• Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, From Cocaine to Foie Gras may sound like the ultimate in overindulgent tasting menus, but in fact it's the title of the latest chef memoir to hit bookshelves. Author Jeff Henderson, a onetime convicted drug dealer who first learned to cook in prison, wrote the book, he says, "to motivate and inspire young people, so that they can change, like I did." Though helping troubled youth might be reward enough for Henderson, currently the executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas, he's also managed to rake in some cold, hard cash, thanks to Columbia Pictures' purchase of the film rights to the story, which netted Henderson "a nice seven figures." The studio has tapped the production team from the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness to make the Cooked film, and rapper-turned-actor Will Smith will play the starring role. "We're about the same age," says Henderson, "and he came up in South Philly, where drugs and gangs were rampant as well, so he knows that lifestyle. He just went a different way." In light of Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger's intent to criminalize foie gras in California, Unfiltered suggests that a chicken liver act as a body double for foie gras, lest Henderson find himself back in the slammer.
• Headed to Japan soon? Try and get an upgrade, because first- and executive-class passengers on Japan Airlines are in for a big surprise. Last month, JAL added four Japanese wines to its in-air beverage offerings. Not only are the wines themselves new, this is the first time JAL has offered Japanese wines of any kind--in this case, a Japanese Merlot and three whites made from the Koshu grape variety at Katsunuma Winery in Katsunuma (Japan's viticultural center). The Koshu grape, most likely a vinifera table grape, has been grown in and around the town of Katsunuma, about 60 miles west of Tokyo, for at least 800 years, but has only been used to make wine for the past century. (Rumor has it that the variety originally came from the Middle East to China via the Silk Road and was ultimately brought to Japan by Buddhist monks who cultivated it for its medicinal properties.) The Katsunuma Winery, run by the Aruga family, has given the otherwise nondescript variety a new look and feel through European winemaking techniques such as aging sur lie and aging in oak. Katsunuma's Aruga Branca Clareza 2005, vineyard-designate Aruga Branca Issehara 2006 and barrel-fermented Aruga Branca Pipa 2003 are now all being poured on JAL. Warning: Karaoke may ensue.
|Hurry in! Eleven bottles left!|
• Deep inside every white grape is a red grape trying to get out, according to a group of geneticists at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). Researcher Mandy Walker, who works at the CSIRO's Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture in Adelaide, announced that the lab has traced a sequence of genetic mutations that occurred in red grapevines thousands of years ago, which most likely gave birth to vines that produced white grapes. "Our research suggests that extremely rare and independent mutations in two genes produced a single white grapevine that was the parent of almost all of the world's white grape varieties," said White. "If only one gene had been mutated, most grapes would still be red and we would not have the more than 3,000 white grape cultivars available today." And the implications are enormous, White added, with the possibility of greater genetic control of grapevines. "The discovery also has great potential for producing interesting and exciting new varieties with novel colors in the future, through genetic modification," she said. Well, science may be happy, but Unfiltered isn't as wowed: "I'll have a glass of blue wine," just doesn't have that poetic ring to it.
|Now if they can make a wine that loves in-laws' cooking, that'll be a winner.|
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