Welcome to 100 Miles, an exploration of sustaining life by going no further away than 100 miles to gather the things we need to live. This web log is my journal of food-based experiences, memories, thoughts, and recipes. I hope you enjoy reading it. To subscribe, so as not to miss each new edition, please enter your email address.
Najat Kaanache is the Wonder Woman of stagiaires/chefs-in-training. To date she has ’staged’ in the kitchens of Grant Achatz (Alinea), Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se), René Redzepi (Noma), and will end her stagiaire stints at Feran Adrià’s elBulli. A stage is an unpaid internship, or culinary apprenticeship, very common in the kitchens of Europe. Kaanache, 32, has taken the concept around the world from Copenhagen to Chicago, to the Napa Valley, to New York and finally to Roses, Spain. Through her own indefatigable industriousness she has been away from her native Spain for two years. With the help of Facebook and Twitter she finds someone local willing to offer her a place to stay while she spends one to three months working in some of the best kitchens in the world. Her adventure began after she attended culinary school in Holland, and after working for a year as a line cook at Chef François Geurd’s Restaurant Ivy in Holland. Wanting more training she sent letters to fifty top chefs in the world requesting an apprenticeship. She received twenty-seven responses. Currently she is in the kitchen at Per Se in New York. Chef Thomas Keller insisted she spend a month there after she finished a three month turn at The French Laundry, his Napa Valley restaurant. Her next and final stop is back home in Spain where she will spend a year with Chef Feran Adrià at his famed elBulli restaurant which closes permanently in 2011.
Recently, between stints at the French Laundry and Per Se, Kaanache spent a week in Los Angeles as a guest of Jo Stougaard’s, writer of the popular food and restaurant blog, My Last Bite. A trip to the Wednesday, chef heavy, Santa Monica Farmers’ Market seemed like a natural outing. Chef Akasha Richmond (Akasha) offered to take her on a tour. This writer was lucky enough to tag along. It was a banner day for chef sightings and Kaanache met most of them. Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Mark Peel (Campanile, Tar Pit, The Point), Ludo Lefebvre (Ludo Bites), Walter Manzke, and even food blogger, Javier Cabral, (Teenage Glutster) all wandered through at one point or another. The Wednesday market is known as a place to see chefs grabbing items that will appear on menus later.
We tagged along as Chef Richmond shopped for a cooking demo/appearance she was doing at the market the next day. We looked, tasted and bought from such vendors as Wieser Farms, Harry’s Berries, and Tutti Frutti Farm. As expected from this market the produce was the star attraction and included spring berries, artichokes, asparagus, green garlic and even ramps — a type of leek more readily found on the East Coast. The outing ended with lunch at Border Grill, bags of top flight produce, and another chef and food experience for Chef-In-Training, Najat Kaanache to take with her back to Spain.
Follow Najat Kaanache – http://www.twitter com/morewhimsy
Follow Jo Stougaard – http://www.twitter.com/mylastbite
Please Join Us! Taste of the Nation ~ Sunday, June 6, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ~ Los Angeles chefs cook to benefit Share Our Strength and to end childhood hunger in America. Eat My Blog ~ Saturday, June 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ~ a food bloggers’ bake sale to raise money for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. We’ll be selling Robert’s (via David Lebovitz) famous Dulce de Leche Brownies (come early!)
Recommendation: ‘Cook To Bang: The Lay Cook’s Guide to Getting Laid’ by Spencer Walker. Based on the popular food blog ‘Cook To Bang’ where author, Spencer Walker explains how and what to cook for your date of the moment, this tongue-in-cheek book expands on that advice and adds more tips for getting your date, or significant other, into the mood and into bed. Hey, we can’t be all seriousness around here! A fun book, and a fun read.
Upcoming Posts: Interview with Chefs John Stewart & Duskie Estes, owners of Zazu & Bovolo restaurants in Sonoma County. Cochon 555 Napa, a write up of the amazing pork festival that I went to in Napa. Reviews: The Spirit Kitchen: Everyday Cooking with Organic Spices by Sara Engram and Katie Luber and Kimberly Toqe, Steak and Friends: At Home with Rick Tramonto by Rick Tramonto, Spice Dreams by Sara Engram and Katie Luber, Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly by Joan E. Aller.