals and snacks. And research is now showing they may also help maintain a healthy heart. In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a health claim recognizing that California Almonds can help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level. And no, you’re not dreaming.

Why do they keep saying a handful and why do they limit it to that amount? Do the almond growers know that eating too many almonds could be dangerous to your health? Are they afraid that perhaps the FDA would mandate that warnings be placed on foods loaded with oxalates, like almonds, because these foods might have some relationship or might even be causing thousands of us to form kidney stones and perhaps even worse, kidney failure?

I researched the topic even further. Eager to learn more I decided to see if the prevalence of kidney stones, the amount of people who had kidney stones in a given time, had increased over the past several years. What I learned is that the prevalence, in the United States, as well as most other nations, had about doubled in less than ten years: the incidence is about 1 in 11 people in the USA now.

Many experts, from what I read, seem to blame this epidemic of kidney stones with the increase in obesity and diabetes, which doctors say is associated with stones, while some even blame global warming; more sweating means more dehydration, higher concentration of calcium and oxalate in the urine and an increase chance for stones to form. No one seemed to consider that an increase in almond consumption (or other foods high in oxalates) may be the culprit.

I dug in more and took a look to see if almond consumption was up in the US. I found that the USDA calculates that almond consumption had doubled since 1994 and tripled since the 1970’s; with most people not eating almonds directly as I did, but in cereals, baked products and health bars. In other words many people are eating almonds and don’t even know they are.

While this was by no means a cause and effect relationship, things began to look quite suspicious. I came down with a calcium oxalate stone and the only risk I could find was that I ate a lot of almonds. Almonds contain the most important ingredient needed to form the most common type of kidney stone — oxalate. The prevalence of kidney stones has doubled since 1994 just as the consumption of almonds has doubled.

I then looked at how prevalent kidney stones might be in a country where, according to Dr. Oz, people grow up eating almonds. What I found was shocking! According to a study published on kidney stone disease in Turkey (an updated epidemiological study. Eur Urol. 1991;20:200–203), the incidence of kidney stones in Turkey in 1989, was 11.8 %. This would suggest that the country which appears to embrace almond consumption from the earliest ages also has the highest rate of kidney stones.

So in conclusion, please consider that almonds are chock full of oxalates, the most important component of kidney stones. As the intake of almonds has increased in the United States, and several other countries, the prevalence of kidney stones has also increased. In Turkey, where it is customary for even young children to eat almonds, the prevalence of kidney stones may be the highest in the world. Dr. Oz and others, who claim to be experts on health and diet, should be cautious when they suggest that their listeners, especially those who have a history of kidney stones, consume almonds as an ideal snack. Taking their advice might do more harm than good.

One has to wonder if the multi-billion dollar almond industry is aware that by hyping their product as a health conscious food, and without any warning of its potential risk, this huge and global industry could be contributing to thousands, perhaps millions, of their consumers developing renal stones.

My advice is to limit the quantity of almonds you eat and completely avoid them and other foods high in oxalates, if you have a history of calcium oxalate Kidney Stones. If the industry won’t add warnings voluntarily, I believe that it would be prudent for the FDA to require that a warning label be placed on packages of almonds noting that “increased consumption of almonds and other foods high in oxalates may significantly increase your risk of developing kidney stones.”

Source: The Leftist Review

Further Cases Show Too Much Sitting Can Raise Blood Clot Risk

It’s been long known that people who sit for extended periods of time run the risk of blood clots.

In fact, the condition has been dubbed economy class syndrome because it’s believed it can be brought on by stretches of prolonged immobility on long-distance flights.

Now, a new study out of Japan found that people fleeing a natural disaster seemed to be at risk of the unexpected cause of death — life-threatening blood clots in the legs and lungs triggered by sitting in a car for a long time.

The findings highlight the importance of educating people about the clot risk, experts say.

In the study, researchers explained that following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake in Japan, a large number of night aftershocks occurred. Many people were afraid to return home and decided to evacuate instead. While some reached a public evacuation shelter, many others had to stay in their vehicles overnight.

An analysis of hospital data following this event revealed an “epidemic” of blood clots in evacuees’ legs. In some cases, these blood clots traveled to the lungs.

Specifically, 51 evacuees were hospitalized for blood clots in the legs. Of those, 42 (82 percent) had spent the night in a vehicle. In 35 patients, blood clots in the legs traveled to the lungs, a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

The study findings were published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

The findings show the need to educate people about the risk and prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE), the study authors said in a journal news release.

“Preventive awareness activities by professional medical teams, supported by education in the media about the risk of VTEs after spending the night in a vehicle, and raising awareness of evacuation centers, could lead to a reduced number of victims of VTE,” said lead investigator Dr. Seiji Hokimoto. He’s with the department of cardiovascular medicine at Kumamoto University, in Japan.

According to Dr. Stanley Nattel, journal editor-in-chief, “This is a dramatic example of the risks inherent in spending prolonged periods immobilized in a cramped position.”

Nattel added that the report “is an important reminder of a public health point, and reinforces the need to get up and walk around regularly when on an airplane or when forced to stay in a car for a long time.”

Source: HealthDay


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