After years of having to kowtow to the marvels of French cooking, American cuisine is finally getting its place in the sun. Last month, renowned chef Raymond Blanc hosted a week-long "American food revolution" in Britain to showcase the talent of New World chefs. FoodFit Executive Chef Bonnie Moore was there and shares her experience.
"Blanc contends that the world looks to America for inspiration in the culinary world for the first time ever and set out to prove it with this gathering," explains Moore. "He brought everyone together. There are few people who could have done that. It felt like the United Nations in the kitchen!"
The American food fest took place at Blanc's acclaimed country house hotel and restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat' Seasons in Great Milton, Oxford. Moore traveled there with Patrick O'Connell, chef/owner of the five-star The Inn at Little Washington. Three other chefs from FoodFit's Chef's Network were there tooAlice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Gale Gand, pastry chef at Tru in Chicago and Charlie Trotter of the namesake restaurant Charlie Trotter's in Chicago.
Chefs Daniel Boulud, Wylie Defresne, Thomas Keller, Nobu Matsuhisa and Charlie Palmer rounded out the star-studded list.
What was it like having nine of the finest chefs in America in the same kitchen? Moore says the gourmets all got along "great" and there was a mood of camaraderie.
"They helped each other out," she says. "Everyone was in the same boat because everyone was missing food."
The chefs had sent ingredients for their meals in containers to England ahead of the event, but most of the food was confiscated in British customs. Moore said fortunately host Blanc had a fabulous organic garden so they were able to recoup most of what was lost.
In other cases, extraordinary measures were taken.
"Creative" Food Transportation
An employee at the Inn at Little Washington hurriedly flew to Britain with two large country hams in his bag, a key ingredient for Chef O'Connell's Shavings of Country Ham, with Parmesan, Pears and Pine Nuts.
The goodwill stretched across the continent. Thomas Keller of the celebrated French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley, California, brought soft shell crabs in his suitcase for Daniel Boulud, owner/chef of three famed restaurants in New York City.
Their culinary efforts were rewarded with accolades.
"I think all the American chefs really caught the attention of their European counterparts and the press," says Moore.
On top of it all, Moore says she lost weight despite the lavish lunches and dinners. "I think it was because none of the food was processed, the portions were small, and we always sat down to eat and enjoy ourselves."
Sounds just like the philosophy of the FoodFit Diet & Fitness Plan, which is built on portion control and low-fat recipes full of seasonal fruits and vegetables and whole grains created by Chef Moore herself.