Creating the Magic Hour: Opening Cómodo

Creating the Magic Hour: Opening Cómodo

Every Thursday night for many months beginning in 2010, Felipe Donnelly and Tamy Rofe invited friends and strangers into their New York City Tribeca apartment for dinner. Each week, six people were offered seats at the long table in the couple’s small one-bedroom home. Donnelly created gourmet Latin-inspired dishes, while Rofe kept the wine glasses full and the guests laughing.

The couple began hosting the weekly dinner parties shortly after they got married, using them as a way to enliven their social lives and give Donnelly an outlet for his cooking ambitions. They also started a blog, called Thursdays at Worth Street, to keep track of recipes and the unique mix of people each dinner attracted.

After some time hosting the increasingly popular dinner parties for strangers in their apartment, the NYC Department of Health took notice and shut them down. Undaunted in their desire to follow their hearts into the world of professional cooking, Tamy and Felipe decided to open a restaurant in Greenwich Village. Opening Cómodo is a documentary short film that tells the story of creating Cómodo, their new little restaurant on MacDougal Street in the village.

Creating the Magic Hour: Opening Cómodo

Thursday at Worth Kitchen

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Parigot: The Royal Servant’s Epic Battle Against A Homeless Hobo

Parigot: The Royal Servant’s Epic Battle Against A Homeless Hobo

Parigot (The Course) is an action-packed, comical five-minute animated short film by created by Mehdi Alavi, Loic Bramoulle, Axel Digoix, Geoffrey Lerus, and Alexandre Wolfromm at the French animation school Georges Méliès. In the streets of a Paris that is starkly divided between outrageosly fashionable and wealthy aristocrats versus crowds of poverty-stricken homeless people, the film depicts the mortal struggle of two characters from those wildly different worlds. A handsome-looking royal servant is forced to engage in a city-wide battle against a filthy homeless man helped by a large flock of determined pigeons. The ultimate stake? A deliciously appetizing gourmet supper. Drawn by those whom they serve into a conflict that is no longer theirs, under the mirthful spectators’ eyes of a merciless metropolis, who will end up triumphant in this epic battle? The rich, the poor…or maybe neither?

Parigot: The Royal Servant’s Epic Battle Against A Homeless Hobo

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Coffee Time: Magical Cups of Coffee

Coffee Time: Magical Cups of Coffee

Coffee Time is an amazing, tasty two-minute stop-motion animated short film by Ching-Wen Wu (aka Wan-Tzu). Does the taste of every cup of coffee change, each one containing its own soul that’s extracted from how you’re feeling when you make it? That’s how animator Wan-tzu feels and more, it seems. This animation shows the construction of a single cup of coffee, a veritable magic show that contains a number of different journeys bringing unending imagination and surprises along the way. With a sip of coffee, you not only taste your own story, but also change your perspective of the world!

Coffee Time: Magical Cups of Coffee

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Here’s Another Helping of Delicious Western Spaghetti!

Here’s Another Helping of Delicious Western Spaghetti!

Western Spaghetti is a classic, a tasty short film, with animation by PES and Javan Ivey. The film won awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, the 2009 Annecy Animation Festival and was named #2 Viral Video of the Year by Time Magazine. Everyday objects become delicious ingredients as we learn how to cook spaghetti through stop-motion photography.  It’s funny how truly mouth watering this film is, you can almost smell the fabric!

Here’s Another Helping of Delicious Western Spaghetti!

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Krazy Cupcake Dayze: Everything from Epicurean Blather to Fancy Cupcake Explowgions

Krazy Cupcake Dayze: Epicurean Blather, Cake Waltzing and Cupcake Explowgions

Nowadays, writers have been talking about cupcake-lovers as a foodie-cult, about how some kind of cupcake-craze has swept across most parts of the nation. In The Atlantic, Corby Kummer has written that even in the too-too au courant New York City, cloyingly cute little cupcake shops may seem like they’re passé, but they still continue to thrive there. Moreover, new ones seem to be opening across the land by the month, even though they’re often disappointing and downright silly. Nevertheless, according to Corby Kummer, the craze is worth keeping, if only, like the opera audiences at La Scala, to keep applauding until the performers finally do better.

In keeping with these Crazy Cupcake Dayze, I’ve put together this little article composed of three takes showing different viewpoints about this “fairycake” fad: the first is about faux haute-cuisine blather; the next is a frivolous illustration of silly cupcake capers; and finally, the morbid voice of cupcake-doom, which visually pronounces that the cupcake “plague” is a downright horrible, stinking calamity. The three different takes on our krazy cupcake dayze are entitled, respectively: Frosting on the Cake; Silly Kultured Kupcakes: Doing a Ditzy Dancing Waltz Thingee; and Demise of The Very Fancy Cupcake Kids: Huge Explowgions!

In The Frosting on the Cupcake, Atlantic Magazine’s Corby Kummer holds forth at length on the cupcake craze and demonstrates how one should properly perform a gastronomically correct cupcake taste test. Silly Kultured Kupcakes: Doing a Ditzy Dancing Waltz Thingee is a stop-motion animation created by a fellow who ruined a batch of cupcakes. Rather than throwing them out, he made the dilapidated cupcakes repent by doing a bit of dancing (waltzing, to be specific). Now, most of us would sigh and just toss the ruined batch of forlorn cupcakes out, but these little cupcakes got a second chance, even if only just long enough to perform their schmaltzy-waltz for this short-animation. No doubt, someone out there is asking, “What’s next, krumping cupcakes?

The last piece is the voice of cupcake-doomsday, Demise of The Very Fancy Cupcake Kids: Huge Explowgions! Specifically, it’s the visually macabre account of a legend about how some fancy, luscious cupcake kids were living the carefree good life, famously enjoying their little tasty selves in what was left of a still dangerous part of earth, most of which already had been destroyed by years of awful war. But, according to legend, a big worrisome question still remained about these fancy little treats: Would they be able to survive? Or have cupcakes always just been too delicately fancy and sshhtuupid?

Epicurean Blather: The Frosting on the Cupcake

Silly Kultured Kupcakes: Doing a Ditzy Dancing Waltz Thingee

Demise of The Very Fancy Cupcake Kids: Huge Explowgions!

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Grant Achatz at the WIRED NextFest: On Making Customers Cry

Grant Achatz at the WIRED NextFest: On Making Customers Cry

The 2008 WIRED NextFest: Millennium Park, Chicago

WIRED NextFest is the premier showcase of the global innovations that are transforming our world. Presently in its fifth year, WIRED’s gallery of the future includes unique and bold exhibits of sustainable design, next generation healthcare, interactive art and games, humanoid robotics and more. WIRED NextFest serves up the experience of provocative, fun, and groundbreaking work of 21st century visionaries.

Grant Atchatz at NextFest: Emotionally Involved Cooking

Restaurateur and renowned chef Grant Achatz is out to change the way you eat. A meal at Chicago’s Alinea restaurant can consist of up to 27 courses, providing a unique dining experience that prompted Gourmet Magazine to name Alinea the Best Restaurant in America in 2006. This year, Achatz won The 2008 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Award.

A small group of innovative chefs are melding science and haute cuisine, a mashup that’s often called molecular gastronomy. Achatz is one of the chefs who has introduced new kinds of technology to cooking, but he is leery of getting lumped in with the molecular gastronomists. According to Achatz, too often the gastronomists aim primary to evoke a certain emotion, while flavor is secondary. However, for Achatz induced emotion and flavor are combined. Further, “The technology allows us to get to the essence of food,” Achatz says. “It allows you to be more true with flavor, not less true.”

At his cooking presentation at NextFest, Achatz demonstrated why he, and not just his food, is so special. He peppered a seemingly casual cooking demonstration and food tasting with stories about how he evolved his one-taste preparations onto specially-made, sculptural serving utensils that hold heat, cold and flavors just to the chef’s liking. Audience members were impressed by two things about Grant’s presentation. First, even though he is undeniably one of the most inventive chefs in the business, he is as unpretentious as they come.

The other thing that was striking about Grant’s cooking presentation was his story about an early version of a dish, which had him burning leaves throughout the evening in the restaurant. Customers actually cried at the familiar smells of childhood. By engaging all the senses, Grant delivers an unexpectedly emotional experience.

Achatz at NextFest: On Emotionally Involved Cooking

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Temperature: Physics and Food

Temperature: Physics and Food

Temperature: Hot Potato-Cold Potato

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