Archive for April, 2009
April 20 (Bloomberg) — Gordon Ramsayâ€™s flagship London establishment dropped out of the Worldâ€™s 50 Best Restaurants list tonight and kept falling. The three-Michelin-starred venue failed even to make the Top 100 after coming 13th last year.
To add to the woes of the British chef, known for TV shows such as â€œHellâ€™s Kitchenâ€ and â€œKitchen Nightmares,â€ his former friend Marcus Wareingâ€™s new venue came in at No. 52. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley — on the site of the old Ramsay- owned Petrus — also won the Breakthrough Restaurant award, meaning itâ€™s most likely to enter the Top 50 next year.
El Bulli, Ferran Adriaâ€™s experimental restaurant north of Barcelona, topped the S. Pellegrino Worldâ€™s 50 Best Restaurants and Heston Blumenthalâ€™s Fat Duck came second for the fourth year in a row. Noma, chef Rene Redzepiâ€™s venue in Copenhagen, jumped to third from 10th and also took the Chefsâ€™ Choice award.
Ramsayâ€™s empire spans the world, with establishments in Asia, the U.S., the Middle East, Africa and Europe. In London alone, the chef has eight restaurants, plus Foxtrot Oscar and three pubs. He plans to reopen Petrus and Savoy Grill this year. Ramsay came under fire last week when the Sun reported that a central kitchen supplies dishes in bags to Foxtrot Oscar and the pubs. The highest Ramsay venue in the Top 100 is Maze, at 91.
â€œGordon takes all these sort of surveys with a pinch of salt,â€ according to an e-mailed statement issued by his public- relations company, Sauce Communications. â€œAs always, Gordon regards his thousands of customers as his most valued critics. They are his judge and jury.â€
The top placed U.S. entrant was Thomas Kellerâ€™s Per Se, in New York, which came sixth. The same chefâ€™s French Laundry, which won in 2004, came 12th this time. Other U.S. winners included Alinea (10th), Le Bernardin (15th) and Jean Georges (19th).
Wareing split from Gordon Ramsay Holdings last year. Ramsay kept the name Petrus and Wareing held onto the site at the Berkeley hotel, retaining the business he had spent nine years building.
The awards were announced at the Freemasonsâ€™ Hall in Covent Garden. The Worldâ€™s 50 Best is one of the foremost gatherings of chefs from around the world. Among those planning to attend were Adria, Blumenthal, Daniel Boulud, Joel Robuchon, Tetsuya Wakuda and Wareing. Ramsay wasnâ€™t planning to be there, the organizers said.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay came second to El Bulli in the inaugural list in 2002, which was dominated by U.K. restaurants, It placed fifth in 2003, eighth in 2004, fifth in 2005, 14th in 2006, 24th in 2007 and then 13th in 2008. The list started life as a way of promoting â€œRestaurant,â€ a U.K. magazine.
The S. Pellegrino Worldâ€™s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and List is organized and compiled by â€œRestaurant,â€ and sponsored by S. Pellegrino. The winners are chosen by a total of 837 food writers, critics and commentators around the world, organized into 26 panels. Each panelist has five votes, of which a maximum of three can go to places in his or her region.
For the first time, I was a member of the U.K. and Ireland panel, chaired by Jay Rayner of the Observer. I voted by post and donâ€™t know who else was on the panel or how they voted.
Noma knocked Pierre Gagnaire from third place. El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, was the biggest gainer, jumping 21 places. The other notable change this year is the presence of Asian restaurants in the Top 50. Les Creations de Narisawa, Tokyo, ranked 20th. Iggyâ€™s, in Singapore, which the new â€œMiele Guideâ€ named Asiaâ€™s best restaurant last October, came 45th.
The Fat Duck, which topped the list in 2005 and now comes second each year, was closed for more than two weeks earlier this year after 529 diners reported falling sick. Health officials later said the cause was norovirus Winter Vomiting Disease.
The Top 50:
1 El Bulli, Spain (=) 2 The Fat Duck, U.K. (=) 3 Noma, Denmark (+7) 4 Mugaritz, Spain (=) 5 El Celler de Can Roca, Spain (+21) 6 Per Se, U.S. (=) 7 Bras, France (=) 8 Arzak, Spain (=) 9 Pierre Gagnaire, France (-6) 10 Alinea, U.S. (+11) 11 Lâ€™Astrance, France (=) 12 The French Laundry U.S. (-7) 13 Osteria Francescana, Italy (New Entry) 14 St. John, U.K. (+2) 15 Le Bernardin, U.S. (+5) 16 Restaurant de lâ€™Hotel de Ville, Switzerland (+11) 17 Tetsuyaâ€™s, Australia (-8) 18 Lâ€™Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France (-4) 19 Jean Georges, U.S. (-2) 20 Les Creations de Narisawa, Japan (New Entry) 21 Chez Dominique, Finland (+18) 22 Ristorante Cracco, Italy (+21) 23 Die Schwarzwaldstube, Germany (+12) 24 D.O.M., Brazil (+16) 25 Vendome, Germany (+9) 26 Hof van Cleve, Belgium (+2) 27 Masa, U.S., (Re-entry) 28 Gambero Rosso, Italy (-16) 29 Oud Sluis, Netherlands (+13) 30 Steirereck, Austria (New Entry) 31 Momofuku Ssam Bar, U.S. (New Entry) 32 Oaxen Skaergaardskrog, Sweden (+16) 33 Martin Berasategui, Spain (-4) 34 Nobu U.K. (-4) 35 Mirazur, France (New Entry) 36 Hakkasan, U.K. (-17) 37 Le Quartier Francais, South Africa (+13) 38 La Colombe, South Africa (Re-entry) 39 Asador Etxebarri, Spain (+5) 40 Le Chateaubriand, France (New Entry) 41 Daniel, U.S. (=) 42 Combal Zero, Italy (Re-entry) 43 Le Louis XV, France (-28) 44 Tantris, Germany (+3) 45 Iggyâ€™s, Singapore (New Entry) 46 Quay, Australia (New Entry) 47 Les Ambassadeurs, France (-2) 48 Dal Pescatore, Italy (-25) 49 Le Calandre, Italy (-13) 50 Mathias Dahlgren, Sweden (New Entry) 51 Zuma, China 52 Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, U.K. 53 Spondi, Greece 54 Lâ€™Arpege, France 55 Lâ€™Atelier de Joel Robuchon, China 56 Hibiscus, U.K. 57 Aqua, Germany 58 Le Gavroche, U.K. 59 Chez Panisse, U.S. 60 Les Amis, Singapore 61 El Poblet, Spain 62 Maison Pic, France 63 Cafe Pushkin, Russia 64 Le Meurice, France 65 Bukhara, India 66 Varvari, Russia 67 Schauenstein, Germany 68 RyuGin, Japan 69 La Maison Troisgros, France 70 Wasabi, India 71 The River Cafe, U.K. 72 Enoteca Pinchiorri, Italy 73 Le Cinq, France 74 Allegro, Czech Republic 75 Quintessence, Japan 76 Restaurant Dieter Mueller, Germany 77 Geranium, Denmark 78 Caprice, China 79 Jardines, South Africa 80 Amador, Germany 81 Biko, Mexico 82 Lâ€™Atelier de Joel Robuchon U.S 83 Fasano, Brazil 84 Mozaic, Bali 85 Obauer, Austria 86 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, France 87 Lâ€™Ambroisie, France 88 Maison Boulud, China 89 De Librije, Netherlands 90 Babbo, U.S. 91 Maze, U.K. 92 Zuma, U.K. 93 Manresa, U.S. 94 Pier, Australia 95 De Karmeliet, Belgium 96 Aubergine, South Africa 97 Bo Innovation, China 98 Rust en Vrede, South Africa 99 Del Posto U.S. 100 Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, UAE
Figures in brackets indicate change on last year.
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg News Opinions expressed are his own.)
To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: April 20, 2009 15:00 EDT
For a while now I’ve been listening to my cooking pod casts and reading articles about the following topics:
- With a 4 foot by 8 foot piece of dirt one can grow enough food for a family of four for at least 9 months out of the year.
- The quality of the vegetables we purchase at our local markets are grown on lands that are engineered to yield the most quantity and not quality.
- The vegetables we purchase are lacking of flavor and valuable vitamins. One can grow better quality vegetables at home.
- Chefs are starting to grow their own vegetables to get the best quality into their dishes.
- And the here’s the real kicker the first lady of the United States Michelle Obama broke ground for a White House vegetable garden.
I found all of this to be true and became inspired. I have a space in my backyard and I live in Southern California, which is perfect for growing vegetables throughout most of the year.
So the following are the steps and instructions on how to build your little space of vegetable heaven.
Give yourself some time to get all the items on the list. Don’t expect to get this all done in one day. Call around first so you don’t waste time traveling around to store that may not have the items needed.
Find a place on your property to place the garden. You want an area that will get the maximum amount of sunlight throughout the day. No shady or partially shaded areas. The area should be away from any structure on your property. Think about the possibility of it raining and water from the roof from a structure pouring into your vegetable garden.
The standard area needed is about 5 feet by 10 feet to build a box that is 4 feet by 8 feet. Why this size you may ask? Well when you buy the wood it usually comes in lengths of 8 feet, which makes it cost effective and limits the time needed to cut the wood.
Find and contact a local lumberyard that carries redwood. Why redwood? Well it’s in my opinion the best outdoor wood to use that will not rot as fast as other woods. DO NOT buy any pressure treated wood. You can smell the chemicals used in the pressure treatment a mile away and it should not be used with anything that will be grown and end up on your plate.
1. Call the lumberyard and ask if they carry the following sizes of redwood.
- 2 inches by 8 inches by 8 feet or 2” x 8” x 8’.
- 2 inches by 6 inches by 8 feet or 2” x 6” x 8’.
- 4 inches by 4 inches by 8 feet or 4” x 4” x 8’. These are posts.
Also ask if they will cut the wood for you. Not all of us have saws or electric saws at home so this cuts down on your labor.
2. Go to the lumberyard and buy the following amounts.
- 6 2” x ”8 x 8’
- 2 2” x 6” x 8’
- 2 4” x 4” x 8’
3. While you are there ask them to do the following:
- Cut 2 of the 2” x 2” x 8’ planks in half. So you’ll have four 4-foot planks.
- Cut the 4” x 4” x 8’ into 4 equal pieces so that they are each 2 feet long. So you’ll now have eight 2-foot posts.
4. Go to the Hardware Store/Garden Center and buy the following:
- 52 3-inch Wood screws.
- 16 2-inch wood screws.
- 16 3-inch Corner Braces.
- Weed block. This is black fabric that you will lay at the bottom of the box to prevent any unwanted weeds growing up from the earth below.
- 2 yards of good organic soil. Ask for a little help with this one. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish and ask them for a recommendation.
- Soaker Hose. This will be used to spread across the top of the bed to efficiently keep the soil moist.
Ok now that you have all the needed materials you can now start building your box.
- Take 2 of the 4” x 4” x 2’ posts and spread them apart by 8 feet.
- Place 2 of the 2” x 8” x 8’ planks on top. Make sure all the edges line up as in the picture.
- Screw in 2 of the 3-inch wood screws into each side of the planks so that it firmly attaches to the post. Ok now repeat with the remaining wood for the other 8-foot side.
- Take 2 of the 4”x 4” x 2’ posts and spread them apart by 4 feet.
- Place 2 of the 2”x8”x 4’ planks on top. Make sure all the edges line up as in the picture.
- Screw in 2 of the 3-inch wood screws into each side of the planks so that it firmly attaches to the post. Ok now repeat the remaining wood for the other 4-foot side.
- Now it is time to screw in the braces. Get one of the four-foot pieces. Space out two of the corner braces evenly on each side of the piece. Make sure they are up to the edge of the piece. Use a 3-inch wood screw for the interior screw hole, as it will go through the 2-inch plank and into the post. Use a 2-inch wood screw for the outside hole, as it will only go into the 2-inch plank. Repeat with the remaining braces and with the other 4-foot piece.
- Now it is time to put all the pieces together to make the box. Attach the 4 foot pieces to the 8 foot pieces. Use 3-inch wood screws for the interior screw hole and 2 inch wood screws for the outside screw hole.
- Take a 2” x 6” x 8’ plank and lay on top of the 8 foot side. Make sure all the edges line up like the picture below. Take 2 of the 3-inch wood screws and attach the top plank to the post and plank below. Repeat on the other side. Repeat with the other 8-foot side and with the remaining 4 foot pieces. Take some additional wood screws and secure the middle sections.
- Now that your box is built move it over to its location. Mark the areas you will need to dig for the posts of the box.
- Remove the box and start digging the holes. This will be take some time because each hole will have a different depth as you will want the box to be level on each side.
- Place the posts into the dug holes and place a level on each side of the box. If the box is not level add or remove dirt from the holes until it is level.
- Once it is level step far away from the box and get down on one knee to view the box. You want the box to look visibly pleasing.
- Once this is accomplished fill in the holes with dirt.
- Place the weed block at the bottom of the box and fill with the organic soil.