Q&A With: Restaurateur, Author Joe Bastianich
The MasterChef judge and famed restaurateur is now a published author.
May 16, 2012
Renowned restaurateur and vineyard owner Joe Bastianich has a lot to celebrate. His role as a judge on MasterChef, keeping up a healthy appearance after a big 2008 weight loss, and his obvious success in the restaurant business, especially with partner Mario Batali, are only a few of Bastianich’s accomplishments. He can now add author to his list of accolades, chronicling his upbringing in the newly-published Restaurant Man. Here, Bastiniach discusses his family's influence, the difference between LA and New York restaurant scenes, and his future plans.
What is the biggest lesson you learned from your parents?
JOE BASTIANICH: I learned, from an emotional stance, the importance of the sense of family. I learned a work ethic from them: that no one gives you anything in this world, and [that] you have to go out and fight and work for what you want. To be proud of your heritage, to be proud and celebrate where you come from and who you are.
What would your mom cook for you when you were little?
JB: She still does cook for me! She makes crab risotto and roasted chicken and potatoes. And she makes orecchiette with broccoli broth and sausage. And she makes apple strudel.
What would you say is the hardest part of opening a restaurant?
JB: Everything. It’s a very difficult thing to do, and I think that the hardest part is trying to understand the complexity and magnitude of what it takes to open a great restaurant. I think people don’t really get it sometimes. It seems easy, but it’s not.
What do you think of the show that you judge, MasterChef?
JB: It’s the greatest food competition in the world. The process of tasting six thousand people’s food and bringing it down to one, the best home cook in America, is an amazing concept. It’s an amazing journey. The people are incredible, the food is incredible, the whole thing is amazing.
You have restaurants in both Los Angeles and New York. What is the difference between the dining scenes in each city?
JB: I think the restaurant experiences in each city represent or embody the complete environment of the city. For me, eating in an LA restaurant means great local produce, something from the sea, a warm night, a warm breeze or a sunny afternoon. The smell of flowering orange trees, all those things that are so very Los Angeles—when they come together in the dining experience, it’s magic.
I think in New York, it’s a night with traffic and black limousines all over the place, and a lit skyline under a haze of clouds with a slow drizzle, and people going off to the theater and art openings. And the sheer density and excitement and energy of the city, and when you enter a New York dining room it’s just this pop of pure rush with energy and magic. I think that restaurants in both cities can come to embody the energy and the aesthetic of the cities themselves.
What’s the next city you’re going to tackle?
JB: We’re opening up Eataly in Chicago. Hopefully, there may be a Mozza coming to San Diego. We just opened up Lupa in Hong Kong and we have our steakhouse, Carnevino, opening up in Hong Kong in August.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CASS BIRD
The Ultimate Summer Read: Crabgrass Crucible
Summer-appropriate book is perfect for LA residents, Earth advocates, or both.
May 16, 2012
It’s no secret that Southern California has a large population of environmentalists and eco-friendly residents who want to preserve its scenic setting. A new book by Christopher C. Sellers called Crabgrass Crucible: Suburban Nature & the Rise of Environmentalism in Twentieth-Century America explores where the love of the land all began, taking a specific look at LA and New York City.
Speaking to the idea that the environmental movement started with suburbanites, Sellers’ tome really reflects the sprawling suburb that is LA. The book is both informative and relaxing to read—perfect as you soak up a slice of California’s environment at the beach. University of North Carolina Press, June 18; Pre-order available at BarnesandNoble.com, $35.76
James Franco 'Rebel' Exhibit Makes Debut
Multimedia exhibit pays tribute to iconic Rebel Without a Cause film.
May 15, 2012
James Franco expands his artistic talents with the opening of "Rebel," a MOCA exhibition surrounding cult classic Rebel Without a Cause. Set to run May 15-June 23, the showcase explores director Nicholas Ray’s 1955 film starring James Dean and Natalie Wood through paintings, sculptures, drawings, video installations, photography, and behind-the-scenes footage. Reinterpretations by art and film talents such as Douglas Gordon, Harmony Korine, Ed Ruscha, Terry Richardson, Paul McCarthy and, of course, Franco, make for a unique show.
A chameleon of creativity whose roles have included actor, author, director, and artist, Franco is known for completely immersing himself in every project he undertakes, and "Rebel" proves no different. Having won a Golden Globe for playing Dean in a 2001 TV biopic, Franco has extensively researched the actor and his most well-known film. Captivated by Rebel Without a Cause’s coming-of-age story, Franco organized the exhibit to reflect the film’s central theme of teenage rebellion. Franco goes as far as carving “Brad Renfro” into his arm with a switchblade as an ode to his late Deuces Wild co-star in one film short. Open Tuesday-Saturday; 11 AM to 5 PM; free admission. JF Chen exhibition space, 941 North Highland Ave., LA
Kim Crawford & People’s Pops Present Wine Popsicles
DIY spiked popsicles are the ultimate summer treat to serve at parties.
May 15, 2012
Kim Crawford Winery is partnering with New York-based artisan popsicle company, People’s Pops to make fun, frozen treats from their world-class wine. The luxury New Zealand winemakers have invented two fruit-infused, spiked popsicles using their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir just before the real heat of summer rolls in. Best part is, the companies provide at-home recipes, making for the perfect treat at your summer kick-off party.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Infused Yellow Peach and Vanilla Ice Pops
3 to 4 baseball sized ripe to overripe yellow peaches
4 ounces dark organic cane
4 fluid ounces water
1-inch piece of vanilla bean cut lengthwise
7 ounces 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Mix sugar and water in saucepan. Gently heat while stirring until sugar completely dissolves. Remove from heat, add cut vanilla bean and steep for 15 minutes. Remove bean and allow syrup to completely cool.
Rinse peaches and pat dry. With paring knife, remove pits and stems. Lightly puree peaches, being sure to leave some texture, resulting in about 16 fluid ounces. Combine puree with cooled vanilla syrup and 7 ounces of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, stirring well. Pour into molds, add sticks, and freeze until solid (about 4 to 6 hours). Once frozen, take out of mold and serve at once, or place in plastic bags for storage.
Makes 10 ice pops.
Kim Crawford Pinot Noir Infused Blackberry Ice Pops
1 ½ pounds fresh, ripe blackberries (about 5 cups)
4 ounces dark organic cane sugar
4 fluid ounces water
6-8 ounces 2010 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Gently heat while stirring until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool completely. Rinse blackberries and dry with paper towel. Lightly puree with blender or mash blackberries, resulting in about 16 ounces of puree. Add 6 ounces of cooled liquid sugar, 6 ounces of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, and taste.
The sweet, lightly acidic blackberries will highlight the natural fruit notes of Pinot Noir, leaving a nice, slightly tannic finish. If stronger Pinot Noir flavor is desired, add remaining 2 ounces. Pour into molds, add sticks and freeze until solid (about 4 to 6 hours). Once frozen, unmold and serve at once, or place in plastic bags for storage.
Makes 10 ice pops.
Recipes & Photograph Couresty Kim Crawford Wines
Scandinavian Brand Sand Opens Flagship in LA
Scandinavian brand brings its elegantly cool men’s and women’s ready-to-wear to it first North American store in LA.
May 14, 2012
Upscale Danish label Sand celebrates its 30th anniversary by debuting a North American store in Los Angeles. Situated in Sunset Plaza’s renowned shopping district, the store blends seamlessly with boutiques like H. Lorenzo and Calypso St. Barth. Sand stocks clothes in 32 countries and is sold at international clothing giants like Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Canada’s Harry Rosen.
Angelenos may recognize Sand from its prominent presence at Traffic LA stores. Building on that relationship, Traffic founders Michael and Sarah Dovan and Sand creators Lene and Soren Sand, plus the label's North American distributors, Triluxe, have rallied to launch the 2,500-sq.-ft. flagship. Expect this shop to sell Sand’s signature combination of elegant and edgy pieces. 8620 Sunset Plz., West Hollywood, 310-657-5469
Photographs Courtesy Sand
Timberlake & Stylist Team Up for Home Décor Site
Justin Timberlake and Estee Stanley collaborate for e-commerce interior design site.
May 14, 2012
Multi-talented entertainer Justin Timberlake has teamed up with his longtime stylist/interior designer Estee Stanley to launch HomeMint.com. Having garnered success in film, music, and fashion, Timberlake flawlessly fuses his creativity with Stanley’s 15 years of home design expertise in Beverly Hills and beyond.
Purveyed as “personal style meets home design,” HomeMint is a membership-based e-commerce site ($10/month) that showcases Timberlake and Stanley’s design tips and recommended products based on personal styles. At sign up, users are asked to take a style quiz so the offerings can be tailored to their tastes. Although members benefit from exclusive offers, insider advice, and more, the brand’s curated collection of luxury pieces, limited-edition art, and a home line by Timberlake and Stanley are available to non-members, too.
This new partnership is a natural step for the frequent collaborators and friends, who join BeachMint, the Santa Monica-based social commerce company, as the fifth celebrity-driven brand. Others include StyleMint with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, ShoeMint with Rachel Bilson, and more.
Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts
If you’re after a last-minute gift, pamper mom with lovely and local products and packages.
May 11, 2012
For a truly personal touch, stop by the Beverly Hills location of Kendra Scott and create a custom piece from the color bar. An array of styles and colors are available for rings, bracelets, necklaces, and cuffs. You can even bring mom in to design her own piece. 9511 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 810-888-8600
A New Take on Bouquets
Botany Flowers in The Brentwood Country Mart has fashioned a Mother’s Day menu of fragrant bouquets, spring wreaths, and herb garden boxes featuring the season’s freshest flowers. The spring wreath ($400) lasts two to four weeks. Minimum $75 delivery charge; call 310-394-0358 to order. 225 26th St., Ste. 41, Brentwood
Spa Services for Every Sort of Mother
Pamper mom like a princess at cozy Abbot Kinney cottage spa, Nitespa. Relaxing services such as organic facials, holistic massages, and amazing manicures/pedicures come with a complimentary glass of wine. The day/night spa also offers 25% off for moms or those expecting, plus 15% off products. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up spa session too, book an appointment for yourself and your mother, and mom will pay only half price. Open noon-midnight (by appointment); for booking and pricing info, call 310-396-5122. 1301 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Brunch Plans: The Charleston
Celebrity chef Jet Tila debuts delectable jazz brunch with all the fixings.
May 11, 2012
Jet Tila’s new gastrolounge, The Charleston, is now open early for weekend brunch. Known for his inventive culinary repertoire, the celebrity chef has combined live jazz and American comfort food for a fun-filled, 1930s-style experience.
The Richard Glaser Band takes to the stage to perform classic jazz stylings while guests tuck into bottomless mimosas and breakfast favorites, including bread pudding French toast, chicken and waffles, and brisket hash and eggs. Brunch menu is available Saturdays and Sundays, 10 AM-2PM. 2460 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-828-2115
Petra Stunt’s Weekend-Perfect Stark Clutches
The British socialite and designer puts luxe touches on classic clutches.
May 10, 2012
Formula One heiress and fairly new LA resident Petra Stunt is revving up the luxury fashion market with handbags from her brand, Stark. Entering the design world around the same time she so famously purchased Candy Spelling’s mansion for $85 million, Stunt has been making a splash with her accessories company.
A reflection of her lavish style, Stunt’s latest pieces offer an over-the-top elegance with a modern edge. Made of exotic python skin and rich suede, the opulent mix of clutches come adorned with Swarovski crystals, gold buckles, and panther-shaped clasps. Stark clutches are the perfect statement-making carriers for dinner or dancing. Look for the collection at Saks Fifth Avenue. 9600 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-275-4211
Weekend Recommender: May 12-13
Shop an exclusive trunk show, sample a brand-new brunch, and treat mom to a makeup session.
May 10, 2012
Vanilla maple French toast at Bagatelle.
Cobra Society Trunk Show
Saturday, May 12, 12-8 PM
Designer Alex Davis scored a massive hit in the fashion world with her premier line of Cobra Society accessories. This Saturday the high-end collection of travel-inspired boots, loafers, and handbags will be available at an exclusive trunk show. Stop by for 80% off fall 2011 and 40-50% off spring 2012 collections. Must RSVP via firstname.lastname@example.org. 5410 Wilshire Blvd., LA
Bagatelle Brunch Opens
Begins Saturday, May 12, 11 AM-6 PM; every Saturday/Sunday after
Get a jump on the Sunday Mother’s Day crowd at Bagatelle’s first brunch service. An offshot of Bagatelle's NYC brunch, this party-themed a.m. meal will definitely pack the house with its flowing Champagne and live DJ. Lobster Suzette, vanilla maple Bagatelle French toast, and green eggs and ham are some of the anticipated plates. Reserve a table by e-mailing LAreservations@bistrotbagatelle.com or calling. 755 N. La Cienga Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-659-3900
Mother's Day Special at Blushington Makeup & Beauty Lounge
Sunday, May 13, 10 AM-6 PM
Make mom feel her best today with a pampering session at Blushington in WeHo. A perfect mother/daughter bonding opportunity, the ultra-girlie beauty shop offers full-face makeup application for both you and mom, but for the price of one. Blushington will also help keep you touch-up-ready with a complimentary take-home Stila lipgloss trio. 8591 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-652-5874