• Move over, Bono, Madonna and Angelina Jolie. Chef Marcus Samuelsson has something to say about Africa. "The covers of the magazines show only war, AIDS and famine, which is not the Africa that I know," said the chef of New York restaurants Aquavit and Riingo, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents. Samuelsson recently collaborated with DJ Donna D'Cruz, an Aquavit regular, to put together an album entitled Afrikya Volume 1: A Musical Journey Through Africa (available at Amazon.com), featuring artists from a handful of African nations as well as Sweden, Switzerland and New York. "Africa doesn't have enough tools to show its beautiful side, its culture, its food, its music, the way France or America or Italy has, so I want to give people in the West real tools to get to know Africa," said Samuelsson. He's also recently written an African cookbook, The Soul of a New Cuisine, featuring a foreword by no less than Archbishop Desmond Tutu. When asked why he thinks Africa has become the center of so much recent celebrity attention, Samuelsson said, "I have no idea. I've been African all my life, and I'm still gonna be African when it's not hip anymore."
• Julia Roberts on reality TV? Well, sort of. Julia Roberts of Denver, Colo., a 48-year-old "master gardener"--not the Academy Award-winning actress you're thinking of--is one of the contestants on PBS' upcoming reality series The Wine Makers. Set to air in fall 2007, the show will capture 12 Average Joes competing for the opportunity to make and launch their own brand of wine. Think of it as The Apprentice for wine geeks, with challenges dreamt up by winemakers, enology instructors, investment bankers and marketing executives. The first episode takes place in San Jose and Paso Robles, Calif., but producers won't reveal much else. Based on the show's eclectic cast of characters, Unfiltered is counting on some delicious catfights. Those who caught our eye: Taylor Senatore, a New Yorker reportedly billing himself as "the antihero who doesn't want to get his hands dirty;" Lauren Tomasino, a wine store manager/belly-dancer; and the tattooed and pierced Eryn Supple, a buyer for a natural foods store. Since he doesn't want to get his hands dirty, our bet is Taylor's the first to get the gum boot.
|In nearly 30 years Chirac couldn't drink 5,000 bottles? And he calls himself French ....|
|New song, new Champagne. End of story? Doubt it.|
• Subtract amnesia, family feuds and adultery, then add top-notch chefs, local newscasters and a dash of fine wine, and you get a recipe for the soap star-studded 13th Annual Feast with Famous Faces fund-raiser, held on Oct. 23 at Manhattan's Chelsea Piers. One Life to Live's Kassie DePaiva shed her onscreen bad-girl image to chair the Monday-evening event, which benefited the League for the Hard of Hearing. She brought along TV friends Beth Chamberlin (Guiding Light) and Jeff Branson (All My Children) to mingle as guests sipped offerings from Bodegas Terrazas de los Andes and Domaine Chandon. New York news anchors teamed up with chefs to hand out intricate bites like risotto with oxtail ragu from Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner Jovia. Robin Strasser, who plays the formidable Dorian Lord on One Life to Live, took advantage of the opportunity to pick up cooking tips from chefs. She was especially enamored of the West Village restaurant STK's pot roast with root vegetable puree, speculating that chef Kersten Eggers' secret technique might involve a base of browned butter. Special guest Anthony Bourdain, on hand to greet attendees during the VIP preview of the silent-auction prizes, also appreciated all the chefs' hard work and described his favorite part of the event: "I don't have to do the cooking."
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions