French's Foodservice is partnering with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) to launch a recipe contest for French's French Fried Onions. The contest, which opened Sept. 1 and runs through Nov. 16, invites ACF chefs to enter their favorite French's French Fried Onion creations for the chance to win prizes.

Three winners will be selected, with the grand-prize winner receiving $2,000. The second-place winner will receive $1,000, and a third-place winner will receive $500. All prizes will be awarded in the form of a check. To qualify, recipes must include French's French Fried Onions and fall into one of three categories—appetizer, sandwich or entrée. Top chefs from The Food Channel will judge the submitted recipes on a variety of criteria, including taste, aroma, texture and creativity.

For recipe contest details and to upload your recipes, log on to Recipe entries can also be mailed to FFO Recipe Contest, 2215 West Chesterfield Blvd, Springfield, MO 65807.
by Maggie Shea, Chef Magazine

From Nuevo Cubano fare in our nation's capital to a Creole revolution in the French Quarter to Venetian cuisine in an Art Deco Miami hotel to yet another venture from the Thomas Keller Group, here's a look at some of the latest and most anticipated restaurant openings around the country.

New D.C. restaurant offers introductory discount
To celebrate the opening of its newest location in Washington, D.C.'s Penn Quarter, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar will offer heavily discounted prices on food from Oct. 1 to 14. Guests who attend the preview dinner from Oct. 1 to 7 will receive a 50 percent discount, and those who come for dinner between Oct. 8 and 13 will receive a 25 percent discount before the full-price menu begins on Oct. 14. Cuba Libre opens for lunch starting on Oct. 20.

El pollo de solar, a signature Cuba Libre dish

"It's our way of introducing our restaurant to the area," said proprietor Barry Gutin in a statement. "Although open to the public, we consider these two preview weeks to be part of our training and therefore don't charge full price."

The new menu, which was specifically developed for Washington by chef/partner Guillermo Pernot (pictured left, courtesy of Cuba Libre), showcases the flavors of Latin regions and highlights "Nuevo Cubano," or updated Cuban cuisine, with a variety of small tasting plates. Set to highlight the bygone era before Fidel Castro came to power, Cuba Libre recalls the golden days of 1950s Havana in a high-energy atmosphere distinguished by authentic Cuban architecture.

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is located at 801 A 9th St., NW, Washington, D.C. Cuba Libre will be open for lunch on weekdays, brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and dinner nightly. For more information, visit

Celebrated chefs start a R'evolution

World-renowned chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto have partnered to form restaurant development group Home on the Range LLC. Their first joint venture will be Restaurant R'evolution, set to open in 2011 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter. Restaurant R'evolution, which is being designed by Bill Johnson of The Johnson Studio in Atlanta, will offer contemporary Creole cuisine, marrying Folse's classic Southern approach and Tramonto's contemporary style.

An exterior view of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, where chefs Folse and Tramonto will open Restaurant R'evolution in 2011

"The unique flavor of New Orleans, from its music, to its food and to its people, has been influenced by many over the years," said Folse in a press statement. (Folse is known for his savvy of Louisiana's culinary heritage.) "Restaurant R'evolution will serve to introduce an exciting contemporary Creole cuisine, created by Rick and me to push the boundaries and expectations of dining in Louisiana. Our new menu will incorporate the bounty of Louisiana's fresh ingredients and seafood as we recreate iconic Louisiana dishes while also developing brand-new menu items."

R'evolution will be located at 777 Bienville St. at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. Restaurant hours and website are not yet available.

Cecconi's to debut in Miami
On Oct. 11, Soho House Group will open its third location of Cecconi's restaurant on the ground floor of the new Soho Beach House in Miami. Inspired by the original location in London--founded in 1978 and modeled after the first Cipriani in Venice, Italy--the 150-seat Cecconi's Miami is housed in the recently renovated Art Deco Sovereign Hotel.

Artist rendering of the new Soho Beach House, courtesy of Soho House

Heading up the kitchen and executing the Venetian-influenced menu is executive chef Sergio Sigala. Sigala's breakfast, lunch and dinner menus feature the same dishes from the restaurant's sister locations worldwide coupled with a robust steak and seafood program. Menu highlights include wood-oven roast scallops with pancetta and rosemary; Kobe beef tartare with truffle and pecorino; Burrata, red onion and fresh tomato pizza; Maine lobster with house-made spaghetti; and veal osso buco with gremolata.

Cecconi's Miami, located at Soho Beach House, 4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, will be open Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. to midnight, Thursday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit

Two restaurants open at USC Hospitality
On Aug. 23, the University of Southern California (USC) Hospitality unveiled two new restaurants at its University Park campus just outside Los Angeles: Moreton Fig, a full-service restaurant from the Lark Creek Restaurant Group and USC Hospitality; and Lemonade, a new outpost of chef/owner Alan Jackson's popular Los Angeles concept. Both restaurants are located in the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

Moreton Fig. Named for the two century-old fig trees in front of the restaurant, Moreton Fig was created through a partnership between USC Hospitality and Lark Creek Restaurant Group. The restaurant will feature chef-driven, farm-fresh cuisine executed by chef Todd Koenigsberg, served in an 8,000-square-foot venue with indoor and outdoor dining, lounge areas and an open kitchen. The restaurant also has a private dining room, an outdoor grill for game days and seasonal food festivals.

Lark Creek meatloaf, from chef Todd Koenigsberg, who will also head up Moreton Fig

Moreton Fig is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on game days. The restaurant plans to open for dinner in the near future.

Lemonade. The fifth location of chef Jackson's gourmet sandwich shop, Lemonade serves a refreshing menu of approachable gourmet fare for lunch, dinner and take-away. The extensive selection of thoughtful sandwiches includes grilled ham with Manchego cheese and quince on rosemary bread; braised pork with red cabbage, jalapeño and yellow mustard on pretzel bread; chicken apple salad with cucumber on dill bread; and fontina with Asian pear and hazelnut honey spread on rosemary bread. In addition, guests can opt for the predominantly vegetarian "Marketplace" items, hearty pot roasts, nostalgic desserts, and, of course, lemonade.

Lemonade is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on game days.

Keller to open Bouchon Bakery outpost in storied Rockefeller Center
The team behind the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group has signed a lease for the newest home of Bouchon Bakery in New York City's Rockefeller Center, expected to open in spring 2011. Inspired by the traditional boulangeries in France, Bouchon Bakery Rockefeller Center joins Keller's three other Bouchon Bakery properties in Yountville, Calif., Las Vegas and Time Warner Center in New York City. (Pictured, left, Bouchon Bakery epi baguette, shaped to resemble a wheat stalk)

"Rockefeller Center is such an iconic area of Manhattan, full of history and one of the great epicenters of the city. The team and I are very excited to make Bouchon Bakery a part of this dynamic locale, giving us the ability to share our work with even more New Yorkers and visitors," Keller said in a press statement.

Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, will oversee the bakery's pastry menu; and Tiffany Jones, chef de cuisine of the Time Warner Center Bouchon Bakery Café, will supervise the execution of savory selections. Bouchon Bakery Rockefeller Center menu options will include a wide variety of sandwiches, soups and salads along with a selection of viennoiseries and breads. On the sweeter side, a variety of both classic and seasonal tarts, cookies and traditional French confections will be offered.

Bakery hours are not yet available. Visit for more information.

Local Roots grows
In early August, Local Roots Café became Local Roots Restaurant, opening a larger space down the street from the original location in Roanoke, Va.

The restaurant continues to celebrate seasonal bounty with its farm-to-table menu showcasing meat and produce from local farmers and seasonal products from artisanal purveyors. Executive chef Joshua Smith, who has been with the Local Roots Café team since October 2008, executes items such as golden trout with buttermilk potatoes, garlic, wax beans and brown butter vinaigrette; and crispy heritage pork shoulder with heirloom baked beans, bacon, greens and garlic jus. The restaurant's wood-fired oven--custom built by local masons--is used to create menu items including whole-roasted heritage breed chickens, pizzas and freshly baked bread.

Chef Joshua Smith prepares items for the P. Allen Smith "Tale of Two Farms" event in August.
(photo courtesy of Local Roots Restaurant)

Local Roots is located at 1314 Grandin Road SW. It is open Tuesday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m., Saturday 5:30 to 10 p.m., and for Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit

Former Bostonian colleagues reconnect for Towne
Almost three decades after cooking together at Seasons restaurant at The Bostonian Hotel, chefs Lydia Shire and Jasper White teamed up again to open Towne Stove and Spirits in Boston on July 30.

The interior at Towne Stove and Spirits

With 397 seats spanning three dining rooms, three bars, an 90-seat patio, the restaurant was developed by The Lyons Group in partnership with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. Culinary directors Shire and White brought in Mario Capone as executive chef to oversee the "global-inspired" menu featuring items such as wood-fired swordfish pup steak with "grilled" white clams and white clam risotto, Peking chicken and pot pie, ribeye steaks to share, tandoori lamb with raita and puffed poori, wood-fired rotisserie chicken and 12 different preparations of lobster.

Towne is located at 900 Boylston Street, Boston, and open 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Visit