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The annual Capital Confectioners Cake Show will be held on Saturday, February 3rd and Sunday, February 4th, at the Travis County Exposition Center in Austin. The cake competition, free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday. Demonstrations will be performed (for a fee on Sunday) by master cake decorators, including Food Network Challenge Pastry Chefs Bronwen Weber and Norman Davis, as well as Food Network-featured cake artist Janette Pfertner.
New York
Akhtar Nawab, former chef of Craft Bar who was to open the forthcoming Allen & Delancey, has been hired as the Executive Chef of EU. He replaces Sara Ochs who has been acting as consulting chef, and who is now working at The Spotted Pig. Sous Chef Josh Miller will join Nawab behind the line, along with several members of his Craft Bar team. .

Restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow will close English Is Italian (led by Executive Chef Todd English) in March. The space will become Wild Salmon and feature the foods of the Pacific Northwest, including wild Copper River salmon.Charles Ramseyer, former chef of Ray's Boathouse in Seattle, will be the chef of the new kitchen.
Daniel Boulud will oversee the kitchen at The Inn LW12, Jeffrey Jah and Lyman Carter's gastro-pub opening month. The first floor will be informal, while the second floor Canoe Club will offer a fine-dining experience. Andy Bennett will be the executive chef.
Executive Chef and co-owner Wayne Nish has closed UES stalwart March for a makeover. The new, more casual Nish, will feature the chef's "fusion cuisine."
Chef Michael Psilakis, formerly of Dona, has also closed his original Greek restaurant Onera for renovations. He palns to transform it into the more casual Greek-themed Kefi.
Nicole Kaplan, former executive pastry chef of Eleven Madison Park, has taken over the pastry program at Del Posto.
NY Rising Star Pastry Chef Will Goldfarb of Room 4 Dessert is taking over the dessert program at fellow NY Rising Star Chef Zak Pelaccio's 5 Ninth.

Gray Kunz has announced his plans to open Grayz, a cocktail lounge and private event space in the former Aquavit location by September 2007.
January 22nd - New York Rising Star Chef 2006 Iacopo Falai is opening Caffe Falai, a casual restaurant featuring a menu of panini, antipasti, pastas and salads, along with customer favoirte fried mozzarella "in carrozza" with anchovy sauce. Chef Falai owns the restaurant with his fiancé Sophia, the restaurant's designer.
Tyson Wong Ophaso has stepped down as executive chef of Chinatown Brasserie. Joe Ng, the restaurant's dim sum chef, will now oversee the entire menu.
The original Toqueville space has been reinvented as 15 East, a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. Restaurateurs Marco Moreira and JoAnn Makovitzky have hired Masato Shimizu, formerly of Jewel Bako, as sushi chef who will oversee the 9-seat bar. The 45-seat dining room will feature Chef Moreira's contemporary Japanese menu.

Sumile has been rechristened Sumile Sushi. Rising Star New York 2005 Josh DeChellis has added a sushi bar and intimate 6-table lounge to his Japanese-infused Sumile. The sushi bar is in the hands of sushi chef Toshio Oguma of Shim and Hakata in New York and Tanaka and Ginza in Tokyo. Duchellis, chef-owner of Sumile and former chef of Jovia, features a menu of sophisticated flavors like yuzu and pickled mango as well as mixed maki rolls called "Chopped Tops" which include 6 to 8 slices of individual maki and a spicy kimchee rice roll.
Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia of davidburke & donatella has closed her highly acclaimed Greek restaurant Dona. The Eastside building in which Dona is housed is being sold to a developer. The search for a new space to re-open Dona is underway.
San Francisco
Thomas Keller's AD HOC, originally set up as a seasonal restaurant, will now be open year round in Yountville.
Restaurateur and designer Pat Kuleto is to open Waterbar and EPIC Roasthouse on the Embarcadero waterfront in the fall of 2007. These two restaurants are the first privately owned buildings to break ground on the San Francisco waterfront in almost 100 years.

Waterbar, on the south end of Rincon Park, will be under the leadership of Chef/Co-Owner Mark Franz of Farallon and former chef of Stars.

EPIC will be headed by Chef/Co-Owner Jan Birnbaum. Birnbaum is the former chef at Campton Place Restaurant and is also chef/co-owner of the Catahoula Restaurant in Calistoga.

Chef Jerry McGinnis, most recently of Supperclub, is behind the line at Pescheria, the new seafood restaurant from Joseph Manzar.
Rising Star Chef 2005 David Bazirgan has returned to Baraka as executive chef. He has put his outside projects on hold.
Sommelier Mark Bright has left Michael Mina to work with Ola Fendert at Oola as the wine director. Bright also consults at Lingba, Dosa, and Circa.

Chef/Restaurateur Susanna Foo has opened Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen, a contemporary dumpling house with sushi and Pan-Asian fare. She will also host cooking classes for the public.
snackbar has opened on Rittenhouse Square. Owner Jonathan Makar of Marigold Kitchen and partner/chef Jonathan McDonald have devised a menu of $13-and-under small plates and late-night snacks.
Chef-restaurateur Jose Garces will open his second restaurant, Tinto, in late winter. With 60 seats and a rustic décor evocative of an old wine cellar, Tinto will serve pintxos, bread-based tapas from Catalonia.
David Burke is scheduled to open David Burke Las Vegas in February at the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino with executive chef Troy N. Thompson, formerly of Jer-ne Restaurant + Bar. Chef Burke's first Vegas outpost will sit atop Mario Batali's forthcoming tri-level B&B Ristorante e Enoteca, his first in the region.

Tonino Donio and his brothers Paolo, Roberto and Luciano, Miami restaurateurs behind the restaurant Rosinella, have opened the Italian-influenced Gemma above their Lincoln Road space.
David Bouley, Executive Chef and Owner of Bouley, Danube and Bouley Bakery & Market in New York, has opened his first venture outside of Manhattan, david bouley Evolution, in The Ritz-Calrlton South Beach.The space, designed by architect Jacques Garcia, houses a77-seat main dining room, a 40-seat private dining room, a lounge, a rotunda, a sushi bar and a bar.
Chef Mike Rossi has left Napa Rose in Orange County and is now the Executive Chef at Ambrosia Restaurant in Santa Ana, California.
Benjamin Hargett will be taking over as the new executive chef of the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe upon his return form Spain where he has been traveling and working for two months.
Executive Chef Greg Darrah and Pastry Chef Brenda Manfredini are in the kitchen at the American-inflected Sage. Chef Darrah is the former chef of Spruce, while Chef Manfredini is lately of North Pond.
Chef Michael Torres, formerly of Viand, Brasserie Jo, has opened Adesso, an Italian restaurant.
Flauting the Chicago foie gras ban, Chefs Fred Ramos of Gioco, Kristine Subido of Wave, and Didier Durand of Cyrano's Bistrot have admitted to serving the gastronomic treat on New Year's Eve despite the ban which is currently being challenged in court.
Legendary Chicago restaurant owner and Chef Charlie Trotter has once again partnered with United Airlines. Customers flying in United First and United Business class on flights to Europe and on United's premium transcontinental flights can select cuisine specially created by the chef beginning early this summer. Rising Star LA 2006 Mohammad Islam, former Executive Chef at Chateau Marmont in California, will open Aigre Doux Restaurant and Bakery in the former Pili.Pili space in River North within the month. Congratulations, Mohammad!
Former Bin 36 staffers David Byers and Mark Amodeo have opened Fiddlehead Cafe in the space previously occupied by Square Kitchen. The contemporary American menu is paired with a wine list with 30 choices by the glass, half-glass, and flight, plus 350 by the bottle.

Chocolatiers Erika Panther and Jeremy Brutzkus have opened Coco Rouge in Wicker Park. While Panther and Brutzkus have been selling their truffles and bonbons to high-end specialty shops and hotels for years, this is their first retail venture.

Evanston's Trio has reopened as Quince in The Homestead Hotel without former Trio owner Henry Adaniya. Mark Hannon, who was most recently behind the line at Miami's Azul as Sous Chef, will serve as Quince's Executive Chef.
Vicky Medina, chef-owner behind Lakeview's Caliente, has opened a second location in Logan Square.

Bob Zrenner, formerly of X/O and Tournesol, will be the executive chef at Graze, a small plates spot located in River North. Rocco Laudizio, the man behind posh spots like Sound-bar and Y, did the restaurant's makeover. The menu will feature seasonally appropriate comfort fare with modern twists.
Chalkboard: This small, elegant North Center spot opened December 19 in the former Tournesol space.Chef-owner Gil Langlois, whose resume includes the well regarded Rushmore, lists 10 entrees per night on an oversized chalkboard. The wine list features personal tasting notes from the chef alongside each selection.
New Orleans
A post-Katrina Zagat Guide to New Orleans was released January 10th; it's the first "burgundy bible" survey of the region since the hurricane devastated the city and surrounding areas in August of 2005.

The 2007 Best of New Orleans Survey had 3,637 respondants who weighed in on 390 restaurants, 94 nightclubs and lounges, 29 tourist attractions and 18 hotels.

MidCity Cuisine has closed its doors after three and a half years. Founded by Shaun Doty (who has since opened an eponymous location in Inman Park), MidCity is credited with having brought fine dining to Midtown Atlanta. Citing parking problems and construction as reasons for the closure, the owners say that unnamed Midtown developers have been trying to lure them into opening MidCity (or something similar) in a new office, hotel, or condo project.
Peter Chang, a Szechuan chef who arrived in the United States in 2000 to cook for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, has opened Tasty China in Marietta. What the stripmall location lacks in decor the dishes make up for with flavor - at least according the quote on the back of Tasty China's menu which states that Chang is "a true JEDI of Szechuan style cooking."
Tom Catherall, owner of many Atlanta favorites including Noche, Prime, Twist and Shout, will open fine-dining Posh in the former Seeger's space. Posh will feature a weekly market-driven menu and serve lunch on Monday through Friday and dinner nightly. Catherall plans to personally man the stoves after 10 years of primarily overseeing his growing restaurant group.

Former servers Eric Newman and Sean Germainis have opened Solstice Cafe in the old Nayarit space in Grant Park. Their chef, Brian Scott, most recently of the now-defunct Roman Lily Café, is, like Newman and Germainis, a veteran of pastry-and-wine favorite Après Diem.
La Pata Negra -- The owners of Mendocino Grille and Sonoma Restaurant are at it again. They plan to open a Spanish "gastropub" in Spring 2007. The restaurant takes its name from the black-hoofed Iberico pig, prized in Spain for the rich quality of its meat. (Products from the pigs became available in the U.S. for the first time earlier this year, thanks in part to chef José Andrés.)

Proof -- Oenophiles (and fans of Rasika and Komi) will rejoice at seeing a familiar face -- Sebastian Zutant -- when attorney Mark Kuller's new restaurant opens in March. Fresh from months-long, work-study program in the California wine country, Sebastian returns to the DC area as Proof's wine director. Kuller has chosen chef Haidar Karoum of Asia Nora to head the kitchen. The design plans are in the capable hands of GrizForm Design. Look for a wall of 1,000 or so illuminated bottles and a 23-foot custom pewter bar.

Oyamel, the fave Jose Andres restaurant shut it's doors in Crystal City in 2006 to move across the river and reopen at its new, Penn Quarter location (formerly Andale) in early 2007. Look for more fab cuisine and a whole new look but not to worry the signature butterflies that soared overhead at Oyamel in Crystal City will be back, incorporated in a new shape and form.

Sushi-Ko - DC's first sushi bar opens a second location in the oh-so-chic Chevy Chase. Get ready for a very un-Sushi-Ko-like décor with three dining rooms that include 17-foot tall cathedral ceilings, a step down lounge with bar seating and a 14-seat half moon-shaped sushi bar.

"A Restaurant To Be Named Later" -- Ris Lacoste, formerly the driving culinary force behind 1789 Restaurant may not have been behind a stove for much of 2006, but is certainly planning to be serving her signature cuisine again sometime in 2007, somewhere in the West End.

Beck's -- Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel's) will open his contemporary brasserie in a new office building. Look for an early 2007 debut offering new takes on French and Flemish comfort classics, like moules frites, along with a raw bar and a potato station.

Gone, But Never Forgotten -- Red Sage, which opened with a splash in downtown Washington 15 years ago and even now feeds an average of 15,000 to 20,000 patrons (a month!) closed its doors December 22. According to Dan Mesches, a partner in the southwestern-themed restaurant, "Our landlord is committed to pricing us out of the same neighborhood we helped create." On the upside, Red Sage's 75-person staff is expected to be absorbed by the other establishments owned by Mesches' Star Restaurant Group (Zola and Spy City Cafe in Washington's Penn Quarter and Indigo Landing in Alexandria).
Aperto! Chefs Francesco Ricchi (Ricchi, and Cesco) and Enzo Febbraro (Filomena) have combined forces to open up D'Acqua, (Italian for "from the water,") in the Penn Quarter. This modern Italian seafood restaurant was inspired by their varied cooking styles: Northern (Ricchi) and Southern (Febbraro). The menu highlights fresh ingredients as the star of the plate, adhering to the chefs' belief that "simplicity is the highest form of sophistication."

Trading Places: Danny Boylen has landed at Indebleu as their new General Manager. He was previously around the corner at PS7's. And in a blink of the eye, sommelier Saeed Bennani, formerly of Mie N Yu, has found a new home at Indebleu as well.

Johnny Monis, owner and chef of foodie-fave Restaurant Komi has brought in a new face to head up the cellar: Adam Curling. Adam spent the last year and a half as Sommelier/Wine Director at The Inn at Little Washington.

Another new addition to Komi is Brooks Headley who is now in the kitchen as the Pastry Chef. Brooks has spent
the last three years at Campanile in Los Angeles and locally at Ristorante Tosca.
The re-opening of the Occidental Restaurant has brought in raves and now they have brought in Casper Gibson as the new pastry chef . Casper has worked at Galileo.

Occidental Chef Rodney Scruggs has also hired Troy Coan (formerly of Zola and Marcel`s) as his executive sous chef.
Could one of your resolutions this year be to get out and eat at some of the best restaurants in DC? Here is your chance: DC's Winter Restaurant Week is back. Restaurants both large and small are inviting diners to come in for great meals at great prices. Three-course lunches are fixed at $20.07 and three-course dinners are $30.07. For a list of all participating restaurants visit
Although LA has not yet banned trans-fats, Loews Hotels announced that all of their properties, including The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, will be trans fat-free by summer 2007, phasing out the use of shortening in French fries and cookies, and phasing in good fat-friendly chips and snacks in the mini-bars. Gregg Wangard, Executive Chef at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and LA Host Chef 2006 announces that by February the hotel's Ocean and Vine restaurant, which has both fine-dining and catering / roomservice kitchens, will be completely trans fat-free. Rising StarChef LA 2006 Ludovic Lefebvre will not return to the renowned West Hollywood restaurant Bastide when it reopens this spring under a new name. The French eatery has been closed since January 2006 for a total revamp.

Lefebvre has tenative plans to open his own casual fine-dining restaurant.

A former chef de cuisine of The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn, Drew Sayes, is the new chef de cuisine of Jer-Né restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. Sayes was most recently working as the sous chef of The Four Seasons, Chicago.

Dakota Weiss, who previously led the kitchens of Jer-Né, is the new chef at The Tower Bar and The Terrace in the Sunset Tower Hotel.
Executive Chef Eric Ernest, formerly of BOA Steakhouse, is behind the stoves of Restaurateur Tony Jone's eclectic French-influenced Royale in the former Wilshire Royale Hotel. The two-level restaurant and lounge showcases a fine-dining menu as well as The Original Royale Burger, a combination of freshly-ground Angus beef, short ribs and black truffled cheese.

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