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Carlos Santana releases "Tiny Bubbles," Steve Fossett takes a pricey bath and Brit bad boy Gordon Ramsay puts U.S. chefs to the test

Posted: March 9, 2005

  • From "Oye Como Va" to "Tiny Bubbles": Latin rock legend Carlos Santana has been wildly prolific in his five-decade career, with 36 album releases, more than 50 million albums sold and countless concerts in stadiums packed with thousands of fans. His first foray into the wine business--1,500 cases of Santana DVX sparkling wine produced with Mumm Napa Valley--looks like an intimate club gig by comparison. Scheduled for release in September, the Pinot Noir-Chardonnay blend will retail for $55. Santana loves food and wine--he says he opens a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet every day--and he's currently working with Mumm winemaker Ludovic Dervin to select the dosage, the sugar-and-wine mixture that determines the sweetness level of the bubbly. For each bottle sold, $5 will go to the Milagro Foundation, a charitable organization started by Santana and his wife, Deborah, to benefit underprivileged children.
  • Mumm's the word: Richard Branson sprays down Steve Fossett after a record-setting flight.
  • After living on only water and 12 milkshakes during his nonstop 67-hour-long, record-setting solo flight around the world, who can blame adventurer Steve Fossett for heading straight for the Champagne to celebrate? After landing the experimental GlobalFlyer in Salina, Kan., the millionaire took a swig straight from a bottle of Mumm while still standing on the tarmac in his flight suit. No word on which cuvée it was, but we're hoping it wasn't vintage dated. Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson, who financed the flight, shook up the bottle and used it to give Fossett a celebratory spray-down, though apparently he left enough to share with Philip Grassa, the flight's engineering crew chief. Later Branson explained on the project's Web site that Fossett was not only in dire need of a good drink, but also a bath: "I poured the Champagne over him to try and cool him down a bit. He stinks to high heaven."
  • Don't get this man mad: Gordon Ramsay will put aspiring chefs through Hell's Kitchen.
  • Two new television shows will attempt to capitalize on the same menu of hubris, hot tempers and haute cuisine that brought viewers chef Rocco DeSpirito's Restaurant series. Fox has asked Sex and the City creator Darren Star to produce a pilot episode for a new dramedy based on Les Halles chef Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, a tale of debauchery and knavery behind swinging doors. The show will follow chef "Jack Bourdain" and his struggles to tame his New York kitchen and his own madcap tendencies, but the real Bourdain has nothing to do with the episodes as he sold the rights long ago. Fox will also import British chef Gordon Ramsay, known both for his London restaurants (one with three Michelin stars) and his brassy temperament. Ramsay's BBC America show Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, in which he plays drill-sergeant consultant for failing restaurants, has already primed American viewers for his blasphemous outbursts and unrestrained castigations. In his new show, Hell's Kitchen (slated for broadcast this summer), a group of fledgling chefs will compete for their own L.A. restaurant under Ramsay's tutelage and torture.
  • Jamie Oliver goes back to school, but he's not happy about the cafeteria lunches.
  • Meanwhile, British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is setting the table for 20,000 in his new venture. The cheeky chap, who sought to turn around wayward youths in his reality TV show Jamie's Kitchen has a new public service: feeding U.K. students healthy meals. The father of two has grown increasingly concerned that poor school lunches are a major reason England has more than its fair share of obese and hyperactive children. And what better way to solve the problem than with a new TV show? In one episode of Jamie's School Dinners, currently airing on Britain's Channel 4, Oliver suffers through a typical lunch--consuming a tomato sauce sandwich, a foot-shaped fishcake and an alarmingly thin slice of mystery meat. But convincing 6- to 10-year-olds to switch to healthier choices is an uphill battle. Oliver must don an ear-of-corn costume before he wins the kids over with his lunch: pasta with a sauce of seven roasted vegetables and a green salad with olive oil, all prepared within the government's budget of 35 pence to 45 pence for each child's lunch. Next, Oliver hopes to convert some junior high students, despite one telling him straight up: "I ain't going to eat any of it."
  • Restaurateur Sirio Maccioni has found a home for his new Manhattan restaurant. He's been looking for a spot since he revealed last summer that he was closing the Grand Award-winning Le Cirque 2000, in the Palace Hotel, at the end of 2004. His next venue, which may open by the end of 2005, will be in the new Bloomberg Tower on East 58th Street and Lexington Avenue. The name and style are still undisclosed, but Le Cirque chef Pierre Schaedelin will be back in the kitchen and the space will be designed by Costas Kondylis and the ubiquitous Adam Tihany, who by now must hold the record for designing the highest number of trendy New York restaurants. Tihany has worked with the Maccioni family numerous times, having designed Le Cirque in both Las Vegas and Mexico City and Osteria del Circo in both New York and Las Vegas.

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