JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLA. (PRWEB) – Our fascination with food was confirmed on April 19, 1993 when Americans were introduced to the Food Network. Along with increased numbers of celebrity chefs and food-oriented reality television shows, there’s been an ever-growing demand for cookbooks and culinary storytelling.
In his latest book, My Life in Gluttony: A Culinary Adventure, Jeffrey Spear confesses “Living to eat is no longer an admission of gluttony or a problem with self-control. It has, in fact, become a badge of honor.” With this in mind, Spear gives readers a glimpse into his lifetime of culinary obsessions sparked by a willingness to eat just about anything and a job that takes him to some remarkable destinations around the world.
While his adventures in Malawi, Georgia, and Guyana are a bit off the beaten path, Spear also includes culinary encounters right here in the U.S. Readers will find Spear’s obsession with hot dogs in New York and flourless chocolate cake in Washington DC as compelling and engaging as his discovery of char-grilled mouse in Malawi and bunny chow in South Africa.
Over 306 pages, starting from his childhood home in Maryland to exotic destinations around the world including Ghana, Lebanon, Serbia, Hawaii, Paris, Russia, Montenegro, Buenos Aires, and Malawi (grilled mouse is a roadside treat), Spear describes the foods that made indelible impressions along the way. Including 96 crowd-pleasing and easy-to-follow recipes, from the familiar to the esoteric, this book is a gastronomic delight.
My Life in Gluttony is available nationwide on Amazon.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeffrey Spear is an accomplished visual artist, graphic designer, cookbook author, food stylist, television personality, journalist, and cook. He is also a globally recognized food marketing consultant working with growers, manufacturers, chefs, and restaurateurs on every continent except Antarctica; helping them develop and introduce a wide variety of ingredients and brands to buyers around the world. Along the way, he also writes about food for a variety of trade and consumer magazines and online publications.
It goes without saying that Spear is exceptionally well travelled. He has enjoyed countless exotic and intriguing culinary encounters, most recently in Palestine, Malawi and the country of Georgia. He derives his greatest pleasures from everything and anything associated with food. Whether he’s eating, writing, or talking about it, wandering the aisles in a grocery stores, or preparing lavish dinner parties, food is his idea of a really good time.
My Life in Gluttony – A Culinary Adventure is his third and most ambitious cookbook preceded by The First Coast Heritage Cookbook and Yum! Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats.
When not engaged with food, Jeffrey can be found relaxing on the sand, reading a good book, swimming in the surf, watching the passing wildlife, and enjoying the sun in his hometown of Jacksonville Beach.
Downtown Los Angeles, CA – For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino, Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship transcends to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially welcomes Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro as New Managing Partner!
Originally from Sicily, both Piero and Celestino met over forty years ago in Los Angeles when Celestino first came to the states. Piero opened the renowned Valentino, the flagship restaurant in his Valentino Restaurant Group in Santa Monica in 1972. Valentino was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian restaurants in the U.S. and credited with introducing Angelenos to true Italian food, fresh ingredients and new products. Also, introducing a new wave of Italian Chefs that in time built world-wide reputations on the their own. Piero went on to build a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire garnering numerous James Beard Foundation awards for its wine list and service, along with critical acclaim for its food, wine, and service by top national publications including Wine Spectator, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, local Los Angeles press. with more along the way. In 2018, after forty-five plus years, he decided to retire and close Valentino to look for new challenges. Piero met again with Celestino and started considering Drago Centro as the perfect venue for a new chapter.
Celestino has also created a restaurant empire of his own featuring IL Pastaio, Celestino Ristorante, Drago Bakery, Drago Ristorante, Drago Catering & Special Events, and for the past eleven years, Drago Centro has been Downtown L.A.’s premier dining destination for fans of an authentic Italian experience with a modern and innovative edge. “When I first arrived in Los Angeles there was nothing else like Valentino in Santa Monica (and Rex Il Ristorante in Downtown L.A.), and I always looked up to Piero as a mentor,” says Celestino. “Piero helped me out with many of my early ventures and being that we are both from Sicily, we have always had a special respect for one another.”
Over the years Piero and Celestino have remained very close and have done many events together. Both men have also dedicated their legacies to promoting modern Italian cooking with fine ingredients, so it is no surprise that these to celebrated restaurateurs would finally come together. Says Celestino, “When Piero decided to retire, we just kept talking. You can never really retire from this business, so the conversation just kept going.” And, the timing could not be more serendipitous as Celestino just Reopened Drago Centro while introducing a stunning New Outdoor Dining Patio, New Summer Menu, Takeout, Delivery, Curbside Pickup, and now the exciting celebratory new partnership between Chef Celestino Drago and the maestro himself, Piero Selvaggio!
These two new partners are today’s most exclusive package. Says Piero, “I am very excited to bring Drago Centro to the next level in time. Celestino and I understand each other completely and we are focusing on the future of dining in Los Angeles. I feel the stamina of this new project and I am excited for all of the new things we are going to do together now and in the future.”
As Angelenos are able to take advantage of L.A.’s great summer weather, Piero and Celestino have created a magical al fresco dining experience featuring a New Summer Menu on their New Outdoor Dining Patio. The tables for dining are spaciously and safely placed all throughout this stunning outdoor atrium surrounded by luscious greenery, verdant olive trees, and a resplendently calming water feature, where the pair await to take each guest on an extraordinary journey as they sip and savor under the stars.
Both Piero and Celestino know all too well that a memorable dining experience must be perfectly paired, so guests can expect great wine experiences featuring Drago Centro’s award-winning Wine List, and much more. “I am very excited to welcome Piero to Drago Centro. He is a longtime friend and we are going to have fun together,” states Celestino.
Drago Centro will be open for Outdoor Patio Dining, Takeout, Delivery, and Curbside Pickup every Monday through Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.DragoCentro.com or call Drago Centro directly at 213.228.8998.
525 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Seems to be that everyone in my ‘hood is searching for patio dining. Pretty great that locals want to support local businesses, considering it’s blazing hot outside. There are existing patio spaces that have expanded, new “pop ups” that have added fencing, wood flooring or AstroTurf, potted plants, misters, barricades, umbrellas, lighting and other décor. A pretty amazing feat considering that these restaurants are nowhere near full capacity – pre-covid standards – and are pretty much forced to invest in infrastructure that may only be needed for a few more weeks to quite a few more months. It’s not like any of us have lived through a pandemic before to know exactly how long this will last. (And if to-go or delivery is your preference, that’s great, just keep it up!)
So, as your yet-to-be-announced unofficial Beverage and Food Ambassador of the Santa Clarita Valley, I’ve been watching over this trend. There are quite a few restaurants I have dined at myself, but I wanted to get as many listed in one place to help locals out. So you know what I did. I asked this on Facebook:
Looking for patio dining options? Please comment on a positive experience you had outdoors at Piccola Trattoria, Salt Creek Grille, Olive Terrace, The Social, Old Town Junction, Newhall Press Room, Marstons, Slaters 50/50, El Trocadero, Dario’s Newhall, Saddle Ranch, Don Cuco, The Local Pub and Grill, Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewery, Casa Canela, Cheesecake Factory, Bricks Newhall, Smokehouse on Main, Nealie’s Skillet, The Way Station and Egg Plantation (the last three for breakfast and lunch only) and any other SCV outdoor dining you have discovered. Hopefully your experience will drive some much needed traffic to our favorite local restaurants!
Renee K: Add the Backyard Grub and Brews! That Nashville Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Donuts are the bomb!
Larry M: Old Town Newhall has the market cornered on outdoor dining. Had a lovely sidewalk dinner at The Old Town Junction. Then, dinner on the back patio at El Trocadero Mesquite Grill & Cantina, though they have a front patio as well, and they have the best hard shell tacos I have ever had.
Candice M: Olive Terrace outdoor seating arrangement is my favorite in town!
Michael G: Don’t forget Wolf Creek, CPK, Sabor, Lucille’s, Lazy Dog, Lucille’s, Catch 21, Wokcano and Tokai Sushi. So many options! Specifically, Wolf Creek Restaurant (on McBean) is always spot on. Plenty of room and safe distancing, staff all wear masks and face shields, busser and serve handle specific tasks. Tokai Sushi (in the same center with Catch 21 and Olive Terrace) has new owners, and take the same precautions. All the soy sauce is single use, there is plenty of open air space outside.
Michele G: The Backyard Grub N Brews had really good food and a great patio. They also have a fabulous brunch on the weekends with bottomless Mimosas.
Dawn A: A wonderful location for a great evening…The Social.
Michael P: Marstons has always been our favorite patio hang out in the SCV. Nothing like relaxing on their patio with a bottle of wine and their delicious food. Great servers too.
Meredith M: We had a magnificent meal last Friday night at the Old Town Junction. Reservations are highly recommended. New menu, exceptional service and a great wine list!
Lorenzo B: Olive Terrace is the bomb!
Laina M: While following all health code guidelines, we have full service available outside! But don’t sweat… We also have shade from a roll down screen and umbrellas, full roof covering, mister fans, and plenty of beer to quench your thirst! Visit for lunch now or Reserve for dinner until 8pm.
Laura R: The Newhall Press Room has been open all week long for outdoor dining including the new extended patio!
Meredith A: Went to Dario’s in Canyon Country last night. They have a front and back patio. It was great to eat outside and enjoy their food!
Jeanie C: We had a lovely time last night at The Social! The weather was beautiful and the new outdoor dining was just right, as was our dinner and Martinis!
Kerri E: For patio dining, Wolf Creek and Olive Terrace so far. Looking forward to trying as many others as we can…
From me: The first night that the restaurants pushed into Main Street in Newhall, five minutes from home, I enjoyed patio dining at both Newhall Press Room (cute wine barrels as fencing and cooling AstroTurf) and The Old Town Junction (a bit bigger space but just as nice). We love El Trocadero’s two patios, front and rear, too. Since then I’ve made a GIANT mental note to visit The Social as their space – see photo – is very welcoming and also to return to Olive Terrace where the sidewalk seating now stretches around a huge fountain. We’ve been to the existing patios at Slaters 50/50 three times and Salt Creek Grille’s new HUGE three-patio area. Will be hitting up Nealie’s Skillet, Wolf Creek Restaurant, The Local, Bricks, Dario’s, Way Station and Egg Plantation too!
On more thing from me: alfresco dining is the one change I hope we keep post-Covid. We love our trips to Europe and spending hours in outdoor cafes, with our wicker seats lined up, side by side, facing the street for people watching. I want that. Somebody make that happen!
Please note that what may be listed here now could be open for dine-in or completely shuttered when you visit – so call first. Looks like reservations are the way to go as all only have the outdoor socially-distanced spaces available.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
I was at one of my regular Happy Hour haunts, The Social in Newhall, when I noticed that the bar was completely packed at 5pm, much like it is at Olive Terrace Bar and Grill and Salt Creek Grille when we venture over to the other side of the valley and Le Chene when we want to go even further.
And then I noticed that the people that were packing these bars weren’t 20 somethings…not even 30 somethings…they were people that have “cultivated” their palates for a couple of decades longer than that.
There are lots of great Happy Hours all over Awesometown and we used to do a round-up of their menus annually just to share what they offer. (The last one is our 2016 version you can read here.) The four that I mentioned just happen to be the ones we have been going to of late…at least the past 10 years or so.
So why do we prefer these bars over others? They aren’t particularly loud or noisy, have comfortable seating and, as drinking at 5pm is a precursor to dining at 6 or 7, it seems to work for our seasoned age group.
Of the Happy Hours we go to – the ones that specifically were full very early in the evening – they also offer small bites for free or nominal prices, and some larger plates culled from the main menu. The libations extend from beer and wine to excellently crafted cocktails; one even doesn’t offer any kind of price deal on the drinks at all, just a Happy Hour menu of food. (And that one just happens to be our favorite. Why? Well we can walk there – we’ve said this many times, and yet we never actually have walked there! It’s the neighborhood bar and we often run into people we know. The owner gives us a welcome hug, maybe a peck on the cheek, and we know some of the servers and bartenders. Maybe at a certain age we just like to feel welcome…)
So, as we dined on dishes from appetizers to pastas we noticed how nice it is to dine early, have a well-made cocktail, linger a bit, then go home and…be asleep by 9pm. (And well on our way before the young’uns took over the bars.) However many younger people do go out to Happy Hour – when we were younger these were places with deep discounts, we could get a little rowdy with pals and we would end up staying for dinner as well. (Many were/are family friendly – we weren’t really hip on the idea of bringing our daughter to a bar or winery, but to each his own.) Back in the day that meant the party was to be found at places like TGI Fridays and El Torito. (The latter, if you stayed long enough even offered dancing in the bar. Anyone else remember the Discos of SCV? LOL.)
I feel like the next step for us will be the early bird dinners at iHop, and no cocktail at all…? I hope not. I do know that older friends of mine have pulled back from wine club memberships – at least from wines that are meant to sit in our cellars for 10 years or more – because my pals in their 70s are buying more splits (half bottles), trying to drink through what they already do have and/or are looking for wine brokers to sell their wines to. They do go out…or at least join us for wine on the porch sometimes!
Life is an every changing highway. I’m hoping by the time we start dining at 4pm we’ll be in a place like Atria assisted living, where my mother has happily camped for nearly a year now, and be having cocktails by 2pm and up to two glasses of wine with dinner…now that doesn’t sound too bad does it?
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
NEW YORK (PRWEB) – New York Wine Events is pleased to announce a new take on its popular Day Trip to Wine Country tours, offered Thursdays through Sundays from July 6 to November 15, 2020. The all-new Private Day Trip to Wine Country program offers private groups of 2-12 guests a safe, custom VIP tour experience all their own. All day trips provide private transportation with recommended health precautions in place as well as a completely private experience at the selected wineries. Customizing their day, guests get to select two featured wineries of their choice for tours to Long Island Wine Country or the Hudson Valley, plus have the option to include lunch. Additionally, all roundtrip transportation aboard luxury vans originates and returns to one location of the party’s choice, anywhere in midtown Manhattan from 23rd to 59th Streets. Guests also select their departure time. Arrival back in Manhattan is approximately 9 hours later.
Guided by knowledgeable wine connoisseurs adhering to social distancing practices and wearing masks, the private tours visit two award-winning wineries per excursion, sampling 4-5 selections at each. Spending an enjoyable 90 minutes at each winery, guests are hosted by winemakers and key vineyard personnel and gain first-hand insights into how the wine was made during friendly, informative chats and tastings with ample opportunity to ask questions.
Wineries included in this season’s Long Island tours include Jamesport Vineyards, Lenz Winery, Pellegrini Vineyards, Pindar Vineyards, and Sannino Vineyards. Hudson Valley wine tours include Benmarl Winery, Nostrano Vineyards, Robibero Winery, and Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery. An optional lunch (available for purchase at time of booking online) offers finger sandwiches including grilled local vegetables with a balsamic reduction on a baguette; fresh mozzarella with tomatoes, basil, and house-made pesto on semolina, and/or grilled antibiotic-free chicken with local romaine and house-made honey mustard on a rosemary roll.
“We understand that typically outgoing New Yorkers are in need of something fun to do after being homebound for so long. New York Wine Events created Private Day Trip to Wine Country tours to meet this need, with a fully private, safety-conscious VIP experience offering a relaxing, educational day amidst the vines, tasting the best regional wines,” explains New York Wine Event founder Sam Kimball, curator of the personalized tour series. “What better way to get out in the open, taking in stunning scenery and enjoying some of New York State’s finest wineries in a private group setting, just a short trip from Manhattan.”
All tours include a local farm stand stop where freshly baked pies, fresh produce, and other treats are available for purchase. Additionally, the wineries will be offering bottles for purchase, discount packs, and wine club memberships so guests can continue to enjoy their favorite wines at home.
Tours take place rain or shine. Guests can savor their VIP experience in comfort, in a private area designated for the group, safely distanced from other patrons. All guests must be 21 or older, no exceptions.
Private Day Trip to Wine Country bookings are available now, ranging $149-$249 per person, depending on the number of people in the private party. Check web site for special weekday discounts. Accommodations can also be made for larger groups of 13 or more; inquiries welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. All tours must be booked at least 48 hours in advance.
For complete details and to book a one-of-a-kind Private Day Trip to Wine Country, visit NewYorkWineEvents.com.
About New York Wine Events
New York Wine Events cultivates memories that last a lifetime through the unifying art of food and drink. We believe in the magic of treating yourself to the luxury and leisure you deserve, and we strive to provide you with valuable information and education, so you can discover your new favorite wine, craft food or beverage. Whether it’s at one of our virtual wine tastings, wine fests, on a private day trip to wine country, while browsing other area food and drink events, or reading our in-depth articles online about the area food and drink scene, however you indulge — be it through adventure, celebration, or curiosity — we’re here to make it easy, affordable, and most importantly, fun. Learn more at: NewYorkWineEvents.com.
- Full-service event catering with On-site Covid-19 Safe Staffing available.
- Meals options that are individually packaged or in disposable tins.
- Hand sanitizers at every food & beverage stations and when appropriate, modifying buffets to reduce communal access, and transitioning to individual servings where possible.
- In addition to our daily cleaning procedures in our facilities, we’ve dedicated resources to make our routines even more rigorous, and we’ve added hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes to all communal areas and workstations.
NEW YORK (PRWEB) – Now more than ever, we are reminded of the essential role that the food and beverage industry plays in our everyday lives and the value of shared experiences around a table. In keeping with its mission to nurture chefs and other leaders contributing to American food culture, the James Beard Foundation announced its 2020-2021 Scholarship Program application period for aspiring and established culinary professionals.
As of 2019, the Foundation had awarded nearly $8 million in financial aid to over 2,000 recipients and will award nearly $650,000 in 2020.
While eligibility requirements vary by opportunity, in general, applicants must be enrolled or planning to enroll in a culinary program at a licensed or accredited culinary school, hospitality institution, college, or university in fall 2020. International students may qualify for many of the scholarships and are encouraged to apply.
“Since the inception of our scholarship program in 1991, the range of food-related disciplines and educational opportunities has expanded greatly,” said Clare Reichenbach, chief executive officer of the James Beard Foundation. “With a number of scholarships, tuition waivers, and grants available this year, we are proud to support the ever-increasing interests of the next generation of culinary leaders.”
In response to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation also recently established the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fundto provide critical financial assistance in the form of micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need.
The scholarship program is administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS), an independent company that specializes in managing sponsored educational assistance programs. ISTS hosts the online application process, selects recipients and disburses awards. For more information about the program and to begin the application process, visit jamesbeard.org/scholarships. The deadline to apply is June 11, 2020.
About The James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation promotes good food for good™. For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives. Through the James Beard Awards, unique dining experiences at the James Beard House and around the country, scholarships, hands-on learning, and a variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in our community, the Foundation has built a platform for chefs and asserted the power of gastronomy to drive behavior, culture, and policy change around food. To that end, the Foundation has also created signature impact-oriented initiatives that include our Women’s Leadership Programs aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in the culinary industry; advocacy training through our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change; and the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards that shine a spotlight on successful change makers. The organization is committed to giving chefs and their colleagues a voice and the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone. For more information, subscribe to the digital newsletter Beard Bites and follow @beardfoundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The James Beard Foundation is a national not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in New York City.
Popular Newhall Restaurants, Specialty Food Shops, Bars and Winery Tasting Rooms Join Together For One Day
With First-Ever Drive-Through Experience
Rising to the challenge that the current pandemic has placed us all in, and the need to supply food and beverages in a whole new way, several businesses in downtown Newhall have joined forces to share their best offerings, on one day, via “drive-through” pickups. The event is set for Saturday, June 6 from 4 to 7 pm. At press time the food and beverage-based businesses joining the event include Newhall Refinery, Old Town Junction, Eighth and Rail, Double Trouble Wine Room, Newhall Press Room, El Trocadero Mesquite Grill and Cantina, Pulchella Winery and Tasting Room, Rocket Fizz SCV, Brewery Draconum and the Old Town Newhall Farmers’ Market.
“This idea is new for us in Santa Clarita,” said event creator Eve Bushman, “But I’ve seen this in some wine areas since I had the idea, and wanted to be the first to offer this newsworthy experience here at home where we could all ‘travel’ locally to enjoy.”
Drive-through guests can start at either end of Main Street, pick and choose which business to drive up to purchase their items, all will have signage and tables set up outside of their establishments, no advance ticket or fee is required to attend. Some of the purchasing can be done online ahead of time – see the Facebook page posts for each business before the event for their advertising – and live at the event from their car.
Simon Mee, owner of Newhall Refinery commented, “We normally have big events down here, like Senses on Main, that serve our community. When Eve approached us with the idea we thought it was worthwhile. It had been a long time since we’ve been able to come together and this just seemed to be a good fit.”
For more information contact Eve Bushman Eve@EveWine101.com