Philadelphia City Council Passes Sodium Warning for Chain-Restaurant Menus

The Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously today to give patrons of chain restaurants the information they need to help make informed decisions to protect their health.

The new law will require a warning label next to menu items that contain 2,300 or more milligrams of sodium (the amount in about a teaspoon of salt). That’s the recommended limit for an entire day.

Americans consume far too much sodium, mostly from restaurant and processed foods, which contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year due to heart disease and stroke. When Mayor Jim Kenney signs today’s measure into law, Philadelphia will become the second city to take this important step—joining New York City, which passed the nation’s first sodium warning policy in 2015. The new sodium warnings will complement calorie labeling that just went into effect nationwide, providing even more incentive for restaurants to improve the healthfulness of their menus and giving consumers more information when choosing what to order.

Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

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Italy’s Osteria Francescana Crowned World’s Best Restaurant Again

Italy’s Osteria Francescana was crowned the world’s best restaurant for the second time on Tuesday at an awards ceremony put on by British trade magazine Restaurant, beating out top eateries in Spain and France.

Run by chef Massimo Bottura, the restaurant in Modena, Italy pipped last year’s winner, New York’s “Eleven Madison Park,” in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, after first taking the honour in 2016. It is the only Italian establishment to have won the annual accolade.

“This is amazing, this is something we built all together,” Bottura told the awards ceremony held in Bilbao in Spain’s northern Basque Country, famous for its avant-garde haute cuisine.

“I am going to use this spotlight to show that chefs in 2018 are much more than the sum of their recipes.”

The top restaurants list’s organisers praised “Bottura’s contemporary cuisine, which challenges and reinvents Italian culinary tradition while make use of the finest produce from the Emilia-Romagna region.”

His father wanted him to become a lawyer but when he was 23-years-old Bottura, who was famous for rustling up culinary delights for his friends, dropped his law studies to open a Trattoria in Campazzo, in the countryside around Modena in the Po River Valley.

On his days off, he would study with French chef Georges Cogny, who had a restaurant two hours away.

“He said to me: ‘always follow your palate, because you have a great palate which will make Modena known around the world’,” Bottura said during an interview with AFP in 2016.

He opened Osteria Francescana in 1995 after spending time in New York and Monaco.

Two Peruvians in top 10

Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca, which took the top honour in 2013 and 2015, came in second while third place went to Mirazur in southern France.

Restaurant magazine, owned by William Reed Media, launched the awards in 2002 and they are now as coveted by restaurants as Michelin stars, although the methodology used to select the best restaurants has faced criticism, especially from several French chefs who say it remains unclear.

There are no criteria for putting a restaurant on the list, which is based on an anonymous poll of more than 1,000 chefs, restaurant owners, food critics and other industry insiders from around the world.

Each member gets 10 votes and at least four of those votes have to go to restaurants outside their region.

The top 10 included two Peruvian restaurants, “Central” which slipped to number six from fifth place last year, and “Maido” which climbed to number seven from eighth place.

The only Asian restaurant in the top 10 was Bangkok’s “Gaggan”, whose owner-chef Gaggan Anand has won praise for his modern spin on his native Indian cuisine.

Half in Europe

Spain continued to dominate the line-up with three restaurants in the top 10, including El Celler de Can Roca, while France had two including Mirazur.

The 2018 list of 50 best restaurants included eateries in 22 countries — but over half were in Europe. Six are in the United States, six in Latin America and six in Asia.

Tuesday’s ceremony also handed out individual chef awards.

Britain’s Clare Smyth, who catered the dinner at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last month, was named best female chef and France’s Cedric Grolet best pastry chef.

Peru’s celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, who is known for combining classic European techniques with typical ingredients from the Andean country, was given a lifetime achievement award.

The top restaurant award has gone to Spain seven times, the most of any country. In addition to El Celler de Can Roca’s two wins, ground-breaking Spanish chef Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, which he closed in 2011, took the prize a record five times.

This year was the first time the ceremony was held in Spain. The event has been held before in London, New York and Melbourne.

Source: NDTV

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Mabel Gray Restaurant in Detroit to Feature All-vegan Menu in August

Radish carpaccio

Tom Perkins wrote . . . . . . . .

Consider that there are a limited number of animals with which to cook and thousands and thousands of vegetables, and it’s pretty easy to understand why chefs find an appealing challenge in vegan cooking.

“Chefs are drawn to vegetables. We love vegetables more than most animals,” says Mabel Gray owner and chef James Rigato of the culinary world’s growing appreciation for plant-based dining. “There are so many — ramps, fiddleheads, morels, tomatoes in season, olive oil, vinegars — it’s more exciting than ‘Look at this whole goat that I got.'”

That range will be on display in August when his well-loved Hazel Park restaurant will go vegan for nearly a month, offering an eight-course, plant-based tasting menu. That comes after a successful vegan week Mabel Gray hosted in March, which Rigato says was the result of customer requests for plant-based meals.

“That was ‘Hey, we hear you, it’s your week.’ It sold out so fast and packed the house with vegans and non-vegans, and everyone who came out had a blast,'” Rigato says, noting that only about 40 percent of customers during the week were true vegans.

“I think a lot of people are eating vegan that aren’t living a true vegan lifestyle,” he adds. “You feel better, that’s a no brainer. So to me — I eat vegan all the time, but by no means am I vegan. A lot of people want that fresher, brighter plant-based experience without having to alter their lifestyle.”

The menu will be about variety and incorporate everything from black truffles to heriloom grains to boutique vegetables that are seared, smoked, charred, raw, fermented — “all the touch points of an exciting multi-course menu, but just featuring vegetables,” Rigato says.

That means dishes like the mushroom carpaccio with shaved raw button mushrooms, pesto, lemon vinaigrette, pine nut crumble, and maitake conserva.

For those wondering, “all vegan” really means “all vegan.” Rigato stresses that he will not add an egg to a meal, or provide cream or anything else from an animal, as some requested during the last vegan menu.

He notes that he chose to roll out a plant-based menu in August for a reason.

“It’s the hottest month and one of best months for Michigan produce,” he says. “During August, fisheries and animal farms quiet down. Whitefish and walleye are swimming in deeper waters to keep cool, animals aren’t eating as much in the hot sun … and I’d much rather eat fruits, vegetables, grains, and probiotics when it’s 100 degrees out than a pound of steak.”

Tickets are $65 per person.

Source: Detroit Metro Times