Sky Full of Bacon

In Next’s Kitchen • Mark and Liz Mendez on Vera’s 2nd Anniversary • Talking With Anthony Todd on Trotter, Michelin and More


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Shortly after the latest Next menu started in September, I talked my way into hanging out in the kitchen for four hours (it was really a struggle; I emailed Grant Achatz and he said sure), and produced three pieces for the Reader including this slideshow and a piece about the menu. But there was still more material and, more to the point, the audio I felt had its own interest, yet another way to experience this experience. So this episode starts with a visit to the kitchen at Next, and talking with chef de cuisine Dave Beran (right, above) about the menu inspired by the Bocuse d’Or competition. Here’s the cauliflower custard talked about in the piece:


For more pics, follow the slideshow link above.

Then I visit Liz and Mark Mendez at Vera:


Here’s a review of Vera, which topped my ten best list last year. Here’s one of the best things, sardines dressed simply with olive oil and a little citrus:

They mention two of their blog posts in the conversations: here’s Mark’s with righteous advice to a young cook who bailed on him, here’s Liz’s on their second anniversary.


Finally I talk with Anthony Todd about the whole restaurant scene since we last talked, back in episode #1. We talk about Charlie Trotter, focusing not on his death but on why he mattered…

…the return of giant restaurants and steakhouses, how the media scene looks five months after we bemoaned it in episode 1, and finally, the inevitable Michelin discussion/sort of forecast.