With Barnaby Barford and André Klauser's novel Still Life Fruit Bowl, you can create a piece of art that changes according to your fruit-buying patterns. The oak frame and earthenware bowl is available for pre-order for $100 at Areaware (though it also looks like something you might try making yourself).
From the Department of Culinary Mashups comes the Spudski, a potato masher whose design is inspired by ski poles. The masher's unusual grip may be held from the side, slalom style, or with the palm on top. Its creators, Black + Blum, claim that the mashing plate is designed to push the mashed potato "away from the stem to help it mash faster and almost clean itself." $16 in red, green, or black at Charles & Marie.
Cassoulet and Conversation
Savoy (70 Prince Street) is kicking off its 5th Annual Cassoulet Festival with a lecture and discussion on "The History and Romance of Cassoulet," led by The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik. As you dine on cassoulet, Gopnik will explore the history behind the dish, regional variations, and its seemingly everlasting appeal. The kickoff event will take place on Wednesday, February 18th at 6:30 p.m. $85/person. Reservations: 212.219.8570.
An interview with Mark Crumpacker, the Chief Marketing Officer of burrito chain Chipotle, reveals some surprising findings about its customers' food choices.
While Chipotle has sought to identify its brand closely with a commitment to using ingredients like Niman Ranch meats that are naturally-raised (the chain's motto, after all, is "food with integrity"), a recent "ethnography study" by Chipotle of its customers found that its emphasis on quality foods was not a major factor for its customers.
"We found that people are coming to Chipotle because they love the food, which is great," Crumpacker told Brandweek. "But we found that they are not using the fact that we spend a lot of time and effort on making all of our food as sustainably and naturally-raised as possible. We all assumed that that was a big driving factor. Even people who were coming to Chipotle for a long time, they appreciate it, but it’s not the reason they are coming in. They just love the way the food tastes. That was a little bit of a surprise to us."
You have to wonder about the impact of any messaging about organic/natural/sustainable ingredients on consumer food choices when such strong, mass-marketed branding like Chipotle's is found to have such little influence. At least when it comes to burritos.
These beautiful hand-turned French rolling pins are made in Nashville, not Nîmes, by artist and woodworker Jackie Johnson. They are available in solid cherry or maple in 13" ($16) and 19" lengths ($24) at Johnson's WoodElements Etsy Shop.
Bravo has announced the panel of judges for its upcoming "Top Chef" spinoff, "Top Chef Masters."
Saveur editor James Oseland (above right), former New York magazine restaurant critic Gael Greene (center), and British food critic Jay Rayner (left) will serve as the judges. Kelly Choi, of of NYC TV's restaurant show "Eat Out NY," will be the host.
The reality series will feature a competition between 24 established chefs for the title of "Top Chef Master" and a prize for the charity of their choosing.Read More >
Test Your Tongue
The New York Academy of Sciences (250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor) presents the latest installment of its five senses series, "Test Your Tongue! The Science of Taste." The event will be hosted by University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste director Linda Bartoshuk and food science writer Harold McGee. Guests will have the opportunity to explore how their taste buds work through the sampling of artichokes, fruit strips, and miracle fruit, which makes sour foods taste sweet. Test Your Tongue will take place on Thursday, February 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. $25/person.
How many ways can you re-engineer a towel?
From the minds behind the somewhat Elmo-esque Grab&Dry dish drying gloves comes the Zip&Dry, which mashes up an apron and a terry cloth dishtowel. Instead of wiping your hands all over your apron, the idea is to use the removable towel, which can be zipped off and washed separately. Available in blue, gray, and green (with contrasting towel) for $39.95 at Just Perfect.
Coffee: Tasting and History
Francine Segan's "World of Tasting" series will be exploring the history of coffee. Discover how it was eaten in ancient Africa, learn to brew the perfect cup, and sample several different types of roasts. The event will take place at the 92nd Street Y (Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street) on Wednesday, February 4th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tickets: $40/person.
The New York Times Home section reports on Orla Kiely for Target, a new collection of limited edition home decor products by the high-end designer. Kitchen and tabletop items festooned with bold, retro patterns include pitchers, cannisters, tumblers, mugs (pictured above) along with melamine bowls, dishes, and other serving pieces. The line will be introduced in Target stores in early February.