LARRY LIPSON - COSTA RICA
Weekly Report from former Food/Wine writer at Daily News (50 years) live
from the Lipson Institute for Advanced Wine Studies in Costa Rica.
With associate and wife Lillian Lipson by special arrangement.
Born and raised in northern Bulgaria, a region with many millennia of winemaking history, Miro (Miroslav) Tcholakov was exposed to wine and winemaking at a very early age. His grandfather had long made the family supply of wine. As a boy, Miro was at his side during all phases of the process.
After completing his mandatory military service, he attended the Higher Institute of Agriculture in Plovdiv where he studied viticulture and enology. Soon after graduation, in the summer of 1990, he was chosen from hundreds of candidates to participate in an international exchange program in agriculture set up by The Future Farmers of America. After a few months in Napa, he was taken on as harvest intern at Sonoma County's Dry Creek Vineyard. What was supposed to be a temporary harvest job turned into a nine-year position moving through the ranks from Cellar Master to Assistant Winemaker in 1997.
In 1998 Miro went to work as Winemaker for Trentadue Winery, which is still his "day job." In addition to bringing more acclaim to the winery by creating world class award-winning wines, Miro's duties include overseeing many custom crush operations for some renowned winemaker clients. In 2001, Miro became his own customer with his inaugural bottling of his Petite Sirah. Within a few weeks of its release, it received a fat 90 points and a "well-endowed" write-up from Robert Parker, Jr. in the Wine Advocate.
Superstar chef Anne Burrell hits the pavement to help prominent restaurants around the country find their most valuable employee - the Executive Chef. Chef Anne puts four top-level candidates through the ultimate job interview as she tests their culinary chops and business savvy in kitchen challenges that run the gamut. From testing their resourcefulness by creating a delicious dish using only four ingredients, to assessing their ability to pair their own dishes with a signature beer from the restaurant's menu, these chefs are in for the challenge of their lives. For the final two chefs it all boils down to one night of service when they are handed the keys to the restaurant and, potentially, the job of their dreams.
"Anne's culinary savvy and tough love come together to put these aspiring Executive Chefs through the toughest job interview they'll ever face," said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President Programming, Food Network. "She brings out the best in these chefs, and viewers can't help but root for their success." Over the thirteen-episode season, determined chefs from across the country are put through unpredictable culinary challenges. Whether it's a test of their Italian scratch cooking skills and their knowledge of the regional cuisine at the immense Tuscan Kitchen in New Hampshire; assessing their ability to work with the scraps of high-end ingredients while creating a whole new menu for Mirabelle Restaurant in Los Angeles; or challenging their creativity by preparing a gourmet version of a traditional Puerto Rican dish for Oceano's menu in Puerto Rico, each chef will devote blood, sweat and tears to prove to Anne that they are qualified to be Executive Chef.
Anne Burrell has always stood out in the restaurant business for her remarkable culinary talent, bold and creative dishes, and her trademark spiky blond hair. After training at New York's Culinary Institute of America and Italy's Culinary Institute for Foreigners, she gained hands-on experience at notable New York restaurants including Felidia, Savoy, Lumi, and Italian Wine Merchants. Anne has also battled on Food Network's Iron Chef America as Mario Batali's energetic and reliable sous chef. Additionally, Anne taught for three years at New York's Institute of Culinary Education. She served as Executive Chef at New York hot-spot Centro Vinoteca from its opening in July 2007 through September 2008. She stars in Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and Worst Cooks in America on Food Network. Anne's bestselling cookbook "Cook Like A Rock Star" (Clarkson Potter) was released in October, 2011.