News from the World of Food

Diageo Said in Talks to Buy Jose Cuervo

 the maker of Johnnie Walker scotch and Smirnoff vodka, is in talks to buy Jose Cuervo, the world’s biggest tequila brand, for more than $2 billion from its family owners, according to three people with knowledge of the matter

Tandoor maker brings it home

Ron Levy never intended to become a tandoor mogul.

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Mushrooms cooked in a tandoor oven at Bukhara Grill in New York.

In fact, he had never heard of tandoors -- Indian clay cooking vessels that are part oven and part barbecue pit -- until 1986, when a New York gallery exhibited six-foot pots he had made, inspired by amphorae on Crete. A man with an Indian accent called, wondering whether Levy, a ceramic artist, could make a large pot with a tapered mouth, no bottom and no glaze: a tandoor.

salt, fats, sugar maligned by myths

"If it tastes good, it’s bad for you, right?” Larry King, the legendary talk show host, asked a guest on his CNN program, “Larry King Live.”

Such myths abound, in spite of their inherent illogic. How could we have survived as a species if hunger and its satisfaction, if appetite, were enemies of well being? Long before we developed understanding of specific nutrients, hunger lead us to what we needed to survive, including many foods demonized today.

The Other Pink Meat?

That could be pork’s new slogan after the United States Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said it was lowering its safe cooking temperature to 145 degrees, from the longtime standard of 160. The new recommendation is in line with what many cookbook authors and chefs have been saying for years.

“History is littered with examples of what people thought was dogma and then dogma changed,” said David Chang, the chef and owner of the pig-happy Momofuku restaurants in New York. “Everyone thought the sun revolved around the earth, too.”

what's hot Seattle


2400 First Ave.
(206) 443-3301

Seats: 70. Cuisine: light Venetian-style small plates. Specialties: scamorza cheese crespelle with poached duck egg; warm prawns with ripened mango; marinated sardines with shaved fennel; halibut rillette and tomato with panzanella sauce. Main courses: $6-$12. Chef-owner: Scott Carsberg.

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The Business Plan: Why Putting It on Paper is More Important Than Ever!

For anyone thinking of starting a business, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. (Apologies to Charles Dickens!) We’re living in an era of great change, which by definition is ripe for entrepreneurial ventures. And yet—thanks to economic pitfalls, shifting markets, and tougher-than-ever competition—the prospect has never been more daunting.

Napa Wine Buyers Looking Long Term

Calistoga, Calif.—A century-old winery that fell to foreclosure in 2009 will be restored to productivity by wine industry newcomers with a long-term vision. Mike and Sandy Davis closed Monday on their purchase of the Saviez Vineyards property on the Silverado Trail at Larkmead Lane, reportedly for $4.7 million cash. John Bergman, Bergman Euro-National, Forestville, Calif., brokered the deal.

“We first looked at the property in November 2010,” Mike Davis told Wines & Vines. “Suddenly, around the end of April, there was a tremendous amount of interest. We thought it was fair value for the price. We’re thankful to own it.”

Operators Focus on Financing as NRA Show Starts

Restaurant Executive Breakfast panel discusses private-equity options
May 21, 2011 | By Ron Ruggless

Panelists at the Restaurant Executive Breakfast included, from left, Eduardo Rallo of Pacific Community Ventures; Ray Villaman, president of MobiMunch; Frank Paci of McAlister’s Deli; Richard Fitzgerald of CapitalSpring; Scott Gillie of GCP Restaurants LLC; and and Steve Romaniello of Roark Capital Group.

As the 93rd annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show opened Saturday in Chicago, industry executives gathered to discuss the availability and variety of private-equity investments.

The span of private-equity investments was on display at the NRA’s Restaurant Executive Breakfast panel, called “How Restaurants Attract Private Equity.” Moderator Ray Villaman, president of MobiMunch, summed up the situation by saying: “Obviously in the past three to four years, we’ve seen a credit crunch happening with the recession.”

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What Happened to the restaurant Recovery?

The table was set for a recovery in restaurant sales; then something happened, it didn't materialize.

Rick Rusing | Stone | Getty Images

The economy was improving, and families started to eat out more often, which is usually an early sign of the industry's turnaround. After several years of tightening belts, it appeared consumers would start eating out more frequently.

But a double-whammy of high gasoline pri