UPDATE: Now That Nick Elmi Is Out Of A Job, Sbraga’s S.O.S. Dinner Features All Unemployed Chefs

Rittenhouse Tavern- Chef Nick Elmi & Chef Ed Brown_6887 FINAL Credit Jason Varney

Remember back a couple weeks ago when we wrote about Kevin Sbraga’s No Kid Hungry/Share Our Strength charity dinner? Of the five chefs that Sbraga was bringing on to cook with him (Walter Abrams, Shola Olunloyo, Jonathan Adams, David Katz and Nick Elmi), four of them were currently without kitchens, and the joke around Foobooz World HQ was, what does Kevin Sbraga know about Nick Elmi–the sole working chef on the list–that we don’t?

Well apparently he really did know something because word came down this weekend that Elmi was leaving his position as chef at Rittenhouse Tavern to open a restaurant of his own. Which means that Sbraga’s dinner can now function as a kind of support group for Philadelphia chefs without kitchens (including three former Perrier vets: Adams, Elmi and Abrams) as well as raising money for a good cause.

No Kid Hungry [Official]

Kevin Sbraga Hosting Charity Dinner with Four Chefs Without Restaurants

 no-kid-hungry

Kevin Sbraga is hosting a charity dinner benefitting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. The $150 dinner will feature five courses from five different chefs including four who currently don’t have restaurants to call their own (Walter Abrams, Shola Olunloyo, Jonathan Adams and David Katz). The event goes down on Tuesday, May 14th and reservations are available through Sbraga.

Sbraga’s No Kid Hungry dinner » 

Impossible Restaurant Dream Team: Shola, Carroll & Glass Cooking at PAWS Dinner

Yesterday marked the sixth annual Chefs’ Dinner for PAWS. The charity event raised $300,000 for Philadelphia’s homeless and abandoned animals. The Philly Post’s HughE Dillon was there and he snapped the above shot of three under-employed Philadelphia chefs (Jennifer Carroll, Monica Glass, Shola Olunloyo) teaming up to prepare a spring garlic soup with pickles and strawberries. Sounds interesting.

Glass also received word yesterday that she would be competing in the third annual StarChefs.com International Pastry Competition this September. Only twenty pastry chefs in the country were chosen to compete..

HughE Dillon: Chefs’ Dinner for PAWS [Philly Post]

Friday Food Porn: Honeygrow, Coming Soon To Center City

Honeygrow–the new fast-casual stir-fry-and-salad concept going into the former Pita Pit space at 1601 Sansom Street–is currently living behind plywood and scheduled for a mid-May opening. But one thing that is ready to go? The menu, which has been designed both by owner Justin Rosenberg and consultant/man-about-town Shola Olunloyo.

One of the basic building blocks of the Honeygrow experience is a touch-screen ordering system built for the iPad generation, with lovely pictures, swipe ability and a smart system that remembers each guest’s three previous orders and will grant them a free meal on the 10th swipe of a credit or debit card. All of this will allow customers to custom-design their own meals from the ground up. The only thing missing? Robots to put everything together–though it wouldn’t surprise me if Rosenberg was working on that, too.

In the meantime, some of those “lovely pictures” mentioned above have made their way into our hands. And they just seemed perfect for a nice round of Foobooz Friday Food Porn.

Show me the pictures

Greatest Hits and What You Missed: Pizza, Shola, Hoagies, Dogs and Instant Mashed Potatoes

So the biggest news this week was obviously the arrival on the stands of Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Pizzas issue. But that wasn’t all we did. No, we were also poking our noses into the kitchens of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants to see who was using Betty Crocker Potato Buds,weighing in on the Amoroso’s strike and subsequent hoagie shortages, giving you the run-down on the just-opened Serafina and figuring out what was happening with American Sardine Bar–which had blown past its opening date like it wasn’t even there.

Here’s some of the other stuff you might’ve missed…

A Sly Fox Beer Dinner at Matyson Scallops, foie gras, pork belly and beer? Sign us up.
A Brunch Menu For Dogs We SO wish this was a joke. Unfortunately, it’s not.
Shola Vs. Blatstein To say that this story of ego, money and the (non)opening of Speck pissed a few people off would be the understatement of the year.
The Great Philadelphia Pizza Quest In which we explain what it was like to eat 1,000 pizzas
The Great Pizza Quest: By The Numbers In which we explain that it was actually more like 1,110 pizzas (and 640,000 calories)

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Foobooz Facebook page and Twitter feed to stay up-to-date on all the restaurant news in the city. And if you’re also looking for some random thoughts on pizza, tacos, foie gras, pie, chicken wings, zombies, robots and Buckaroo Banzai, you can follow me @Jason_Sheehan.


In The Magazine: Shola vs. Blatstein

For those of you who care about restaurants and chefs (and I mean really care about restaurants and chefs), one of the most maddening and mysterious stories of the past year has been the on-again/off-again promise of Speck Food + Wine–the never-opened (but widely theorized about) modern culinary wonderland by chef Shola Olunloyo. The man had done private, half-secret dinners that had become legendary among Philly’s swells, but never had a restaurant for the masses.

That was supposed to change with the opening of Speck which, itself, was supposed to be the culinary centerpiece of the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties. But then…

Plans took shape in the spring of 2010. Presided­ over by Shola Olunloyo, the city’s most mystifying chef, the bistro was supposed to be the fine-dining showpiece of Bart Blatstein’s Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties. Then, in March of this year, Blatstein locked Olunloyo out, effectively closing Speck before it even opened.

The million-dollar fiasco seems like a simple tale of a virtuous artist, an avaricious businessman and their inability to compromise. We all know how that story ends.

So much for simplicity.

Read more »

Quick Bites: Tiffin Truck, Night Markets & Sweet Openings

Tiffin’s Munish Narula is looking to get in the wheeled food game with a truck of his own. He hopes to be rolling in University City before classes start this Fall. Munish, consider Naan for You for the name, you’re welcome. [Grub Street]

The Food Trust plans to put on six night markets over the next 18 months. [Daily Pennsylvanian]

Stephen Starr confirms he’s bringing a Parc Lite to Washington DC. [Grub Street]

Shola Olunloyo of Speck fame is consulting on the upcoming Birra on East Passyunk. Birra owner Gordon Dinerman hopes to open in mid-July. [The Insider]

Philly Chocolate has opened in the former Naked Chocolate Cafe on Walnut Street.

This past weekend Sweet Spot opened in the former One Shot Coffee space on Liberties Walk. Sweet Spot serves light fare, fro-yo and Chestnut Hill coffee. [Zagat]

Former General Lafayette Inn brewers Russ Czajka and Chris Leonard are lending their expertise to Peru’s first microbrewery. The Feast also says they’re still looking for a location for their Copper Crow Brewing. [The Feast]

Green Aisle Grocery has expanded its Sunday hours. The Passyunk Avenue grocer is now open from noon to 7 p.m. [Green Aisle]

Pastoral Korean on 13th Street between Walnut and Locust has a For Rent sign up in the window.

Quick Bites: Talking About a Revoution, American Sardine Gets Green Light & Brats Near the Liberty Bell

Naked Philly has interior shots of the forthcoming Revolution House at 2nd and Market. It’ll be opening on June 1st. [Naked Philly]

American Sardine Bar gets its second floor zoning go ahead. Look for the much anticipated bar to open after Beer Week. [Meal Ticket]

A.kitchen made its public debut at the Rittenhouse Row Fest Preview Party. Bryan Sikora cooked up Halibut Brandade with Spring Onions, Duck Confit with Cherry Mostarda and Fava Purée with Olives. A.kitchen is aiming for a mid-June opening. [a.kitchen]

Say what? There’s beers and brats opposite the Liberty Bell at the Independence Fresco Cafe? We had no idea.  [Midtown Lunch]

Shola Olunloyo is scrapping his Studio Kitchen blog in order to create a more focused site aimed at what he is calling “handmade food with the help of machines.” Go check out all the great photography before it goes away. [StudioKitchen]

Ruth Reichl launches Gilt Taste and John & Kira chocolates make the front page of the site. [Gilt Taste]

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