Skål: a Scandinavian toast.
Aquavit (Akvavit): A Scandinavian distilled liquor usually flavored with caraway.
Skål/Skoal project: Discovering something of people’s nature by how they handle the ritual of the Skål. It all started with a 1967 photo of Swedish actor Max von Sydow. Now we aim to collect hundreds of skoals. We’ll post more weekly.
For more info, including the history and purpose of the project, tips on skåling, and Nils’ recommendations on how to be an authentic Swede, see here.
The original: Max Von Sydow, 1967:
You can find a list of celebrities that we are dying to skål on our WANTED! page.
Here is OUR library of skåls:
After our appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, we skoaled the host himself:
Jimmy Fallon: Late Show host; lover of gin and tonics; all around good sport.
And his bad-ass house band, The Roots:
The Roots (from left to right): Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr" Bryson, James Poyser, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, Frank "Frankie Knuckles" Walker, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Captain Kirk Douglas, Owen Biddle; Phili boys; just released their new album, How I Got Over. We wish they could always play behind us as we distill on the rotovap.
Flying across the country to skoal Merle Haggard
gave us a good excuse to have some San Francisco chefs, writers, and culinary friends pose for a skoal shot. Dave, Nastassia, Harold McGee, Flo McGee (Harold’s daughter) and the official Road Skoal Photographer, Travis Huggett, gassed up, fed parking meters, and drove circles around San Francisco with a cooler of cold Aquavit in pursuit of one thing: spreading the skoal to the Bay Area.
The Road Skoal Team with Chef Daniel Patterson in the alley next to his restaurant, Coi.
We set up our first Skoal Station at the Ferry Building Marketplace, home of San Fransisco’s famed farmer’s market, where local farmers and artisan producers sell fresh goods to chefs and locals:
The PR force who helped us set up our Ferry skoals:
Eleanor Bertino: President of her eponymous public relations firm that specializes in San Francisco Bay Area and national media for acclaimed restaurants, artisan food products, and sustainable initiatives. On the Board of Slow Food USA.
A famous NorCal Farmer:
Farmer Al Corchesne: Co-owns the 133-acre Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, California, with his wife Rebecca. Famed for his glorious peaches and his signature overalls.
(9 am is the middle of the day for Farmer Al –he had two shots. Seriously though, his fruit is delicious.)
A purveyor of some of the best rarer-than-rare Chinese teas:
Roy Fong: Founder and proprietor of Imperial Tea Court - the first traditional Chinese teahouse in America; an ordained daoist priest; helped restore one of the oldest Tang Dynasty tea sites in Zhejiang, China.
He specializes in aged pu-erh tea. He has a warehouse in Oakland where he ages teas for up to 20 years.
A cook and expert on India’s rapidly dwindling Parsi population:
Niloufer King: Anthropologist, food scholar, teacher and cook; author of My Bombay Kitchen; oversees the preparation of a Parsi New Year’s dinner at Chez Panisse.
From the Ferry Building we drove to Noe Valley, where we met husband and wife team of Sardinian restaurant, La Ciccia:
Massimiliano Conti: Chef of La Ciccia; native Sardinian; former sommelier; forgot to tell his wife that he signed her up for a skoal.
Loretta Degan: wife of Chef Massimiliano; front-of-house at La Ciccia; former concierge at the Mandarin Oriental.
Massimiliano and Loretta: Salute!
We drove back and forth between Bar Baretta, Coi and Incanto several times to track these next guys down (New Yorkers+driving+scheduling in the most laid back state in the country=disaster).
Dinner night one:
Daniel Patterson: multisensory chef at Coi; obsessed with the interplay of taste and smell; writes for the New York Times. Don't write an article about him and mention the strip club next door. He hates that.
Bill Corbett: Pastry chef at Coi; worked with Wylie at WD-50; native Canadian. Wants to make kick-ass vegan food someday.
Dinner night two:
Chris Cosentino: Chef at Incanto, Food Network star, and owner of Boccalone: Tasty Salted Pig Parts; lover of all things offal; part-time professional bicyclist.
And the bartender who saved the Road Skoal crew from thirst on multiple occasions:
Ryan Fitzgerald. Mixologist extraordinaire at Bar Baretta. He is wearing his signature I Hate Cocktails T-shirt signed by Dave Wondrich. The skoal was so intense it knocked his pony-tail out of its holder.
From San Francisco we drove two hours east for the Merle skoal in Modesto. As soon as Merle left the stage, we high-tailed it 3 hours north to Sonoma to skoal Paula Wolfert and her husband Bill Bayer:
This lady owns more than 100 clay pots (she’s been collecting for 50 years):
Paula Wolfert: author (and James Beard Award winner) of five cookbooks on Eastern Mediterranean cooking; self-professed clay pot junkie.
This man thinks of ways to kill people with clay pots:
Bill Bayer: author of crime and sexual psychopath novels; native Shakerite (an oxymoron?); after graduating Harvard made propaganda movies for the United States Information Agency in Vietnam.
Paula and Bill: we let them keep the bottle.
We are starting the new year off with a bang. We flew across the country and skoaled country music legend Merle Haggard –one of our musical heros.
Readers might remember our excitement at the opportunity to meet Mr. Haggard, expressed here.
Merle Haggard. Country music legend. Badass.
How do you like that?
It gets even better. Merle’s wife Theresa sings backup and agreed to skoal too.
Theresa Haggard. Married to Merle Hagggard. Cured him from being the running kind.
And there is absolutely nothing Cooking Issues enjoyes more than a good couple’s skoal.
Merle and Theresa Haggard. What country music is all about: a man, a woman, and a little booze.
To celebrate the season of good cheer and good eats, we’ve compiled some of our favorite food-folk skoals.
First up, a gang of New York City’s top chefs:
Paul Liebrandt: Chef and Owner of Corton, one of Gotham Magazine's Top 100 Bachelors of 2009; native of Zimbabwe.
Craig Koketsu: Chef at Quality Meats; not afraid to get creative with tofu; started the clothing line Annelore with his designer wife, Juliana Cho.
Anita Lo: Chef at Annisa and consultant for Rickshaw Dumpling Bar; Michigan native with a degree in French from Columbia University; ruthless contestant on Top Chef Masters.
Dave Pasternack: Chef at Esca in Hell's Kitchen; fisherman from the age of 5; a pioneer of New York's "Crudo Craze."
Jiro Iida: Chef at Aburiya Kinnosuke; master of the ancient Japanese technique of robata grilling; one of our favorite post-skoal faces.
Corwin Kave: Chef du Cuisine at Fatty Crab; ex-model; a Scorpio; Brooklynite.
And people who like to eat their food and write about it:
Gillian Duffy: Culinary Editor at New York Magazine; author of 'Hors d'oeuvres'; after marrying a Captain in the Royal Artillery and hosting Army Dinner Parties in her twenties, she and her husband lived and cooked on a 70 foot yacht for a year off of Ibiza.
Will Blunt: Managing Editor of Star Chefs; native of Washington DC (with a background in politics); please give us a better time slot in the next Star Chefs Convention!
Daniel Gritzer: Writer for Time Out's Eat Out section; former sous chef for Cesare Casella at Beppe; expert in Capoeira; makes a damn good mojito.
Peter Kaminsky. Award winning author of books on cooking and fishing --two of life's great things. When it comes to cooking, the pig is his muse.
Thanksgiving is about pigging out with the relatives, so for this Skoal roll, we’re highlighting people that are in some way related to one another.
First up, two guys who look related:
Jean-Georges Vongerichten: World-renowned chef, author, and four-star restaurateur. Has restaurants in the US, UK, Shanghai and Hong Kong
Eamonn Bowles: President of Magnolia Pictures, a film company that specializes in independent films like Food Inc; passing resemblance to JG.
Two of our friends rocking blue:
Marcus Samuelsson: Ethiopian born Swede; chef and co-owner of Aquavit; friend of FCI.
Jeremiah Bullfrog. Miami's own. Chef to Rick Ro$$. Friend of the blog.
Related by marriage:
Aaron Sanchez: Executive Chef and owner of the restaurants Centrico and Paladar; freqent guest on Iron Chef; host of the Food Network show Chef vs. City.
Ife Mora: Wife of Aaron Sanchez; Lead vocalist for afro-punk band SwEEtie.
Related through romance and work:
Zac Palacchio and Jori Emde: he runs Fatty Crab, she designed Cabrito. Both host the show "Urban Foragers" on the Heritage Radio Network.
A sous-vide pioneer, and a supplier of all things sous-vide:
Bruno Goussalt: The "Sous-Pope" of sous vide cooking; Chief Scientist at Cusisine Solutions; trained chefs like Robuchon and Ducasse on sous-vide cooking.
Philip Preston: Senor circulator; President of Polyscience; creator of the Anti-griddle and the Smoking Gun; really cool science guy and friend of Cooking Issues.
Related to FCI:
Wendy Knight: PR afficionado; press wrangler for FCI; travel writer; lover of Vermont.
Alexandra Boardley: Wendy's right-hand gal; resident of the dirty Jerz; recently engaged (congrats!)
Related to Dave:
Ridge Carpenter: Sister-in-law of Dave Arnold; kick-ass designer; mother to Orson.
It’s Ladies Night!
Masaharu Morimoto: Intercontinental Iron Chef, Chef of Morimoto, opened Nobu, sketches all the meals he makes because cameras are too new-fangled, strikes fear in the hearts of fish everywhere.
April Bloomfield: Chef at Spotted Pig and the new Breslin Restaurant. Eats and cooks from nose to tail.
Alex Guarnaschelli: She's like buttah.
Melissa Murphy: Back home we'll always run, to Sweet Melissa (Bakery).
Ariane Daguin: Queen of Gavage, Mastermind of D'Artagnan, plumper of livers - both bird and human.
And anything in between:
Lee Anne Wong, FCI's own: Top Chef Season 1, Wong Way to Cook, Bravo blogger, TV culinary producer, our buddy.
This week we had our biggest Skoal ever: the audience at our Star Chef’s Demo.
Star Chef's Audience: How many chefs/culinary gurus can you spot?
Click on the photo caption for a bigger version. Check out the errors our panorama program created. There are some doubles, some ghosts, a dude wiping his own face off. Etc.
And the photographer behind it (and the awesome shots from the demo):
John Sconzo, anesthetizes people (not fish), pro-photographer, blogger, and silk-shirt rocker.
Cooking Issues has a new member. Please welcome:
- Nastassia Lopez. We poached her from Cesare. Half Spanish, half Ukranian. Don’t ask to taste her drink.
And now…. Meat:
- Mark Pastore. Heads up Pat La Frieda Wholesale Meat. Loves all types of meat.
- Toshio Suzuki. Chef at Sushi Zen. Fish master. Our Ike Jime Sensei. Incredibly gracious man.
- Sean Marcus. Runs Marcus Dairy. Crap on milk, got skoal?
On newspapers, TV and radio:
Bob Lape. Writes for Crain's Business where his business is food. On the original Eywitness news team. Definitely OG.
- Eric Schlosser. Author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness. Besides a Filet-O-Fish and some dope he likes caraway liqueur.
Bring on the 4- Star Pastry Peoples:
- Johnny Iuzzini. One of our bestest buddies. 4 star pastry chef of Jean Georges. Motorcycle nut. If you are the person who stole his KTM bike don’t let him find you.
- Michael Laiskonis. 4-star pastry chef at Le Bernardin. Sweetheart. Fellow blogger. When’s your wife Heather coming in for a skoal?
For our randomn skoal category:
The woman who published the Anarchist Cookbook:
Carole Stuart, head of Barricade Books (which published the Anarchist Cookbook in 1970).
and the woman who brings the anarchy:
Anne Burrell. Food Network superstar, chef, woman about town, berserker skoaler.
Good things come in threes… For your skål viewing pleasure, here are some sets of three skåls:
Three photos of two brothers:
Matt and Ted Lee. Southern food experts, cookbook authors, magazine and newspaper writers. Lovers of boiled peanuts. Rarely seen apart. Which is Matt and which is Ted?
Matt Lee. This one is Matt.
Ted Lee. This one's Ted.
Three old-school 4 star French chefs:
Andre Soltner. 4 star chef. The Amazin Alsatian. Formerly of Lutece --the greatest restaurant in the US for decades. FCI Dean of Classic Studies. Took a vacation never.
Alain Sailhac. 4 star chef. Formerly of Le Cynge and Le Cirque. Dean Emeritus at the FCI. As real as it gets.
Christian Delouvrier. 4 star chef, formerly of Lespinasse. Real French dude.
Two Bloggers and a Rock and Roll Manager makes three:
Shoshana Sakolsky. Foodie Femme blogger. Loves cocktails and science. What's not to like?
Tam Ngo. Writes for Serious Eats (is also a lawyer). Lover of architecture, design and food. A mean photographer.
Angus Vail. Manager for Kiss. Formerly Managed INXS. Kiwi. Food Lover.
Shoshana Sakolsky, Angus Vail, Tam Ngo
And three ballet dancers!
Allegra Kent. Badass ballet dancer, muse of Balanchine, author of "Once a Dancer."
Jacques D'Amboise, American ballet dancer and choreographer. Balanchine thought he was pretty cool and so do we.
Nina Brickman, ballet dancer, writer, mother of Sophie.
Finally, we’d like to introduce you to three more members of our Cooking Issues family:
Raina Bien, FCI Marketing, one of the founders of Cooking Issues, tortured by Dave on an almost daily basis
Travis Huggett, original Skål Project Photography Consultant & Skål Party Photographer, both Cooking Issues family and actual family - he's Dave's brother-in-law
James Carpenter. The man behind the Cooking Issues cartoons. Dave's cousin. Lover of learning and vegetables.
Happy 4th of July weekend! We hope you are celebrating this weekend with friends and family. And since you’re already together and celebrating, why not teach them how to skål? To kick off the weekend right, we decided to finally crack into our vault of chef skåls for your enjoyment.
Wofgang Ban, Chef/Owner Seasonal Restaurant NYC, Schnitzel God, Bad Ass Skåler
Dan Barber, Executive Chef/Co-Owner Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Boris "boar-taint" expert
Cesare Casella, International Culinary Center Dean of Italian Studies, Chef/Owner Salumeria Rosi, creator of rosemary cologne, Sultan of Salami and Skål
Brad Farmerie, Executive Chef Public & Double Crown, part of Avroko Restaurant Group, overall Ruler of the Public Empire
Neil Ferguson, Executive Chef Soho House NYC - so when he tells new employees about the pool on the roof, it's not actually hazing
John Fraser, Chef/Owner Dovetail Restaurant NYC, winner of a 2008 StarChefs.com New York Rising Star award, won Mindy's support because he mentioned pho as a good hangover cure, but immediately lost it by saying it was Thai
Sam Gelman, Chef de Cuisine Momofuku ko, and is the nicest guy there... NOW can we get a reservation???
Gavin Kaysen, Chef de Cuisine Café Boulud, recently took on most challenging role yet: new dad
Mark Ladner, Executive Chef Del Posto, wears white Crocs, not orange
Jimmy Lappalainen, Executive Chef Riingo Restaurant, 1/2 Swedish, 1/2 Terrified
Ed McFarland, Executive Chef/Owner Ed's Lobster Bar, King of all things lobster
Bill Telepan, Executive Chef/Owner of eponymous restaurant Telepan, likes the word eponymous, we have now used "eponymous" one more time than Bill's bio on Telepan's website
Laurent Tourondel, Executive Chef & Partner BLT Restaurants, i.e. BLT Fish, BLT Steak, and soon BLT Skål
Michael Romano, Chef & Partner Union Square Hospitality, also Chief of Culinary Development, part-time umpire for the yankees
Happy Father’s Day! Unfortunately, we don’t have any father/son skål shots (except this one)
Dave and Dax Arnold. My older son Booker is too big to skoal!
so we decided to do a food media extravaganza instead.
First, for a master of all media:
David Rosengarten. Author, journalist, TV personality. Did Taste, does the Rosengarten Report, etc., etc. Learned to skål at his house in Iceland.
Now, for the real power behind food tv:
Susan Stockton. Senior Vice President, Culinary Productions, Food Network. Makes the Food Network kitchens happen.
In the land of print we have newspapers:
Jonathan Reynolds. Former NY Times Food columnist. Actor, writer, playwright, phenomenal skoaler.
Gabriella Gershenson. Eat Out Editor, Time Out New York. Likes a good cocktail.
And in the blogosphere, here are some real players:
Amanda Kludt. Blogger. Editor of Eater.com. CPU of the NY restaurant media world.
Adam Roberts. Blogger. The Amateur Gourmet. Genius behind "23 Awkward Seconds with Rachael Ray."
Maggie Shi. Blogger. Senior Food Editor for iVillage. Believes at dinner you should, "Put away the Blackberry and use your thumbs for a fork and knife."
Nick Solares. Food writer, photographer, and blogger. Writes for Serious Eats, runs Beef Aficionado. Searching for the perfect burger.
You’ve already seen Steven Shaw from eGullet. Here are two more of the big wigs:
Dave Scantland. eGullet director of operations. Username Dave the Cook. Wants you to eat more chicken skin.
Janet A. Zimmerman. eGullet treasurer. User name JAZ. Most active in "Spirits and Cocktails" forum. Oh Yeah.
The FCI hosted a premier party for the movie Food Inc. Here is a smattering of the guests:
Regis Philbin. C'mon, he's Regis Philbin for Pete's sake.
Now that you’ve seen Regis, how about this:
- Christine Baranski. Famed actress of stage and screen. One hell of a skåler.
Ted Allen. TVFN food star. Food detective. Queer eye, nice guy.
Drew Nieporent. Restaurant mega-mogul. Too many great places to mention.
And one of our own:
Dorothy Cann Hamilton. FCI's founder and fearless leader.
Our first ever mortal enemy skål smackdown. Our friend Dave Chang is well known for having beef with certain individuals. Here is Chang and his public enemy number one, the blogger Josh Ozersky.
Dave Chang. Chef/emperor of Momofuku. Lover of pork. Owner of beefs.
Josh Ozersky. Blogger, Mr. Cutlets, meatficianado, runs The Feedbag. Eater of beef.
To go with the hate we are posting some love. Here are the significant others of the Cooking Issues crew:
Jennifer Carpenter. Architect, designer, genius. Patient wife of Dave Arnold.
Therese Granlund. Undercover Swede, from the same region as Max. Nils' longtime skåling partner.
Chris Lvoff. Goldman Sachs, sailor, unicyclist, master of actuaries. Married to Mindy.
Dave Eisenberg, entrepreneur, pants mogul, goes with Sophie.
Our first multi-skål: Nils Norén, Harold McGee, Dave Arnold, Dave Chang
Sophie Brickman. Smart lady. Writer. Cook. Cooking Issues blogger. Hates liquid nitrogen.
Marshall Brickman. Oscar, Tony, Emmy winning writer. Wrote "Dueling Banjos" on Deliverance (no Grammy?). Invented Swedish Chef character on Muppets. Fathered Sophie.
Dick Cavett. Did we mention DICK CAVETT!
Roger Rees. Prolific actor. Mindy's favorite: Sheriff of Rottingham; Nils's favorite: Shakespearean actor; Dave's favorite: English diplomat, John Marbury
Adam Kuban. Pizza consumption guru. Blogger of The Slice and GM of Serious Eats. Hamburglar.
Rose Anderson. Emmy award winning producer. Has worked with the likes of Jacques Pepin.
Jacques Pepin. Dean of Special Programs here at the FCI. Legend.
Hiroko Shimbo, chef/owner of Hiroko's Kitchen and award winning cookbook author.
Edward Nersessian. psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, Director of the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination.
Stuart Firestein, Professor of Neurobiology at Columbia, master of the "sense of smell"
Ryan Miller, Lead Singer and Guitarist for the band Guster, majored in Religious Studies at Tufts
Alan Richman, legendary award-winning food writer and critic, International Culinary Center Dean of Food Journalism, intense skoaler
Steven Shaw, Co-founder and Member #1 of eGullet, Publisher of Fat-Guy.com, award-winning food writer, lawyer, International Culinary Center Director of New Media Studies, Mindy's Blog Teacher
Fee Fi Fo Fangela, aka Angela Garbacz, part of the tech intern alumni family, currently creating endless possibilities in Nebraska, beef lover
Fabulous, aka Fabian von Hauske, part of the tech intern alumni family, el santo of the kitchen
Zak Pelaccio, chef/restauranteur, master of the Fatty Crab
Tim Raue, Michelin starred chef of Ma restaurant and Berlin bad-boy iconoclast
Jeffrey Steingarten, book author, Vogue food writer, TV personality, curmudgeon, husband of Caron Smith
Caron Smith, renowned asian art scholor and curator, wife of Jeffrey Steingarten (oh, the patience)
Wylie Dufresne, Chef/Owner WD 50 restaurant, modern chef extraordinaire and hydrocolloid genius
Harold McGee, world's foremost writer on the application of science to the study of deliciousness
Nils Noren, head of all things culinary at the FCI, authentic Swede
Dave Arnold, director of FCI's tech program, only 1/8 Swedish
Mindy Nguyen, Cooking Issue's own blogmeistress and tech-fiend, former finance junkie
The Skoal! Project