The Juicy BitsThe Juicy Bits

You've probably heard that "World's Best Restaurant" Noma is closing permanently, that celebrated Chinese chef and cookbook author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo has died, and that Ronzoni is discontinuing its pastina shape pasta. Ronzoni fans are devastated. Really? Just use the Barilla version. I am saddened by the former news: my uncle lived in the same town as Eileen and I learned a great deal from her teachings. As for Noma, chef-owner Rene Redzepi said it best: "It's unsustainable...we have to work in a different way." Fortunately, fine dining is alive and well at other restaurants, including the long list (450 strong!) of this year's James Beard Award semifinalists. The finalists will be announced in March and winners anointed in June. In other news, the FDA has finally gotten around to adding sesame to its list of major food allergens, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering regulating gas stoves. Don't worry: your kitchen stove isn't going anywhere. But you may want to open a window or turn on your range hood. Meanwhile, Edinburgh scientists are restoring the flavors of 19th century scotch with forgotten barley varieties (looking forward to those bottlings!), and US researchers have engineered a spoon that enhances our perception of sweetness in the absence of sugar. Maybe in the near future, a spoonful of sugar that's completely empty will taste just as sweet. Until then, can we at least get some clear labeling on store-bought chicken stock?

—Dave Joachim




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