Archive - August 2012

Thermador Sued by Julia Child’s Family

Thermado oven

Julia Child’s family is embroiled in a lawsuit with Thermador, a company founded in 1916 that produces a line of cooking, cleaning, refrigeration and ventilation products.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the central focus of cross-filed law suits is a marketing campaign, launched without the permission of Child’s estate, that vaunts Julia Child’s use of Thermador appliances decades ago in her home and television kitchens.

The LA Times notes that in her four decades as America’s cooking teacher, Julia Child was strongly opposed to commercial endorsements and didn’t do them.

“It was sort of a life philosophy that she had,” her great nephew, Alex Prud’homme, said, recalling how she frequently remarked, “Your name is your most valuable asset, and you should be very careful how it’s used.”

There were Thermador appliances on the Boston set where Child filmed “The French Chef” in the 1960s and 1970s and a Thermador oven in the kitchen of her Cambridge residence — a room, the Times notes, that is now displayed as a national treasure at the Smithsonian Institution.

The Julia Child Foundation for the Culinary Arts, a charitable foundation to which she left her intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights and the use of her likeness, contends Thermador required the foundation’s approval before launching a Thermador marketing campaign — approval Thermador knows they never would have received.

“The foundation feels really strongly about continuing to conduct itself as Julia would have. And she was adamant that she not personally endorse products or brands,” said Todd Schulkin, the foundation’s intellectual property manager.

The foundation discovered that Thermador was using her photos and name this summer. And since Child’s popularity has increased with new books about her life and the 2009 film “Julie & Julia”, the foundation has increased its surveillance for copyright infringement.

“It took us some amount of time for us to see the extent to which [Thermador and its ad agency] were using that connection, and it seemed to develop in magnitude over time,” said Schulkin, who was a friend of Child.

The foundation demanded Thermador cease in July, and declined to allow the ad agency running the Thermador campaign the rights to use Child as an endoresement.

Thermador’s parent company, BSH Home Appliances, filed a suit in Boston asking a federal judge to make a legal declaration that they had the right to use Child’s connection to the brand in its marketing materials.

In its complaint, BSH’s lawyers wrote that the company’s use of Child’s photo and name “do not state or imply any endorsement” but “reflect on the long history, significance and influence of Thermador products on American society and culture.”

Child’s foundation filed its own suit accusing Thermador and their ad agency of misappropriating intellectual property.

The suit demands millions in damages as well as a cut of profits derived from the use of Child’s name to be paid to the foundation.

Thermador’s material makes “it appear as though Julia Child has been a company spokesman,” the federal suit stated.

Child, the foundation’s lawyers wrote, “could have created a lifestyle brand like Martha Stewart or Oprah Winfrey, and endorsed major corporations and product manufacturerers, like Thermador and others, for large sums of money. She chose to forgo all such commercial opportunities,” they wrote.

Julia Child Wasn’t For Sale

Prud’homme, her great nephew, said Child was wary of anything that would undermine her life’s work as a “teacher of cookery.”

“She saw other chefs…the products they endorsed weren’t always of the highest quality, and she saw that could devalue their cultural currency, and she didn’t want to fall into that trap, said Prud’homme, who co-authored the memoir “My Life in France” with Child.

Chef’s Summer Recipes: Ethan Kostbar’s Bourbon Chicken Wings


Chef Ethan Kostbar is known for preparing American cuisine with a worldly touch. At Moderne Barn, he takes what he learned during his childhood in Israel, and during his travels through the Middle East and Europe to create meals that are anything but ordinary.

After completing his studies at the CIA, Chef Kostbar went off to work with some pretty heavy hitters including Chef Laurant Gras at Peacock Alley, and Chef Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern. While at Gramercy Tavern, an then at Kostbar that he fell in love with cooking seasonal New American Cuisine.

We asked Chef Kostbar to share a recipe that he felt symbolizes summer. He chose his Bourbon Chicken Wing Sauce.

Bourbon Chicken Wing (Makes 50 wings)

For the Sauce:

1 Gallon Chicken Stock
4 pcs Jalapeño’s (chop and include the seeds)
14 whole Garlic
8 pc Onion (diced)
10 pcs Zest of Limes
10 pcs Lime Juice
5 Boxes Dark Brown Sugar
1 lbs Ginger
2 Bottles Bourbon
2 Qts Soy Sauce

1. Caramelize onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño’s in a rondo
2. Add Bourbon and burn off the alcohol.
3. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, Lime zest, Lime juice, and brown sugar.
4. Reduce on a low heat till it becomes a glaze.


1. Flour wings and fry in a fryer at 350° for 8 minutes.
2. Add to a large bowl and toss in the sauce.

Moderne Barn is located at 430 Bedford Road in Armonk, NY (914) 730-0001


Lunch (Mon-Fri): 12pm-2:30pm
Dinner (Mon-Thu): 5pm-10pm (Fri-Sat): 5pm-11pm (Sun): 5pm-9pm
Brunch (Sun): 11:00am-2:30pm

Is Your Digital Soul Worth The Price of a Donut?


Dunkin’ Donuts’ recently released a new mobile payment app that allows you to set up an account and pay by scanning an on-screen barcode at the checkout counter.

You can add money to your account by providing the app your credit card information, and you can also send gift cards to friends.

Starbucks also has an app that tracks your purchases and rewards frequent buyers with free drinks.

But as Wired’s Marcus Wohlsen points out, such apps are really designed for the benefit of retailers themselves, who for the first time can advertise to customers via the same technology those customers are using to pay.

“Stores can tighten this retail feedback loop even further by creating a record of a single customer’s purchases in perfect detail, and even by tracking a customer’s physical location to send them an ad or a deal when they get close to the front door,” writes Wohlsen.

More than a dozen big merchants who call themselves Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, have announced plans to jointly develop a mobile-payments network that will battle similar services from Google Inc. and other companies.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., 7-Eleven Inc. and Sunoco Inc. are among the companies hoping to infiltrate the sprouting market that converts smartphones into devices for making purchases.

Square Inc. is an electronic payment service that allows users in the United States to accept credit cards through their mobile phones, either by swiping the card on the Square device or by manually entering the details on the phone.

Now Square has a creepy option which lets merchants charge your account simply by matching you to a picture of your face that pops up at the register when you walk in the store.

When I think about the information consumers are causally relinquishing to third parties via a smartphone for say, a cup of coffee, my skin crawls.

Smartphones store your personal contacts, reveal your GPS location, your credit card information, and link you to a list of all your credit card purchases, and much more.

Wohlsen suggests big companies like Walmart and Target will eventually entice their customers to pay via a mobile app so they can get access to the trove of personal data that the technology makes available.

He adds that these companies may even build their own platform because it will ultimately cost them less than outsourcing the payment process.

“A savings they could use to make a Faustian bargain with customers: Pay with mobile, save a few cents. The only thing you have to give us in return is your digital soul.”

Policies, Percentages and Profits in Restaurant Mark-Ups

Wine in a Restaurants

Britain’s Bee Wilson who writes “The Kitchen Thinker” food column for The Telegraph’s Stella magazine, recently discussed the policies, percentages and profits involved in restaurant mark-ups.

She notes that it’s not unusual for a bottle of wine served in a restaurant to be sold for 300 percent more than you’d pay in retail store — a price markup most diners might expect.

But Ms. Wilson claims that patrons would be surprised to learn that the mark-up on the food may be even greater than on wine.

When enjoying a starter of artichoke hearts with ground lamb and goat’s curd priced at £8.50 (around $10), Ms. Wilson suggests diners have no idea what relation this bears to the price of the ingredients.

She believes the standard policy is that ingredients in each dish should comprise about 25 to 35 percent of the final price.

The secret of restaurant economics, says Wilson, is that the mark-up on food is often greater than that on wine.

She emphasizes that the markup is not “a swindle” because the remaining 65 to 75 percent of what diners are charged has to cover everything from kitchen equipment to lighting to the chefs’ wages.

“After all that is accounted for, it’s a miracle if any profit remains.”

Ms. Wilson noted that the manager of a successful chain of restaurants recently discussed how difficult it was to maintain his food bill cost ratio at 25 percent of the total without pricing himself out of the market due to the rising cost of entree ingredients.

What this restaurateur does when the percentages creep up, says Ms. Wilson, is rethink ingredients.

“He has quietly removed the squid from a mixed seafood dish and no one seems to have noticed.” she said.

According to this restaurateur, contrary to what diners may think, the most expensive items on the menu may actually yield the least profit in percentage terms because the raw ingredients cost so much.

“A piece of fillet steak can easily cost as much as 40 per cent of the £25 menu price. By contrast, a bowl of soup for £4.95 may only be 70p or so to make, offering far heftier margins.”

Tea and coffee generate hearty profits because a double espresso instead of a single, for example, cost around the same to make, but you can charge much more for the double.

Ms. Wilson pointed out that Andrew Parkinson, an experienced head chef, revealed in his 2001 book, “Cutting It Fine,” that he once worked in a restaurant where the gross profit got so bad that they ended up using grey mullet on the menu as “Italian sea bass” (a fantasy fish).

“It made 95 percent profit on each fillet we sold,” Parkinson said.

NYPD Raids Wrong Bar, Dumps Out Liquor, Then Brags About It


The City of New York has added one more fascist notch on their authoritarian belt.

When New York City’s Mayor isn’t dictating how much salt New Yorkers should eat or attempting to outlaw large soft drinks, New York City cops are raiding — the wrong — bars like Nazi Storm Troopers and pouring out all the alcohol.

Brooklyn bar owner owner David Kelleran is suing an NYPD commander for dumping thousands of dollars worth of alcohol down a drain during a raid that turned out to be at the wrong bar.

Kelleran, former owner of Coco66 in Greenpoint, claims in the lawsuit that a team of cops charged into the his bar last year and dumped the entire stock of beer, wine and liquor down a kitchen sink — even though Coco66′s liquor license was valid.

The cops confused the bar for a Kellerman owned restaurant next door that was delinquent on a payment to the State Liquor Authority.

That restaurant, “68,” located at 68 Greenpoint Ave., had an expired liquor license after Kelleran’s $4,382 check to the State Liquor Authority bounced, the Daily News reports.

Kelleran was given 10 days to settle the payment or face disciplinary action. But after five days, cops raided both 68 and Coco66, shutting down both places and dumping out all the booze.

“There is no provision in New York’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law that allows for the wholesale destruction of private property, without notice,’’ Kelleran’s lawyer, Craig Trainor, told The Post.

“The utter and complete lawlessness exhibited by the NYPD in this case shocks the conscience,” Trainor said, noting that illegal drugs and counterfeit money aren’t destroyed when seized by cops.

The 94th Precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson, led the raid and boasted about it afterwards.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while — we’ve had noise complaints about the place,” adding that dumping the booze down the drains “took a while.”

In other words, instead of resolving noise complaints in a court of law, or through mediation, the NYPD decided to raid the bar like a group of reckless felons who have nothing but contempt for the very law the NYPD is sworn to uphold on behalf of its citizens.

Chef’s Summer Recipes: John Toulze’s Padron Peppers


Photo by Steven Krause

I love Sonoma, not only because of its wines, but also because of the amazing food found in the area. Sondra Bernstein’s restaurants, The Girl and The Fig, and The Fig Cafe, are exemplary of what Sonoma has to offer. Executive Chef John Toulze has been working alongside Sondra for over 15 years. They are not just business partners, but friends. This certainly comes out in his food.

Sondra and John have collaborated with the Benziger family to create the Farm Project. It’s aim is to “see how farming our own produce will affect our business and in what ways”. This is perhaps what I remember most about Chef Toulze’s cooking. How fresh and honest it tasted.

I asked Chef Toulze and Sondra to participate in our Chef’s summer series. They shared two recipes with us. Today, we’ll be spotlighting Chef Toulze’s Padron Peppers.

Padron Peppers

Serves 6

Photo by Steven Krause

“Padron peppers have gained popularity over the past few years, and with that the price seemed to rise. Two seasons ago, we decided to plant them ourselves and have found this to be a good solution as they grow easily and abundantly! Padrón peppers are a wonderful treat. They are simple, quick to cook, and make a surprising addition to most summer meals. However, not all Padróns are the same; some are delicate and mild in flavor and others surprise you with a spicy bite. There is no way of knowing how spicy they are just by looking at them; you just have to go for it. Other than washing the peppers, there is no preparation before cooking them and you can eat them right up to the stem, making Padróns the ultimate finger food”.

Wine Pairings:

Treana Winery White Rhône Blend, Mer Soleil Vineyard, Central Coast, California

Kunde Family Estate Viognier, Sonoma Valley, California

1 pound Padrón peppers

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt

2 tablespoons herbed bread crumbs

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (condimento or saba can be substituted)

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until almost smoking. In a small bowl combine the peppers and oil and add them to the skillet. Sear the peppers on all sides until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To serve:

Place the peppers on a serving dish and sprinkle them with the salt and bread crumbs. Add a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar over the top.

Commodities Trader: Soaring Food Prices “Good for Business”


The United Nations, food aid agencies and the British Government accused the world’s largest commodities trading company, Glencore International, headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, of characterizing soaring world food prices as “good” business.

The rise in global food prices are partly due to the worst U.S. drought in a half century, which has spawned record feed prices that in turn are causing farmers to shrink cattle herds to the smallest in two generations, driving beef prices higher.

According to USDA estimates, beef output will slump to a nine-year low in 2013 after drought damaged pastures from Missouri to Montana.

Russia suffers from a similar food crisis that could force their government to ban grain exports.

The senior economist of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: “Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits.”

According to The Independent, Glencore’s director of agriculture trading, Chris Mahoney, triggered the controversy when he said:

“The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.

“We will be able to provide the world with solutions… and that should also be good for Glencore.”

Oxfam, an international relief and development organization dealing with poverty and hunger was outraged by Glencore’s exploitation of volatile world food prices.

Jodie Thorpe, from the aid agency’s Grow Campaign, said: “Glencore’s comment that ‘high prices and lots of volatility and dislocation’ was ‘good’ gives us a rare glimpse into the little-known world of companies that dominate the global food system.”

Oxfam said companies like Glencore were “profiting from the misery and suffering of poor people who are worst hit by high and volatile food prices”, adding: “If we are going to fix the ailing food system then traders must be part of the cure.”

A Glencore spokesperson said: “Regardless of the business environment, Glencore is helping fulfil global demand by getting the commodities that are needed to the places that need them most.”

Calpe said leading international politicians and banks expecting Glencore to back away from trading in potential starvation and hunger in developing nations for “ethical reasons” would be disappointed.

“This won’t happen,” she said. “So now is the time to change the rules and regulations about how Glencore and other multinationals such as ADM and Monsanto operate. They know this and have been lobbying heavily around the world to water down and halt any reform.”

Glencore’s collective corporate mindset is so very reminiscent of what took place in the year 2000, when Enron traders caused rolling blackouts in California by trading California’s electricity like a commodity in the spot and forward markets.

Enron’s actions left more than 100,000 businesses and residential customers in the dark for two days, trapping people in elevators and shutting down high-tech companies such as Cisco Systems and Apple Computer.

“The traders said that Enron’s former president, Jeff Skilling, pushed them to ‘trade aggressively’ in California and to do whatever was necessary to take advantage of the state’s wholesale market to boost the price of Enron’s stock.”

“Skilling would say, ‘if you can’t do that then you need to find a job at another company,’” said one former senior Enron trader. “He said we should go trade pork bellies if we can’t be aggressive.”

Superfood Berries (Infographic)


Our infographic today features four amazing berries: Acai, Blueberry, Cranberry and Goji. This berries are said to help fight free radicals. Maybe that’s why they are called superfoods. Read on and find out why these little fellows can help you protect your body.

Source: Raw Food Online

Assistant DA Files FOIA for White House Beer Recipe


President Obama made culinary history with homebrewed White House Honey Ale. The ale was made with a pound of honey from the White House Beehive, and served to guests at a 2011 Super Bowl party.

According to White House Curator Bill Allman, the Obamas are the first presidential couple to ever assign the task of homebrewing beer to their chef staff.

White House chefs began home brewing beer in 2011 and have produced three kinds to date: White House Honey Ale, White House Honey Blonde Ale and White House Honey Porter.

Beer fans are eager to get their hands on the recipe but Mr. Obama has declined to release it. A White House petition was started to force the Obamas to reveal the information.

According to a CBS News affiliate, Jay Carney, White House spokesperson, recently announced on Twitter that the administration will unveil the beer’s recipe if a petition for the request receives 25,000 signatures by September 17.

Thus far, the petition has over 10,000 signatures.

WTVR claims Limestone County Assistant District Attorney Brody Burks, who is also a home brewer, drafted up a Freedom of Information Act request for the recipe.

A picture of the FOIA was placed on Reddit.

The end of the FOIA request reads: “Also, if you could send me a copy autographed by the President, you’d be the coolest FOIA officer in the whole federal government, and who could resist that title?”

Under the Freedom of Information Act, The White House has ten days to at least respond to Burks’ request.

“I brew my own beer in my backyard. So I figured maybe I could learn a few things from our president,” Burks said.

“My beer is OK, but I would like to try the president’s to see if it’s any better,” Burks told CBS affiliate KWTX.

According to ABC News, the President carries the beer with him on the campaign trail, where he offered a bottle to a potential voter in Iowa.

“It is ice-cold and tasty,” the president said about his preferred White House Honey Ale.

According to the blog Obama Foodorama, Sam Kass, the assistant White House chef, says the porter is “unbelievably good.”

The First Family pays out of their own pocket for the brewing equipment and production.

Celebrity Guide to Wine


Ran across this gem this morning. Funny as hell (and has some valuable information). By the way, I’m cool with you doing whatever you want with wine…as long as you don’t drink Yellow Tail. Remember “Friends don’t let friends drink Yellow Tail”