James Beard Awards on Monday, we attempted to avoid the normal red carpet pablum (though sometimes we really did want to know who was wearing what), because it was a yellow carpet. (Why a yellow carpet, we asked? “It’s just to match the event logo,” a James Beard official laughed.)
Instead, we talked about the strange and wild world of culinary minutia with some of the world’s most renowned chefs and food personalities. It almost culminated in Jacques Pepin showing us his underwear, which means we were successful.
Hat tip to Humans of New York, for inspiring us to go beyond the normal press questioning gaggle.
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In the middle of our conversation, Batali casually leaned over and squeezed David Chang's butt. "Do you know Dave Chang?" Batali asked me, as if to make an introduction to someone I should very much get to know -- a guy so cool that he could get his butt squeezed in a public setting and be Totally Cool With It.
Chang threw an arm around him. "He's the best. People don't know how supportive he is of the industry. Maybe they do. But I just say that regardless.")
(Image credit: @PizzeriaMozza)
"First of all, I love how you're wearing a tie with tiny whisks and knives all over it."
"That's a Beard Award tie. I got it from the James Beard organization, but James Beard himself would also wear that tie."
"Is your vest also covered in berries?"
(He looks down in surprise) "I don't know. Would you like to see my underwear?"
"Whoa there! Save that for Twitter."
[Image credit: @alliek0630]
"One of the things we can do [on
The Chew] that no one else can do is see a side of a celebrity that no one else gets to see. Everybody eats! It's an interesting side that you don't get to see on any other show, and they're excited to show that passion. I mean, 2 Chainz! Who knew? That crab cake that he made? Soooooo freakin' good."
"So which random celebrity would you want to have on the show?"
"He's a celebrity in my heart: Eckhart Tolle. He's a spiritualist. I know! Imagine him coming into the space, and everyone feeling like, uplifted. His energy is so high. To me, that would be amazing."
[Image credit: @beardfoundation/Instagram]
"Good to see you again!"
"Good to see you too -- "
Ted Allen: "HEY, ANDREW!"
(They hug and grab selfies)
"Oh my god, how many selfies are you taking here tonight?"
"I'm taking a lot of selfies. But that's because there's a lot of my friends here. It's fun."
"How did the meeting between you and Eddie Huang come about?"
"Through Dave Choe."
"Yeah, he's one of my close friends and a peacebroker. All that stuff between us, it was just -- I don't even know what the hell that was. He's a good dude, and we decided to just have dinner."
"Dang. Sometimes I think that Dave Choe can just do freaking magic."
"...don't tell him that."
[Image credit: The James Beard Foundation]
"What is the next step for you, besides enjoying the fact that you've had a great career?"
"I have to pay for college for all my kids, so I'm opening a restaurant in Nashville in two or three weeks called ___. I'm doing a restaurant in Toronto with Ivan Reitman, the director of Ghostbusters."
"Okay. Wait, what?!"
"Yeah, I'm having fun".
"Wait, what kind of restaurant would you and the director of Ivan Reitman open?"
"I'm from Montecito and Toronto, and he's also from Toronto and Montecito, off the California Coast, but we live in New York. So we decided to do a California restaurant in Toronto."
[Image credit: Daniel Krieger via @chefjwaxman/Instagram]
Image via ] Tiffany Derry/Twitter