Chuckles of the Day






Self-taught Chefs Win Coveted Stars from Michelin Guide

Elaine Ganley and Jean-Francios Badias wrote . . . . . . . . .

If your secret wish is to get a reward, not just family compliments, for your talents in the kitchen, then Georgiana Viou might serve as inspiration.

The self-taught chef from the west African country of Benin, who came to Paris dreaming of becoming an interpreter, was awarded a star on Monday by the Michelin Guide, the bible of gastronomy, for her cuisine at “Rouge,” a restaurant in the southwestern French city of Nimes.

She wasn’t alone. A chef who studied literature, David Degoursy, and pastry chef Jeanne Satori, with a degree in sustainable development, also won a star for their restaurant de:ja in Strasbourg, eastern France, where the annual awards ceremony was held.

Michelin’s 2023 awards for French chefs put the accent on the regions of France, not Paris. The only chef to walk away with three stars — the highest award, reserved for gastronomic luminaries — was Alexandre Couillon for his creations at La Marine, his restaurant on the tip of the Ile de Noirmoutier on the Atlantic Ocean.

Of the 44 new Michelin stars handed out, Viou’s is the only one won by a woman working single-handed. Several other women were honored as part of a team, like Satori, the pastry chef at de:ja.

Viou, 45, has described her cuisine as a mix of French Mediterranean perfumed with notes recalling her home country. She has written several books about Benin’s cooking.

Becoming a chef was a fall-back plan for Viou, who came to France in 1999 to study languages at the Sorbonne, hoping to become an interpreter. Working at a communications agency in the southern port city of Marseille, life’s complications forced her to change directions and, at 33, her second passion, cooking, took over.

In an interview last fall with online publication terrafemina, she said that as a Black African woman who was older than most chefs-in-training in a mostly masculine universe her maturity helped her cope.

But she dislikes being categorized because of her sex or skin color, saying that “it’s completely ridiculous” to be considered “a la mode” for being a Black female chef. She wants to be judged for what’s on the plate she serves.

Viou learned to cook from her mother who had a simple little restaurant in Cotonou, Benin and got a lesson in perseverance from her grandmother. She worked her way up the chef’s ladder step by step in Marseille, eventually getting recognition at restaurants bearing her name. She joined Rouge, in Nimes, at its inception in June 2021.

Last year, Viou was on the jury of the popular TV show MasterChef, years after being a candidate.

Viou’s Michelin star was bestowed for her “singular cuisine … celebrating her Mediterranean environment and Benin roots.”

“Today is really top,” she said at the awards ceremony, adding that she had been invited and thought, “This is cool. I’ll find myself among lots of chefs, an occasion for encounters,” not for the bestowal of a star.

She was clearly overwhelmed.

At Rouge (Red), “We’re not a team. We’re a family,” she said, her voice trembling and her eyes welling with happy tears. She then shyly took a few dance steps and raised her arms as if in thanks.

Self-taught chefs with Michelin stars are less rare than one might think.

There is Eric Girardin, for instance, at La Maison des Tetes in Colmar, near Strasbourg, who began his working life as an electrical engineer.

The only woman to have won three Michelin stars is Anne-Sophie Pic. The grand-daughter and daughter of chefs, she moved from her native Drome region to Paris to study commerce before returning to her roots. With restaurants in Paris, London and Lausanne, Pic opened another in Singapore in 2019.

Source: AP





In Pictures: Food of 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo – Bombana in Macau, China

Fine Dining Italian Cuisine Focusing on Sicilian Cooking

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant





What Are the Best Sleeping Positions for a More Comfortable Day

Kirstie Ganobsik wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you were asked your favorite sleep position, you’d probably be able to answer pretty quickly.

But it can be a little trickier to figure out the best sleeping position — one that helps you reduce your aches and pains and maximize the enormous health benefits that research has shown a good night’s sleep can provide.

Here are the positions that the experts recommend, whether you’re pregnant, prone to snoring, dealing with back or neck pain, or have other conditions that can benefit from the right position while you rest.

Plus, experts offer tips on making the most of your current favorite position and “training” yourself to sleep in different ones that might be better for you.

What are the best sleeping positions?

“The best sleep position is the one you are most comfortable with,” said Dr. Harly Greenberg, medical director at Northwell Sleep Disorders Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“However, there may be better sleep positions for persons with specific health or orthopedic issues,” he added.

So, what is the best position to sleep in for your particular needs? To help you pick your position, the Sleep Foundation offers some suggestions about sleeping on your back, stomach and side.

Sleeping on your back


  • Reduces aches and pains in the lower back and neck
  • Supports your spine so your muscles can relax and recover
  • Helps relieve congestion, especially if you elevate your torso
  • Helps reduce the risk of developing facial wrinkles


  • Increases the risk of airway collapse for those who snore or have sleep apnea
  • Raises pressure levels for certain types of back pain
  • Increases episodes of acid reflux
  • Raises gravity pressure to make it more difficult to breathe, making it unsuitable for older or heavier people
  • Causes a fetus to put more pressure on the heart in pregnant women, especially in the third trimester

Sleeping on your stomach


  • Opens the airway to help reduce snoring


  • Causes increased gravity on your ribs to make breathing less energy-efficient
  • Provides the least back and neck support of the three positions
  • Contributes to facial wrinkles
  • Makes it difficult to get comfortable when pregnant

Sleeping on your side


  • Advances spinal alignment, making it ideal for those with back pain, particularly when using support pillows
  • Reduces snoring and heartburn, which means it’s beneficial for those with acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and sleep apnea
  • Promotes comfort, ease of breathing, and reduced pressure on the spine and internal organs, making it a top choice for pregnant people and older adults


  • Increases pressure on the shoulders, which means it’s not ideal for those with pain in this region
  • Contributes to facial wrinkles
  • So which side is best? A recent study published in the journal Sensors found that sleeping on your right side, combined with lower rates of turning, promoted higher quality sleep.

However, left-side sleeping is ideal for those with acid reflux and GERD because it decreases pressure on internal organs, according to the Sleep Foundation.

Greenberg shared the same conclusion. “As far as right or left side, left-side sleeping may be better, as it may reduce gastroesophageal reflux,” he said.

Left-sided sleeping has another distinct advantage: It’s the best position during pregnancy, experts say.

“Pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, may cause discomfort during sleep. Side sleeping relieves gravitational pressure of the uterus on the blood vessels in the abdomen and improves blood flow,” Greenberg explained.

“Sleeping on the left side is better than the right side as it helps to relieve pressure on other abdominal organs and is preferred, although brief periods of right-side sleep are OK as well to relieve pressure on the left hip,” he added.

One study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that reducing back-sleeping time in favor of a side position may be particularly beneficial for the fetus during late pregnancy.

What’s the best sleep position for neck and back pain?

“Back sleeping may be most comfortable for those with back or neck pain,” said Greenberg.

“If back pain is a problem, back or side sleeping may help with spine alignment and reduce back pain. Side sleeping with knees bent and a pillow between the knees may be helpful as well,” he advised.

Can you “train” yourself to sleep in a different position?

Greenberg noted that “for those people who should avoid supine sleep for sleep apnea, a sleep positioner that prevents inadvertent rolling on the back may be useful.”

He noted that “there are other options as well, including devices that sense your position and provide a vibratory or other signal to urge you to move.”

Source: HealthDay





Anchovy and Rosemary Roasted Lamb


6 garlic cloves
9 flat anchovy fillets, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup olive oil
2-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 (6- to 7-pound) semiboneless leg of lamb (aitchbone removed), all but a thin layer of fat discarded and lamb tied
salt and black pepper

Salsa Verde

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
9 flat anchovy fillets, drained, patted dry, and minced
2-1/2 tablespoons drained bottled capers (preferably nonpareil), rinsed and finely chopped
6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Mince garlic and anchovies and mash to a paste with a large heavy knife, then stir together with oil and rosemary in a small bowl. Pat lamb dry and place, fat side up, on rack in pan. Make several small 1-inch-deep slits in lamb with a paring knife, then rub marinade over entire surface, pushing some into slits. Marinate loosely covered, at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F, with rack in middle.
  3. Sprinkle lamb all over with 2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, then roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb (almost to bone but not touching it) registers 125°F for medium-rare, 1-1/2 to 1-3/4hours (temperatures in thinner parts of leg may register up to 160°F). Let stand for 30 minutes before slicing.
  4. Make Salsa Verde. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl.
  5. To carve, grab leg by shank end. Lift leg up to a level where it’s comfortable for your other arm (your wrist) to carve on a downward slope. Tilting knife blade at roughly a 20-degree angle to meat, begin paring thin slices from opposite end of leg, just to one side of it, starting each slice above the previous one so that slices lengthen and widen as you move up leg.
  6. Then rotate leg a quarter turn and continue to carve, lifting each slice off with knife and draping it over the previous slice.
  7. Keep turning and slicing until you reach bone. You will end up with a range of medium-rare to well-done meat. Serve with salsa verde.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Gourmet Italian

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