November 5th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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Chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain is now a CNN contributor. He will travel around the globe to places such as Myanmar, Israel and the Congo as host of a new CNN show premiering this April. Follow him on Twitter @bourdain.

When you’re a small, independently owned and operated restaurant in New York City, the perishable inventory you just had to throw out of your warm refrigerators as a result of Superstorm Sandy may have been valued at, say, $2000 (to pick a completely arbitrary and optimistic number). And that’s what, in a perfect world, you might presumably, hopefully, eventually get back from the insurance company. If you’re lucky.

But the real value of that food was at least three times that amount from the second it entered the door. That’s the number you were counting on generating once that food was prepared and served. More likely, that’s the amount you needed to generate to cover the expenses of operating your restaurant.

Culinary Curiosities: That plastic leaf in sushi
June 21st, 2010
10:30 AM ET
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Steven Stern, a former fact checker and a full time food fiend, is here to complicate things help.

Q: What's up with that green plastic leaf thing that comes with my sushi? Am I supposed to do something with it?

A: You mean you don't eat yours?

Just kidding. Those leaves are definitely not edible. They're called baran (sometimes spelled haran), and they're mostly used for decoration. Presentation is really important in Japanese food, even when you're dealing with cheap supermarket sushi. The plastic leaves also serve as dividers in a bento box (a single-portion lunch combo container), keeping your eel nigiri away from your tuna rolls.


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Foie gras causes uproar
May 14th, 2010
08:00 AM ET
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A few dozen protesters picketed the restaurants of acclaimed chef Thomas Keller last weekend, over his use of an ingredient that has become a lightning rod in the culinary world - foie gras. Chefs like Anthony Bourdain sing its praises, calling foie gras "one of the 10 most important flavors in gastronomy."

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Naughty nurses, ninjas bring your food
April 21st, 2010
02:38 PM ET
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Diners flock to restaurants for the food, but they sometimes return for the eye candy.

Many restaurants have swapped the utilitarian server uniform of television's "Alice" for khaki pants, polo shirts and, on occasion, pin-on "flair." But some have upped the ante with '50s poodle skirts, German dirndls and hula skirts.

Chicagoans have their retro-kitschy clad Ed Debevic's servers, and Las Vegas visitors gawk at Playboy Club waitresses in Roberto Cavalli's reimagined Bunny suits at the Palms.

The following eight restaurants have used wacky wardrobes to stretch their theme. Whether they're conjuring another era, an exotic locale or just accentuating a body part, these outrageously clad waiters and waitresses have long kept diners feasting with their eyes.

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