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Chef Cat Cora Co-Hosts New BRAVO Show

Cat Cora

In Bravo’s latest culinary competition show, Around the World in 80 Plates, 12 up-and-coming chefs crisscross the world, battling each other in challenges of both skill and strength. (Yes, it takes a certain type of strength to scarf down excessive amounts of kidney pie.) Here, co-host Cat Cora (the Iron Chef America star-cookbook author-restaurateur-philanthropist shares duties with Australian celeb chef Curtis Stone) dishes on the action-packed show, reveals her ideal family meal, and more.  

Q: How would you define Around the World in 80 Plates?

A: The competition is very much like Top Chef, but in a fresher sense. The challenge is in the style of Amazing Race, and the elimination part is Survivor. I think someone even threw in American Idol. It’s such a new take on a competition show that also there’s nothing like it out there.

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Correspondent Dispatch: Bangkok to Beijing

Beijing skyscraper

In Beijing, five years is more like two decades. The last time I was in the Chinese capital was before the 2008 Olympics, when the city was just entering a building frenzy and gaining prominence on the world stage. When my husband announced that he had gotten a job in Beijing, I knew to expect a transformed city—China, after all, has emerged as an economic powerhouse. But the pace of change is still breathtaking.

For starters, I don’t recognize anything. Granted, I haven’t had a chance to visit the historic monuments like Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven. (Expats’ dirty secret: you save the sights for when visitors are in town.) But I thought I'd at least recognize old haunts that survived the construction boom. One night, I confidently told my husband I knew the exact location of Nali Patio, a complex in the Sanlitun neighborhood that’s home to trendy restaurants and bars, where we were meeting friends. What I hadn’t reckoned on was that everything around Nali Patio had been demolished, with a shiny shopping development and dozens of bars in their stead.

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World's Top Restaurant Noma to Launch Summer London Pop-Up

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Can't get a reservation at Noma until 2020? This summer, you have two other ways to work up an appetite for chef Rene Redzepi's wildly inventive New Nordic cooking, which just topped the Restaurant magazine's World's 50 Best Restaurants list for a third consecutive year. On July 1-2, the second annual MAD Symposium (Copenhagen, $350) addresses "Appetite" as its theme; along with Redzepi, expect tasteful thinking from other culinary wild men like Wylie Dufresne, Fergus Henderson and Ferran Adria. Then Redzepi moves his team to London for "A Taste of Noma" pop-up at Claridge's Hotel in Mayfair. (Five courses, $320, July 28-Aug. 6). To pre-register for reservations, click here now. First come, first serve!

Shane MitchellShane Mitchell is Travel + Leisure's special correspondent.


Photo (top) by Ditte Isager

Video: GloboMaestro Checks In to New York's Cheekiest Ceviche Bar

Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: When's the last time you walked into a ceviche bar and experienced truffle butter popcorn, blowtorched sweet potato brulee, and a homemade gravity bong (strictly for smoking oysters)? And that's before you've even tried the ceviche—delectable, innovative creations that include lobster marinated in coconut milk, orange juice, ginger and jalapeño.

Astute scholars of the Spanish language will note that Desnuda means "naked" — but the food here at this East Village cevicheria in New York is anything but stripped down.


Video courtesy of GloboMaestro


Best Openings from Around the World

Montreal

From hotel openings to cultural happenings, we’ve got the latest in five buzzing cities.

BARCELONA
Stay: Primero Primera

A stylish boutique hotel in a tucked-away bourgeois barrio alto. Doubles from $255.

Eat: Fábrica Moritz Barcelona
Tapas restaurant set in an old Moritz beer factory and made over by French architect Jean Nouvel. 34/93-426-0050; dinner for two $55.

Do: Museu d’Idees I Invents de Barcelona
A two-story showcase for wacky inventions such as a mop with a microphone. —Suzanne Wales

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Farm-to-Table, Hawaiian Style

beets at MA'O farms

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Hawaii—reporting this month’s feature on the new wave of Hawaiian food—was a visit to MA’O Organic Farms, on Oahu’s west coast. (I’m not alone: Michelle Obama was evidently smitten with the place during her own visit to MA’O last November.)

The farm unfolds over 24 acres in the fertile Lualualei Valley, within the relatively remote community of Waianae (“WIE-a-nie”). The variety of MA’O’s bounty is impressive enough, ranging from kale, beets, and fennel to bananas, mangoes, and papaya (there’s also an experimental blueberry patch). All this is sold at Oahu farmer’s markets, and also to a handful of groceries and restaurants around the island. (As I mentioned in my article, MA’O’s ethereal salad greens play a starring role at Town restaurant in Honolulu.)

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LUCKYRICE Festival Kicks Off in NYC—and Ups the Ante

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If you are trying to decide between a trip to New York City or a trip to Beijing—or Chiang Mai, or even Oahu for that matter—you may not have to choose. Next week in NYC marks the third annual LUCKYRICE Festival (May 1-5), a delirious celebration of Asian food and culture featuring top chefs, mixologists, and influencers. The list of names is a who’s who of Asian cuisine: Top Chef master Susur Lee, Michelin-starred curry guru David Thompson, Hawaiian regional cuisine pioneer Alan Wong, and more.

(For a backgrounder on the festival, see our video interview with founder, Danielle Chang.)

Not surprisingly events are quickly selling out as fast you can say kung pao. The super-popular Night Market street food extravaganza and Grand Feast are happening again this year, but there are some new events, like the Hawaiian sunset luau and Chinese wedding banquet-cum-cabaret, that take the fest’s experience to fun new cultural heights.

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World's Most Exotic Cooking Oils

cooking oils

More and more exotic oils are popping up every day, making it easy to sample terroirs from around the world. Here, five that topped our taste test.

Austria
The Oil: Pumpkin Seed
Why: Locals have long sworn by this nutritional extra-virgin variety.
The Source: It’s extracted from a green-and-orange pumpkin native to the Styrian region.
Buy: Austria’s Finest, Naturally; 8.5 fl. oz. for $16.99.

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Hawaii's Artisanal Cocktails

cocktail from Town restaurant, Hawaii

Okay, Friday’s here at last—you deserve a drink. How about two?

As promised in the current issue of Travel + Leisure (check out our feature story about the new wave of Hawaiian cuisine), here are two knockout cocktail recipes from the bar staff at Town restaurant in Honolulu, where the inventive drinks go way beyond the standard mai tais, incorporating fresh, island-farmed herbs and produce to delicious effect. The pair that follow were created especially for T+L by Town’s own Jordan Edwards—try them at home tonight. Made with fresh greens and vegetables, these are two cocktails that could actually be good for you.

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Hawaii's Amazing Artisanal Chocolate

Madre Chocolate

This month’s T+L includes an eight-page feature on Hawaii’s new food scene, where we spotlight some of the young chefs, upstart farmers, pop-up restaurateurs, and food-truck vendors who are taking Hawaiian cuisine to the next level.

Had we more space in the print magazine, we would’ve devoted another eight pages to Madre Chocolate, a terrific new bean-to-bar chocolate operation (Oahu’s first) based in Kailua. (A tony suburb just 20 minutes from Honolulu, Kailua is where President Obama and family have stayed during their Hawaiian vacations.)

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