Category Archives: Yoni’s World

An Afternoon with Ferran Adria


Philadelphia has its share of celebrity chefs, from Jose Garces and Marc Vetri to Jen Carroll and Morimoto. They all deserve a ton of respect and they were all on my list of “chefs I would like to meet” when I came here. But I often wonder is who it is that they consider to be a “celebrity chef”? Who would have Jose Garces saying “wow! I can’t believe I just met _____”.

Well, there is one Chef that I’m sure is on every chef in Philadelphia’s list – and his name is Ferran Adria and if his name or his now closed, Spanish restaurant elBulli doesn’t ring any bells, we are talking about one of the most important figures in the culinary world today!

Recently, your reporter from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy (that’s me) had the pleasure to spend an afternoon following celebrity chef Ferran Adria during his time here at the university.

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Yoni Reports From Italy: Nice Cheese, Bra!


Viva La Formaggio!

Hello everyone! I’m happy to say that after a short break from blogging for COOK, I’m back in business, and I intend to continue delivering interesting posts – just no longer from Philadelphia.

This week I would like to share with you some photos and news from a festival I attended the likes of which I’ve ever seen before, and it’s all about the love of CHEESE.

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STARR SERIES: Brilliant Barbecue with James Davidson of Fette Sau


BBQ lovers, get excited! Fette Sau (German for “fat pig”) is the Fishtown barbecue restaurant specializing in dry-rubbed meats, sourced from small, local farms and smoked in-house. The menu changes daily, with a rotating selection of meats available for purchase by the pound. The sides are kept simple and include burnt end baked beans, broccoli salad, pickles, sauerkraut and potato chips. Fette Sau is also a transplant from Brooklyn by way of partnership between restaurateurs Stephen Starr and Joe Carroll, marking Joe’s first restaurant outside Williamsburg. This August, Fette Sau’s chef, James Davidson, made his COOK debut with a night of exceptionally delicious barbecue!

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Chillin’ with David Ansill of Bar Ferdinand


Last Tuesday, we had the pleasure of chillin’ with Chef David Ansill of Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties.  Back in Philly after a stint cooking in Jamaica, his menu was bright with the spices and flavors of Caribbean cuisine.  He started the night with a delicate yet decadent egg custard dish topped with fresh uni (sea urchin), and ended with a refreshing passionfruit custard and local berries.  Ferdinand‘s own Bill Sands provided some killer cocktail accompaniments to each course that got everybody in the island mood. Check after the jump for some photos of his beautiful menu and be sure to head to Bar Ferdinand soon to say “hey mon” to him and the crew!

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Bonkers for Bongo


Have you ever tried to brew your own beer at home? Well, I’ve dabbled in home brewing a few times in the past, and what I’ve definitely learned from the experience is that it is not an easy craft to perfect! It takes more then a few attempts before you are able to control the beer that comes out in the end. And in my case it ended with beer or what ever smelled like beer, all over my ceiling…

Recently at COOK, I meet Dan Berlin, a local home brewer who literally brews out of his home kitchen. Dan’s “Bongo Zeptobrewery” beers were showcased in a few beer pairing dinners with Carmen Cappello of the Moshulu.

Dan has been making beer in his home kitchen for more than four years. He makes everything, from Kolsch to Stout, and brews by a seasonal rotation. Although you still can’t buy his beer at the local stores, they are definitely something worth waiting for or you might be lucky enough to score a seat at his next COOK class.

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Did you know you can eat barnacles??


To all of you returning from a long (cold) weekend at the shore, welcome back! Last week, COOK ushered in summer with a pre-Memorial Day seafood feast. Jon Cichon of Lacroix managed to “WOW” us once more–this time with his “Treasures of the Sea” menu. And yes, he served barnacles like the ones you can find on the bottom of you dad’s boat. They’re included in this photo recap of Jon’s class.

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Springtime Cocktails with Ryan Fonash of Vintage Imports


This past Saturday night, we were delighted to host Ryan Fonash of Vintage Imports, a frequent instructor and friend of COOK, for a class about springtime cocktails. Preparing everything from a refreshing sparkling drink with absinthe and raspberry shrub to a concoction featuring his own homemade rosé vermouth (our guests got to take some home!), Ryan wowed the crowd with his grasp of spring-friendly spirits. We were also lucky to have chef Sam Jacobson, formerly of Sycamore in Lansdowne, in to pair some of his incredible cooking with Ryan’s drinks. Favorites here included scallops dusted with juniper and served with an orange-cardamom cream; and an airy lemon gnocchi chef Sam paired with hearty duck ragu and quail eggs. Check after the jump for more photos from this exciting evening!

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Warning: Smoking Is Addictive

This year I was given the mission and responsibility of providing Thanksgiving dinner with its main attraction – the turkey. It was a great honor indeed that my friends believed in my cooking skills enough to trust me with such a task. But then I realized that I’ve cooked many birds in my life of many shapes and sizes, but I have never handled anything like a turkey before, and I have no idea how to cook something of its proportion in my oven…? What to do, what to do? How do I make sure I don’t screw it up? What happens if it comes out dry or, God forbid, undercooked? Thanksgiving will be ruined!

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Bed Breakfast & Beyond!

Every few weeks I get the feeling that I have to get out of the city and its urban goings-on. You know what I’m talking about right? That feeling where you have to experience nature right now! I just have to have my dose of fresh air and green scenery at least once a month or I go a little “Center City crazy”. Especially now when winter is just around the corner, it is important to take advantage of this fall weather when you still have some sun, to go out of town and enjoy it! So on that note, I called up my buddy Ryan Harrison who runs a little farm out in Cinnaminson, NJ right next to the Delaware river called “Jersey Gina’s Gems Farm”, and if that name rings a bell it’s because you probably got a chance to experience the amazing Gina’s Jersey Gems pickles which we sale at COOK. They are, by far, the best pickles I have ever had! Ryan, who is also a chef, has been a part of a number of classes here at COOK, including classes with The Smoke Truck, Ela,and he even competed in one of our “Open Stove” battles.

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I would like to start with congratulating Lacroix at the Rittenhouse for an amazing 10 years. To commemorate their tenth anniversary, Lacroix hosted an elaborate celebration dinner, benefiting the Lacroix scholarship through the James Beard Foundation and honoring Jean-Marie Lacroix for his contribution to Philadelphia’s (and the nation’s) culinary scene.

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