Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Nigella Lawson

President Obama teaches Bobby Flay a thing or two about grilling

Michelle Obama and Iron Chef team

We knew President Obama was a foodie, who at one point in his life even reviewed restaurants.

But who knew the prez has mad grilling skilz?

Chef Bobby Flay was speaking to the news media recently about Sunday night's special two-hour episode of "Iron Chef America," which goes to the White House for the first time. First Lady Michelle Obama will issue the challenge: Competitors are invited to pluck whatever they like from America's most famous garden and prepare five dishes that epitomize the ultimate American meal. Back in Kitchen Stadium, Flay and White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford will go up against Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse. Judges include celebuchef Nigella Lawson, actress Jane Seymour and Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin. (Read more about Sunday night's show here.) 

During the media call, Flay noted that he had been to the White House before, invited to take part in an Obama initiative to mentor young men. While there, he struck up a conversation with the White House pastry chef who revealed that President Obama is quite at home in the kitchen and "can talk about banana cream pie for a really long time." At one point during the cookout portion of the mentoring event, Flay found himself -- where else? -- manning the barbecue. And out of the corner of his eye he saw the president walking toward him.

What was Flay thinking? "OK, here is the leader of the free world about to grab a pair of tongs with me. What am I supposed to do?"

As an icebreaker, Flay told Obama that he'd heard through the grapevine that the president was quite knowledgeable about food and cooking. The president struck a modest reply, "'Oh, no, I don't know much about it, but I'm interested,'" Flay recalled.

A moment later, Flay started to offer the president some gentle suggestions about what to do next at the barbecue. The president, Flay recalled, told him he needn't bother: "Hey, I know what I'm doing."

-- Rene Lynch

Photo: Check out chef Mario Batali's orange Crocs. Do you think he and Michelle Obama coordinated colors? From left, chefs Bobby Flay and Cristeta Comerford, "Iron Chef America" MC Alton Brown, the first lady, Batali and chef Emeril Lagasse. Credit: Food Network

Rolling Stone the restaurant coming to L.A. in 2010

Rolling Rolling Stone is about to take a leap into the entertainment industry, starting with a large-scale restaurant and nightclub in Hollywood.

Owners of the venerable magazine hope to leverage its status as a preeminent chronicler of the rock music world and pop culture into a new business built on food and drinks. The first Rolling Stone outpost is set to open next summer at Hollywood & Highland Center.

"We've been looking for the ideal opportunity to expand the Rolling Stone brand," co-founder and Editor Jann S. Wenner said.

Running a high-profile entertainment-themed restaurant chain has proved perilous for others, however. Competitors such as Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe have taken embarrassing financial thrashings in the past, though both continue to operate.

Hard Rock, in fact, plans to open a large restaurant and bar of its own at Hollywood & Highland in May. Rolling Stone's joint will be smaller but fancier and, well, hipper, its creators insist. Read more here.

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: Real estate developer Joe Altounian, left, and Niall Donnelly, partner of the magazine, are getting the new Rolling Stone restaurant off the ground. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times 

Sampler Platter: Make a bacon lamp, meet the White House Crustmaster, testing Campbell's Soup's noodles claim


The Crustmaster uses pies to lure Michelle Obama to the dark side. The original recipe for Worcestershire sauce is discovered (we assume it's the British equivalent of the original top-secret formula for Coca-Cola, but without cocaine). And the most practical how-to ever: making your own bacon lamp.
--Meet White House pastry chef Bill Yosses, a.k.a. the Crustmaster. CBS4 Denver
--Restaurant groups unhappy about health-care bill. Nation's Restaurant News
--"Emeril Live" may return to TV -- but not on the Food Network. ABC Action News
--The 10 most beloved and unhealthy gaming snacks. Topless Robot
--100 things restaurant staffers should never do: Part 1 and Part 2. New York Times
--Campbell's claims every can of chicken noodle soup has 32 feet of noodles. KING5
--Who would Jacques Pepin most like to cook naked with? Nigella Lawson. Gastrobuzz
--Original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce recipe found. Daily Mail
--How to make a bacon lamp. Oddity Central
--Diners plan to spend 20% less on restaurant meals. Bloomberg
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Jacques Pepin's dream date, Nigella Lawson. Credit: Tina Fineberg / For The Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.