After seventeen issues that were not about soup, Lucky Peach is back to its roots, bringing you pages and pages and pages of information about hot broth and slippery noodles.
This time around we’ve set our sights on pho, everyone’s favorite way to get their USDA- recommended allowance of star anise and bean sprouts. Andrea Nguyen explored the soup’s history and shared her research in our pages; Rachel Khong ate her way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and reported on the scene today. We interviewed pho shop owners from around the world and learned the often-heartbreaking stories of their journeys to success. There are non-pho recipes from Angie Hong, the first lady of Vietnamese cooking in Sydney, Australia, and pho recipes from Charles Phan, the San Francisco chef who vaulted Vietnamese cuisine to the national stage in the United States. And it wouldn’t be an issue of Lucky Peach if we didn’t dig deep, so we explored sa sung, the dried worm that’s been seasoning pho in Vietnam for decades, and assigned graphic designer and comedian Walter Green the task of taste-ranking more than a dozen packets of instant pho. Everything you need to know about pho, all between two covers, including that the first part of this sentence does not rhyme.
In this, our third Cooks & Chefs issue, we tackle the question, condition, and future of “fine dining”—a term and a type of restaurant that is always in flux.
There’s an illustrated timeline of fine dining history and a visual dictionary of thirty essential dishes that any aspiring cook (or gastronome) should be able to identify in a line-up. Speaking of a line-up: we interviewed more than twenty of the world’s best chefs—Grant Achatz, Anita Lo, David Kinch, Rene Redzepi—and asked them about fine dining’s past, present, and future, about how they got into it, and what it means to them.
Will Guidara, the maître d’ and owner of the celebrated restaurant Eleven Madison Park, extols and explains why the elevated and orchestrated service of the finest restaurants is for some—including him—a calling. Iliana Regan, the chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant Elizabeth in Chicago, answers editor Peter Meehan’s questions about why she pursues the path of the fine-dining chef in the era of fastcasual brand extensions.
Meanwhile, Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos (Los Angeles) and Brooks Headley of Superiority Burger (New York) talk about why they left fine dining behind. There are recipes and cocktails and a look inside Corey Lee’s amazing new project at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and, if all that isn’t enough for you, Anthony Bourdain pens a visceral introduction to an excerpt of George Orwell’s classic tale of kitchen work, Down and Out in Paris and London.