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The Bazaar by José Andrés Serves the Best Buffalo Wings in Los Angeles

The Bazaar by José Andrés Serves the Best Buffalo Wings in Los Angeles

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As legend has it, on the evening of March 4, 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the famed Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y. When a group of his hungry friends showed up, Dominic asked Teressa to whip up some food for them, so she took some chicken wings, which were intended to go into the stockpot, and instead tossed them in the deep fryer. She concocted a simple butter and hot sauce-based sauce, mixed them together, and arguably the greatest bar food of all time was born.

While you might argue that it’s impossible to judge a Buffalo wing because they’re all the same (just deep-fried wings tossed in sauce, right?), that couldn’t be further from the truth. A perfect Buffalo wing is crisp and not soggy in the least, completely coated in sauce but not bogged down by it, fresh from the fryer, crispy on the outside (with no flabby skin) while remaining juicy on the inside, and the sauce needs to have the right balance of spice to butter without being overly greasy. It’s actually a lot harder than it appears to make a perfect Buffalo wing, but the bars and restaurants honored on our list have got it down to a science.

From humble sports bars to one of the country’s most well-known experimental restaurants, we tracked down the finest examples of the form, nationwide (we left out the big chains like Buffalo Wild Wings to give everyone their fair shake). The Buffalo wing is one of the most easily accessible, enjoyable, fun foods known to Americans, and is served just about everywhere that has a modest kitchen and a game on the TV and as it turns out, some of the very best in the country are served in Los Angeles.

The most upscale, wildly experimental restaurant on our list also serves some of the country’s most mind-blowingly delicious wings. José Andrés first confits his wings (slow-cooking them in chicken fat) before deboning them, dredging them in flour, pan-frying them, and then dunking them in his own interpretation of Buffalo sauce. He’s even got the accompaniments covered: each wing is topped with blue cheese cream and compressed diced celery. The wings at The Bazaar in Los Angeles are so good, they came in at #8 on our list of the 25 best in America, and since Andrés’ restaurant is the only eatery from L.A. to make the compilation, the great chef can also boast that he serves the very best Buffalo wings in The City of Angels.

My Experiences at Bazaar (Very Long, with Pics)

Upon entering this restaurant and hotel, it immediately becomes apparent that this is not your typical Los Angeles restaurant. There are separate sections of the restaurant with dramatically different decors each serving different food: There is the Rojo room for traditional tapas (the main dining room). The Blanca room for new wave modern tapas, and then a cocktail lounge. For dessert, there is another area called the Patisserie which is adjacent to a section selling some unusual functional art pieces (as well as paintings and jewelry) like what you would expect in a museum store or a gallery on Abbott Kinney. Some of the chairs and lamps play animations and movie scenes. It's huge and spacious, lots of glass, mismatched artsy chairs, unusual lighting. The overall effect is quite cool. We sat in the Rojo room, and were able to order from the Blanca room. They also had a roving tapas cart (thus the "Tapas 3 ways" I mentioned.) There is an open kitchen with a clear view of Marcel from Top Chef Season II running around.

We made one mistake, and that was not stopping at the cocktail lounge for a preliminary taste, as we found out later they have a raw bar there with items not on the other menus.

DISCLAIMER: As I review each dish, you will note that I will pick apart a detail here or there. The important thing to remember about this restaurant is that perfect taste is not the only goal. This is just like Iron Chef where presentation and creativity are of equal importance. We came here not just for food, but for a show. This was about flavor and texture experiments, about using specialized technique and technology to achieve a unique sensation. While some of these items perhaps don't reign on taste alone, that is absolutely fine. I love to play with my food, and this is a great place to do it.

A few of us started with some cocktails - only the funky modern ones, of course. Cocktail #1 was your classic margerita except instead of a salt rim it has a salt foam on top. As I am one of those who does lick the glass then sip, I found this new version both tasty and pragmatic. It just doesn't look good to stick your tongue out and lick the glass whilst dining with friends.

Cocktail two was a dirty martini with more foam. The olive was the draw here: Not really an olive but rather a constructed olive globule that was formed using both a calcium sodium alginate baths. It had no olive texture as it was essentially molten, but the taste was of the highest quality Spanish extra-virgin olive oil. We ordered a few more for the table. (Pictured above.) The last drink was the most dramatic a Mojito that had cotton candy on top. The rum was added to dissolve it into the drink. The drinks were all quite good. They should be for $14 each. The unusual aspect of them was not flavor, it was presentation and texture.

Next, we got to try an item from the rolling cart. It was described as Foie Gras Pate enrobed in corn nuts surrounded in Cotton Candy. These actually were one of our favorite items of the night - There was a great play on texture as well as flavor. It was a great combination of sweet and savory and crunchy. As an aside,we were worried they were going to be very pricey (of course we ordered without asking) but they turned out to be only $4 each. At that price, we each would have gotten a second one.

Jamón platter $32
A selection of all three hams, served with tomato bread

Jamón Ibérico
Dry cured, free-range Ibérico ham, Spain

Jamón Ibérico de bellota
Hand-sliced, acorn-fed, free-range Ibérico ham, Spain

Jamón Serrano
Dry cured ham, Spain

These were simply amazing. Much more tender and flavorful than even the best Proscuitto. The tomato bread was also incredible we wound up ordering more.

Canning was invented in 1810 in France by Mr. Nicolas Appert. Spain adopted this technique and today is known for producing the best canned products in the world. Here at SLS, we make them in house daily.

Kumamoto Oysters with lemon and black pepper $12

Sea Urchin with pipirrana and Andalusian vegetables $14

Note that this is fresh fish served in a can, not literally canned. They had other options besides the ones we ordered. For me, the veggies overpowered the sea urchin. Others at the table who were not uni lovers said they liked the uni in this preparation. The oysters, however, were a hit across the board. Very fresh and briney, this was a great alternative to having them on the half-shell.

Moving on to Rojos, or traditional tapas:

José’s fried potatoes with alioli and spicy tomato sauce $7

"Tortilla Española" classic potato omelet $7

The fried potatoes tasted like BBQ potato chips with mayo. I did not see the point. The Tortilla Espanola is not a tortilla like one would associate with Mexican food this was basically a fritatta. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing special either.

"Buñuelos" codfish fritters with honey alioli $8

"Croquetas" chicken and béchamel fritters $7

The codfish fritters were the single bad item of the night. Tasted like frozen fish sticks. Actually, frozen fish sticks would have been less fishy. We enjoyed the croquettes but they were no better than what I have had at a decent NJ diner.

Boneless chicken wings with green olive puree $9

Braised veal cheeks with California oranges $10
The chicken wings were a great taste, I really liked them with the salty/briny olive puree. Veal Cheeks: The technique used on the cheeks rendered them extraordinarily tender. We sliced one in half for this picture so you could see the marbling.

At this point, we had had enough of the traditional tapas and elected to move on to the Modern. We picked out a few but as our waitress was extremely knowledgeable of the menu, we invited her to choose the best of the bunch.

Tuna with roasted peppers, sesame, and Pedro Ximénez dressing $12

Tortilla de patatas ‘new way’ $8
Warm potato foam with a slow cooked egg 63 and caramelized onions

Tuna was not exciting. The texture was more interesting than the flavor, as they prepared it sous vide and it tasted more like beef than chicken. It was extremely mild in flavor. Potatoes: Another favorite of the table. The egg is cooked for 24 hours at 63 degrees. Very much like a custard or flan.

Mozzarella-tomato pipettes $8
With micro basil

Miso ‘linguini’ $10
With tomato, lemon and caviar
The mozzarella-tomato was very cool and fun. The idea was to put the tomato in your mouth and squirt the cheese "liquid" after it. It did have the Caprese effect.

The "linguini" was actually not pasta but derived from a vegetable, unfortunately I forget which one. THey might have been something like japanese yam noodles. This dish was a real winner from both a flavor and texture standpoint.

‘Philly cheesesteak’ $7
Air bread filled with cheese and topped with Kobe beef

Watermelon tomato skewers With Pedro Ximénez reduction and cherry tomatoes $8
With sexy tomato seeds $14

Cheesesteak was a tasty morsel, but nothing all that special. Don't let the close up fool you, it was very tiny.

The watermelon tomato skewer tasted just fine, but was a gross abuse of marketing. This dish was exactly as described a cube of watermelon topped with tomato seeds. Not sure what made them sexy. Perhaps it is sexy to spend $6 for the inside of an out-of-season cherry tomato upsell? Their profit margin percent on the tomato seeds is probably more than when you add truffles to a dish.

Brussel sprout salad $7
With lemon puree, apricot preserves and lemon air

Organized Caesar Salad $8
With quail eggs and parmesan cheese

Brussel Sprouts: MMMM Air. Actually, we loved this dish. The brussel sprouts themselves were perfectly cooked they were tender with no trace of bitterness. This dish was quite delicious, we ate every last leaf.

Caesar Salad: Sounds way better than it was. I think this was a glorified wrap. Even the dressing itself was weak and lacked the telltale garlic and anchovy flavor.

Time for dessert. We moved over to the Patisserie and opted to sample many of the options. We also ordered a bottle of Spanish wine to accompany them.

Hot Chocolate Mousse $10
With pear sorbet and salty hazelnut praline

Nitro Coconut Floating Island $10
With passion fruit and vanilla

Apples in Red Wine, Frédy Girardet $10
Apples in red wine reduction with orange sorbet and floral touches
Not pictured:
Baby Peaches: $12
Chocolate Heart: $10
Assorted small candy: (10 pieces) $25

You know, we kind of left dessert up to our waiter. In retrospect, that was probably a mistake, as I look back on the menu I see a lot of interesting items I would have liked to have tried. What we had was fine, but nothing rocked any of our worlds. It was VERY expensive for what it was. In studying the bill, the prices for the desserts actually seemed disproportionally higher versus the savory items.

Wine list - All Spanish. Now, at risk of sounding like a hypocrite, as I recently praised Church and State for only offering a French list, I was disappointed with their limited options. But in this case, much of the cuisine incorporates a lot of flavor profiles not purely Spanish. We brought some white and red Burgundy along "just in case" and I was glad I did. Sadly, the host quoted me $25 corkage and they actually charged us $30 per bottle. Still worth it.

I also learned later they charged us $32 for water (4 bottles of Evian.) Come on. When will this madness end? If this is all profit margin for them, shame on them. If they really are paying these kind of prices to their distributor, then for the good of their customers, the environment, and their own bottom line, they really need to move to a reverse osmosis (RO) system like other forward-thinking restaurants in LA. I would bet Bazaar is not using $8 bottles of water for cooking and for ice. If they had RO, then everything would use the "good" water.

Thoughts and Observations: I can see where this restaurant runs a risk of being misunderstood. It's the kind of experience you would expect in NYC or Chicago, not Los Angeles. Some of the dishes elicited more of an intellectual pleasure than a gastronomical one. The best analogy I can offer is the pleasure of drinking old wine, say a 30 year first or second growth Bordeaux, versus a fat young Syrah like Colgin or Alban. I truly love and appreciate both, but in vastly different contexts. Unlike the in-your-face Syrah, that Bordeaux is going to have far more subtlety that requires careful tasting and reflection. It's not going to have bold fruit heck, the fruit might be all but gone and the taste experience might be more about terroir and other non-fruit characteristics. More often than not, my wine-drinking acquaintances who relish young big reds will taste an older Bordeaux and not get what all the fuss is about.

In regards to the Rojo, or Traditional Tapas, it was all (except for the codfish fritters) good, but not rock your world good. Just solid. Our dining partners have extensive experience dining on authentic Spanish cuisine in Spain, and they were quick to tell us they had much better versions of the "authentic" Spanish dishes that we ordered during their visit. If anything, Chef Andres' interpretations of even the traditional dishes was also somewhat modernized.

The restaurant experience kind of reminds me of Marcel's experience on Top Chef Season II. He suffered a lot of abuse from his fellow contestants and others on the show (as well as viewers), who, while supposedly foodies themselves, clearly did not value many of his modern twists on traditional dishes. By the end of the season, he did manage to turn things around for himself for the most part, but he never really gained full acceptance. I mention this little anecdote because Marcel of course is now a chef in Jose Andres' kitchen, and is responsible for many of the more creative elements we experienced. To accept Bazaar is to accept Marcel.

We had a phenomenal waitress who was extraordinarily well-trained. Besides being incredibly knowledgable about the food, she is also an admirer and friend of Marcel's, and shared an anecdote with us. Apparently, the child-like behavior did not end with the season. Ilan Hall paid a visit to Bazaar and, according to our waitress, loudly dissed Marcel during dinner. Not cool.

So the question is. will Sushi-Hamburger-Italian Food-loving Los Angeles embrace a food experience that is quite a ways off from what makes them comfortable? I really hope so.

I realize some of my comments were critical, but we genuinely enjoyed the overall experience and look forward to returning to experiment some more.

Jonathan Gold’s lucky 7 picks for Restaurant Week

Perhaps you have just realized that there are a few days left to go in Restaurant Week, the twice-yearly celebration of Los Angeles restaurants mounted by DineLA, under the auspices of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. Perhaps, like so many Angelenos, you find the list of options a bit overwhelming -- there are more than 300 restaurants involved this time around, each offering special, theoretically lower-priced menus through Friday. Some of the menus are worth it others not. Here are a few of our picks. And don’t forget to reserve.

Night + Market. Unlike most restaurants, which tend to arrange less-expensive options from their regular menus into fixed-price meals, Night + Market’s $35 restaurant week menu actually offers challenging dishes unavailable the rest of the year, including a Northern-style pork and morning glory curry, an Isaan raw pork liver salad and a special bitter larb. Don’t worry -- you can get party wings and tofu salad instead.

Scarpetta. Scott Conant has managed to build a restaurant empire on a superior version of spaghetti in tomato sauce -- for which he charges $24, a price high enough to induce night sweats. During Restaurant Week, you can fool yourself into imagining that the spaghetti, available as a $12 supplement to the four-course $45 menu, is almost affordable.

Allumette. Is there a giant difference between the four-course $45 Restaurant Week menu and the usual $55 tasting menu? Probably not. But Miles Thompson is a remarkable young chef, and the array of choices lets you taste a lot of things at a fairly reasonable price. Plus, white pumpkin agnolotti with white truffle and beurre noisette.

Scratch|Bar. Phillip Lee’s new modernist-gastronomy bunker is offering six courses of distinct nonclichés for $45. Are you going to love blackened cauliflower, cured pig’s head or “a box full of squid”? It may be a good time to find out.

Bazaar. José Andrés’ baroque, sprawling cocinaplex may or may not be your idea of a palace of earthly delight. But it is hard to argue with five courses of his meticulously prepared Spanish food for $45. When I visit Bazaar, I usually spend more than that on ham alone.

Crossroads. Tal Ronnen is probably one of the better vegan chefs in the country at the moment, and his technical skills, especially with vegan cheese, are kind of mind-blowing. A $35 four-course dinner may be a good way to see if a vegan lifestyle might be for you.

Spago. This year, the list of Restaurant Week promotions includes $85 menus from Cut, Patina, Mélisse, mar’sel, Valentino and Spago. An $85 dinner is not cheap by anybody’s standard, but the Restaurant Week menus do represent a way to experience some of the dearest dining rooms in town. (Mélisse’s lowest-priced tasting menu, for example, is usually $125.) Of the six, the tasting menu at Spago strikes me as an especially good option, a chance to taste some of the restaurant’s best dishes at an almost reasonable price.

Stephan Pyles will carve Flora Street Cafe into two restaurants, one high and one low(ish)

7:56 PM on Mar 25, 2019 CDT

Flora Street Cafe, Stephan Pyles' elegant restaurant in the Dallas Arts District, is about to be carved into two different restaurants: One expensive, exclusive and formal, the other a casual spot where you can even grab brunch.

Starting with Monday's lunch service, the main dining room will toss away the white tablecloths and heavy silver and become a looser, less expensive version of Flora Street Cafe, Pyles' lauded venue for Modern Texas cuisine. This is the update Pyles promised back in December, when he joined forces with chef Tim Byres, formerly of Smoke, with plans to "casualize" one of Dallas' most prominent dining destinations. Dinner will get a casual remake a week later, starting April 8.

But, Pyles revealed today, that is only part of the plan. By the end of the month, Flora Street's private dining room will be transformed into a separate, art-filled, restaurant-within-a-restaurant featuring a 10- to 12-course tasting menu and a chef new to the Dallas dining scene. A chef that Pyles may hire tonight.

"We wanted someone very progressive and innovative and kind of the-sky's-the-limit," Pyles said. There are three finalists for the job — from Washington D.C., Seattle and Chicago — each either a second-in-command at a major restaurant or an executive chef on the verge of stardom, he said.

In a trial by fire, each chef flew to Dallas to cook a seven-course meal for Pyles and Byres that showcased individual style but also used Texas ingredients, including chilies, hoja santa, huitlacoche and, in one case, chapulines, the savory grasshoppers traditional in regional Mexican cooking. "We're doing the last tasting today," Pyles said. "And we'll make decision probably tonight."

Pyles is transforming the former pastry kitchen at Flora Street into a separate kitchen for what is tentatively being called the Tasting Room at Flora Street Cafe. He wants the 16-seat restaurant to preserve an element of fine dining at Flora Street, which earned a five-star review from the Dallas Morning News in 2017, while also introducing talent from outside of the city.

"You don't keep these highly innovative, creative people for more than a year or two," said Pyles, who knows that from experience. Plenty of Dallas' leading chefs — including Byres, Matt McCallister, who is about to open Homewood, and J Chastain, of the Charles — have worked in Pyles' kitchens, and now he hopes the Tasting Room will be a launch pad. The multicourse menu will be $250 per person, including wine pairings the same as the current Flora Street tasting menu.

Prices for the new casual lunch and dinner menus at Flora Street Cafe will be 20 to 25 percent lower than the current a la carte menus, with appetizers ranging from $12 to $22 and main courses in the $20s and $30s, he said.

Flora Street will still serve Modern Texas cuisine, a style that Pyles pioneered in the 1980s and that Byres advanced with his live-fire restaurant Smoke in Oak Cliff. The dining room will keep the power decor — the wall of windows, the serious artwork and the open kitchen — but on Monday at lunch, without a pause in the schedule, "we'll flip the switch," Pyles said, and begin offering the new menu. "We'll be doing some ceviches and some signature dishes from my restaurants and from Tim's, but that we've refined. I want to keep it a refined experience."

Though the menu is still being developed, Pyles said to expect a selection of beef, poultry and seafood, perhaps tilting more heavily toward beef. He might do flatbreads or pizza in the bar. And he's considering bringing back some old favorites, such as his cowboy rib-eye steak. Don't worry: The Lobster Tamale Pie will still be there, served in a crystal chalice with an ancho-dusted disk of sugar balancing paddlefish roe and other small wonders over chunks of butter-poached lobster and rich corn custard.

"What I miss is just doing a really simple great roast chicken," Pyles said. "Now, when we do chicken it has to be fancy roulades, or it has to be pheasant or duck or squab. I think we can do some really good basics and some braised meats too."

The first brunch was served on Sunday and if it is a preview, the plates look as pretty as ever. Familiar dishes include Pyles' Tamale Tart with Roast Garlic Custard and Byers' Heavy Handed Blueberry Pancakes with Vanilla Poached Apricots.

There are also avocado huaraches, created as a spin on avocado toast, as well as causas with deviled quail egg, shrimp and rocoto aioli pulled pork barbecue eggs benedict huevos rancheros made with duck eggs and duck confit chorizo and a coconut chia seed bowl with berries, pistachio, caramelized banana and maple coconut cream. Prices range from $7 to $22.

"I don't think I've done a brunch since Baby Routh," Pyles said, referring to the restaurant he opened here in 1986. "It's great fun and I'm loving it."

Pyles' enthusiasm comes after a tough 2018 for both chefs. Pyles closed his Uptown restaurant Stampede 66 and reopened a version of it in Allen, in an agreement with Benchmark Resorts and Hotels. Byres left Smoke when it was sold to the Belmont Hotel, and before that, closed the Theodore in NorthPark Center and Tight Quarters, a grain-bowl stall in Plano's Legacy Hall. The Dallas Observer reported that Byres was part of a hospitality group named in lawsuits and tax leins over unpaid rent.

In an interview at the end of last year, Pyles said: "If I've learned anything in last 35 years of owning restaurants, it's that I cannot predict the future of dining. But I've never seen the Dallas market like this — so competitive and so turbulent."

Taking a high-low approach within the same restaurant is strategy shared with chefs around the country. José Andrés, in particular, embraces the format, with Somni, a $235 tasting counter within the Bazaar, his sprawling Spanish restaurant in Los Angeles, and é by José Andrés, a $275 tasting counter within his complex of casual restaurants in Las Vegas. Here in Dallas, Regino Rojas opened the $120 Purépecha Room behind Revolver Taco Lounge in Deep Ellum, while Misti Norris switched the formula up, transforming her casual restaurant Petra and the Beast into a $125 tasting-menu experience on Saturday nights.

What is Pyles' vision for his high-low concept?

"In a word, successful," he said.

Updated on March 26, to add rollout plans for the new Flora Street Cafe dinner menu and to correct the brunch day to Sunday.

Burgers obviously take center stage at Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews at Town Square. The Sickies burger comes with peppered bacon, fried egg, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and American cheese, topped with onion rings and a splash of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, while the deep list includes a macaroni and cheese burger and a glazed doughnut breakfast burger topped with American cheese and peppered bacon. Pro tip: Order the tater tots with rusty bucket seasoning.

The Sickies Burger at Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews [Official Site]

The Bazaar by José Andrés [4]

I think it’s perfectly fitting that my fourth visit to the Bazaar by José Andrés, came just a few days before the L.A. Times awarded the restaurant FOUR stars. I don’t have a rating system on MyLastBite, but if I did… I would give the Bazaar a TEN (out of ten).

Since the very first night the restaurant opened (I was there), I’ve been telling everyone about this “gift” that Jose Andres has given to L.A. I know times are tough, but if you can afford to eat out once in awhile and haven’t been to the Bazaar yet, then make a reservation now. Your spirits (and taste-buds) will be quickly lifted, and you’ll feel good that you did something nice for yourself.

I love the Bazaar so much that I find myself berating friends who haven’t been there yet. These are friends who eat out once or twice a week and just haven’t “gotten around to it”. I want to shake them and scream “Do you have ANY idea what you are missing?”. Thanks to S. Irene Virbilia (L.A. Times Restaurant Critic), maybe now they’ll finally go experience the magic for themselves.

The Bazaar is not just a “special occasion” restaurant, although on this fourth visit we went to celebrate my nephew Cody’s birthday. Each time we go to the restaurant, Peter and I make sure to take family or friends, because it’s such an awesome experience to share with people you love… especially if you are celebrating something (or someone) special!

What we ate:

Of course, we started the evening with my favorite… the Foie Gras Cotton Candy ! Bites of foie gras rolled in crushed corn nuts then wrapped in cotton candy. My nephew Cody and his girlfriend Jade loved them! $5

Caviar Cones with Crème Fraîche $8

Nitro Caipirinha $20

Making the Nitro Caipirinha (cachaça and lime) made with Liquid Nitrogen

“Not Your Everyday (Winter) Caprese ” (Molecular Liquid Mozzarella Balls)$12

Steamed Crab Buns with Pickled Japanese Cucumber $15

”Just Shrimp Cocktail : Yea Right” $12

Alitas de pollo : Boneless chicken wings with green olive puree $9. These were so good, we ordered seconds!

Chef Marcel Vigneron brought this special dish to our table. I can’t remember what is was called, but it was filled with mushrooms and topped with freshly shaved truffles. A wonderful treat… THANKS CHEF!!

Pisto Manchego con flor de calabaza : Sauteed peppers, zuchini, onions, eggplant and tomatoes with a beautiful poached egg. $9

Beef Hanger Steak and Piquillo Pepper Confit $10

Japanese Baby Peaches with Persimmon , Yogurt and Olive Oil $12

The incredibly gracious William Douillet making our “Dragon’s Breath” ! Caramel Popcorn bites “cooked” in Liquid Nitrogen!

William lifting the Caramel Popcorn out of the Liquid Nitrogen!

I love Cody’s face as he bites into the “Dragon’s Breath”!! Priceless.

Cody exhaling the “Dragon’s Breath”

Cody, Jade and Chef Marcel Vigneron

Nitro Island, specially delivered by the lovely Waylyn Lucas!

“Nitro Coconut Floating Island” Dessert $10

Jo, Felix, William, Dan, Jade and Cody. Thanks for ANOTHER fantastic evening!

My wonderful husband, Peter.

A dditional dishes we had (as well as previous visits):

Toro (Tuna) “Nigiri”, Wasabi, Watermelon, Soy and Jalapeño $16

Jicama wrapped guacamole with micro cilantro and corn nuts $10

“Philly Cheesesteak”: Air bread filled with cheese and topped with Kobe beef $8

Lomo de corder con Patatas y trufas: Lamb Loin with Mushrooms and Potato. $14.00

Bar210 (two one oh!)

Molecular Gastronomy has been all over the news lately, mostly due to Ferran Adria announcing that he would temporarily be closing his El Bulli restaurant in Roses, Spain. Twitter messaging went into overdrive when a false rumor emerged, quoting that Adria would close the world’s “best restaurant” permanently. But then Time magazine wrote that after a two-year hiatus (2012–2014), “El Bulli will change from a restaurant to a nonprofit foundation, operating as a think tank where talented young chefs will explore new directions in gastronomy.”

Like most food lovers, I never had the pleasure of dining at El Bulli, but every year I’d send in my request and every year I’d receive the dreaded rejection email as well. I’ve even gone as far as “faux booking” an entire trip, hoping to manifest a reservation into my lap, but some things are just not meant to be.

It hasn’t really bothered me though, because since the Bazaar restaurant opened in 2008, I’ve been lucky enough to eat everything “molecular” on the menu created by Adria’s protégé, the affable and equally talented José Andrés. My first bites, on Bazaar’s opening day, were “Olives Ferran Adrià”, the very same dish I had dreamt about trying at El Bulli.

During 20 (or so) visits to the Bazaar, I got to know a few of the chefs working in the open kitchen. This tends to happen when one obsessively visits a new restaurant over and over, but this wasn’t “just a hip, new” eatery in town. I felt so grateful that we had our “own little El Bulli” in Los Angeles.

Not only do we have the Bazaar to take in an evening of magic (aka molecular gastronomy), but two of the chefs I admired from the beginning have left to run their own “modern” kitchens as well.

Michael Voltaggio went on to win Top Chef last year and he now wows at The Dining Room in Pasadena. His good friend Marcel Vigneron (runner-up on Top Chef season 2) only recently left the Bazaar to pursue several new opportunities. Marcel describes his own cuisine as “Modern Global Tastings” and first showcased his dishes at a guest chef event at Breadbar last December.

Just last week, Marcel became chef of the new Bar210 Lounge and Plush nightclub in Beverly Hills. Saturday night was the official opening night party, and it was a terrific night of whimsical, delicious eats and OH YES… liquid nitrogen cocktails too!

Peter and I arrived early to find the luxuriously beautiful Bar210 lounge very welcoming, especially the platters of food on the long communal table! We had a quick drink before running into Marcel near the bar and he immediately offered a tour of his new kitchen, which is always my favorite part of the evening. Watching a bunch of guys prep food may not be exciting to most, but I could’ve stayed back there all night. There’s nothing sexier than a killer mise en place station and a bunch of talented cooks plating beautiful dishes.

After Marcel let us taste several samples, he slipped us into the Plush nightclub and private V.I.P. room for a quick peek. I got a kick out of how much fun Marcel was having as he was showing us around. Peter and I were honored that he took the time on his opening night to be so attentive to us, and it just made us love him that much more.

Rooting for the good guy always feels good, especially when he’s been so badly misrepresented in the past. I’ll shout it over and over again, Marcel is one of the sweetest and most talented chefs I know . Top Chef made him look like a jerk, and he JUST isn’t.

Back in Bar210 we ran into a friendly face, fellow foodie (and Twitter pal) Ryan Tanaka, and also the gorgeous Laura Jeppson, a good friend of Marcel’s that we had met previously. Opening night’s are always a bit frenzied and unpredictable, but when we left we were happy to see a long line around the building.

Peter and I will definitely be back on a “regular night” to enjoy the menu with friends. Whether you call it modern or molecular gastronomy, whether you think it’s a passing fad or don’t agree with the concept, the most important thing is how FUN it all is, and Marcel Vigneron seems to be having the most fun of all.

POMEGRANITE SPHERIFICATION filled with fresh blueberry

WATERMELON & TOMATO: masago & bee pollen

SALTY PEEWEE POTATOES: chlorophyll mayo

TUNA TARTARE CORNETS: avocado & banana

PORK BELLY SLIDERS: green papaya slaw


Transmontanus Caviar and Cherrywood Smoked Salmon Roe

Marcel making the Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: “Brain Freeze” with Tomato Water and Absolut Pepper

Marcel serving Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: “Brain Freeze” with Tomato Water and Absolut Pepper

Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: “Brain Freeze” with Tomato Water and Absolut Pepper


9876 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90120

Philly Cheesestake

Restaurant: The Bazaar by José Andrés
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Located within the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills,
The Bazaar by José Andrés is one of the City of Angels’ hottest tables. But popularity doesn’t have to mean pretentious. Nope, not even in Beverly Hills. Among the chef’s most daring creations is the Philly Cheesesteak, an avant-garde incarnation of the sometimes-sloppy east coast comfort food, this one made with Wagyu beef, topped with hot cheddar cheese and served on air bread.

“The Philly Cheesesteak is my way of paying tribute to an American Classic,” says Andrés. “The dish originated at minibar in DC [in 2005] and quickly became very popular. We now only have it at The Bazaar in Beverly Hills, but I think one day we will export it to the whole world.”

15 Places In Los Angeles To Enjoy Your Cocktail By A Fire

It might not seem like it now, but there will come a time when Southern California will get chilly. Heck, it even rains sometimes. (We're manifesting it, okay?) In preparation for those cooler days, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite places to enjoy a cocktail fireside. Here they are.

Photo courtesy of Tres
Tres by Jose Andres

This small enclave inside the SLS Hotel in BH is definitely one of the sexier fireside situations in town. Whereas the Bazaar is all about showmanship, Tres is a bit more comfort-oriented, offering classic fare for brunch as well as a more relaxed setting for afternoon tea. It's just the place to wind down over a drink on a cozy autumn evening.

Tres is located at 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, (310) 247-0400

The floor-to-roof brick hearth at Dominick's classic Italian restaurant sets the tone for a warm, inviting evening. It's easy to see why so many Hollywood stars have hung out here, with the cozy combo of great cocktails, wonderful food, and a fabulous fire pit. Whether you've stopped by for their weekly Sunday Supper or just for a happy hour tipple, you'll leave feeling like it really is fall.

Dominick's is located at 8715 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, (310) 652-2335

Gracias Madre is a massive 5,000-square-foot restaurant that features high vaulted ceilings, wood trusses, brick walls, and a generous outdoor space that features some lovely fire pits and a really cool old rancho feel. So while you're noshing on your stone-ground heirloom masa tamales filled with sautéed butternut squash, poblano and onion or enchiladas con mole you can keep cozy next to the fire, margarita in hand.

Gracias Madre is located at 8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, (323) 978-2170

Photo of Gracias Madre's fireplace courtesy of Eric Wolfinger
The Church Key

The Church Key brings a really cool vibe—and amazing cocktails by Devin Espinosa—to Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. Inside the restaurant, servers push around little trolleys for guests to point at and pick up at their whim. The booze is also done tableside, with vintage PanAm drinks carts peddling Kool Pops, a frozen Appletini or Sex on the Beach martini made cooler by the added flare of billowing liquid nitrogen. What's more is that they have a giant fireplace in the dining room, making for a great experience any season.

The Church Key is located at 8730 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, (424) 249-3700

This dimly lit and casual neighborhood bar's clientele is of the Atwater Village hipster variety. It boasts not one but two fireplaces and is the perfect joint to get cozy in during those "winter" months in L.A. The decor just so happens to be equal parts Hobbit hole and Hogwarts it's quirky and that's why we keep coming back. There's an old school jukebox in the mix so you can blast some classics. They also have a sweet happy hour with craft beer for $5, and finger foods like buffalo wings and tater tots for $5 as well. —Jean Trinh

The Griffin is located at 3000 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village, (323) 644-0444

Photo courtesy of Bigfoot Lodge
The Bigfoot Lodge

It's a cozy log cabin in the woods. but in the heart of Atwater Village. When you walk into the Bigfoot Lodge, you're immediately transported to a kitschy world where antlers hang on the walls and a Smoky The Bear statue stands in the corner in the midst of faux pine trees. And this place does have a fireplace—although it's fake one—that we like to gather around because we like getting into the spirit of things. We also dig their extensive spirits list and their love for whiskey. —Jean Trinh

The Bigfoot Lodge is located at 3172 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village, (323) 662-9227

Marcos Tello and his well-trained crew push out bang-up drinks at this Pasadena bar. Outside the Craftsman house there's a stone-hewn fireplace you can perch next to while you sip. Their seasonal cocktails are always worth a try, but don't forget to order their honey nut old fashioned, one of our favorite cocktails in the city.

1886 is located at 1250 S Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, (626) 441-3136

Comfy couches, a cozy fireplace, and a baby grand piano. Does it get any more romantic? Even if you're just meeting a friend for drinks on a rainy night this is the spot to be. Each night the lounge features a different musical genre such as jazz, R&B or blues from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. They sell nibbles too, like cheese plates and charcuterie, in case you're feeling peckish.

Parq Bar is located at 225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, (310) 860-7800

Not only does this West Third Street gastropub serve great grub (the pork meatballs are perfectly succulent and well-seasoned), but also provides the perfect place to hang out on a chilly evening. Their bartender Karen Grill whips up some amazing cocktails to sip on while you're cuddled up, like the Templeton Manhattan on draft.

The Churchill is located at 8384 W 3rd St, West Hollywood, (323) 655-8384

Photo courtesy of Spago

Wolfgang Puck first opened Spago on the Sunset Strip in 1982. It then relocated to its current location in Beverly Hills in 1997, and has since gotten quite the face lift. The restaurant reopened in the fall of last year with a bright, fresh approach. The dining room is airy. There's a retractable rooftop on the patio so guests can dine outside no matter the season. And there's a hearth in the middle of it all to give a more inviting feeling. We dig.

Spago is located at 176 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, (310) 385-0880

With a gorgeous Spanish-style patio that gets a hearty dose of sunshine, it's sure to become springtime staple with the outdoor dining crowd. There are even little brick windows that looks out onto a lemon tree-lined street. It truly feels like a hacienda retreat in the middle of the city. The fireplace adds yet another element of irresistible charm, making it one of our favorite places to dine in L.A.

AOC is located at 8700 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, (310) 859-9859

Acabar is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful restaurant spaces in L.A., with gorgeous Alhambra-esque arched doorways and tile work, and a lounge that's centered around a super sleek indoor fire pit. Their cocktail menu takes drinkers on a trip through the art form's history, starting with old school punches and ending with an ode to one of the country's finest craft cocktail bars, Milk & Honey. It's really a journey for the senses.

Acabar is located at 1510 N Stanley Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 876-1400

Photo courtesy of the Warwick

The masterminds behind The Roger Room revamped this Hollywood hotspot to be a bit more welcoming. Though the space is still quite expansive, they've warmed things up by adding touches like exposed brick, fireplaces, and unfinished ceilings. There's table-side cocktail service—basically bottle service where the douchebaggery is swapped out for actual quality ingredients like house-made syrups, foams, and proper ice cubes—but you can also order from the bar if your legs are up for a walk.

Warwick is located at 6507 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 460-6667

One thing you might not notice driving past the new iPic luxury movie theater in the heart of Westwood is that there's a hip California/Italian joint, Tanzy, nestled inside of it. And the menu at the restaurant just so happens to be helmed by chef Bryan Podgorski, whose experience includes his work at French Laundry and Bouchon. They decor is very whimsical, with tangled trees all over the place, and a fireplace at front and center. Pair that with the Italian comfort food, and you're in a little Tuscan dreamland.

Tanzy is located at 10840 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, (310) 307-7004

For a little Westside fireside action, head over to the Hotel Casa Del Mar. It's hardly a flashy Hollywood club, which is what makes the space so charming. Order a glass of red wine and sit in one of their plush chairs fireside with a friend or loved one and take in the Pacific Ocean view. They do a nice job of decorating for the holidays too, making an ideal place to reconvene with friends during the season.

Hotel Casa Del Mar is located at 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, (310) 581-5533

Start Now.

We all possess the power to initiate change, in ways both small and large. Regardless of our situation or current challenges we can each start now. We can start with what we have, what we know, our human network, and with the knowledge gained from experience. We can begin with the lessons of the wise, and the optimism and fresh perspective of the young. We can start with simple gestures of kindness. We can start with clarity of purpose. We can start with a new outlook.

TEDxMidAtlantic 2013 showcased the stories of those who have led by example, and the ideas that can help us reframe the most intractable problems in new, imaginative ways.

José Andrés

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and recognized by Time magazine on the “Time 100” list of most influential people in the world, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator. Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.

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Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.

Cameron Russell

Cameron Russell has spent the last decade posing as a supermodel. Occasionally she writes about grassroots public art and political power, and experiments with making art for the internet and the street. Cameron’s 2012 TEDxMidAtlantic talk has been viewed over 3 million times. She is the director of The Big Bad Lab, which creates participatory art and media platforms dedicated to including people in radical demonstrations of positive social change, and she recently founded Interrupt Mag, a participatory magazine.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal

General Stanley McChrystal is the co-founder of McChrystal Group and is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs where he teaches leadership. He also heads the Aspen Institute Franklin Project to encourage and promote national service. The General is a former Commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan and his career in the U.S. Army spanned 34 years.

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His memoir “My Share of the Task” is a New York Times best seller.

Rep. Jim McGovern

Since his election in 1996, Congressman Jim McGovern has been widely recognized as a tenacious advocate for his district, a tireless crusader for change, and an unrivaled supporter for social justice and fundamental human rights. Currently serving his ninth term in Congress, McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation and a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

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Over the past 16 years, McGovern has consistently delivered millions of dollars for jobs, vital local and regional projects, small businesses, public safety, regional and mass transportation projects, and affordable housing around Massachusetts.

McGovern has authored important legislation to increase Pell Grant funding to allow more students access to higher education to provide funds to preserve open space in urban and suburban communities and to give tax credits to employers who pay the salaries of their employees who are called up to active duty in the Guard and Reserves.

A strong proponent of healthcare reform, his legislative efforts included reducing the cost of home health care, giving patients the dignity to be cared for in their own homes with the help of medical professionals.

McGovern voted against the initial authorization of force in Iraq in 2002, and has been among the most prominent Congressional voices on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McGovern introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill calling for a flexible timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a matter of national security and fiscal responsibility.

McGovern has also taken a leadership role in the fight against hunger at home and abroad, successfully expanding the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps alleviate child hunger and poverty by providing nutritious meals to children in schools in the world’s poorest countries.

Shiza Shahid

Shiza Shahid helped Taliban gunshot victim Malala Yousafzai return to school, and is the co-founder and director of the Malala Fund. The fund supports education innovators and activists across the world. Shahid has supported Malala’s work since 2009, when she mentored Malala and others in a summer retreat in Pakistan to raise awareness about the Taliban’s attack on female education.

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In the early days following the shooting, every day was uncertain. “It was incredibly painful. We didn’t think she was going to make it,” Shiza recalls.

“Throughout this entire ordeal, Malala wanted to keep fighting for girls’ education,” Shiza says. “We wanted to create a platform for her to do so and find a way to capture the passion and interest her story inspired.”

The Malala Fund quickly took shape as that platform. Vital Voices, an organization devoted to empowering women, offered to temporarily host the Malala Fund while the permanent organization was being registered. The Malala Fund is now up and running, supported by an advisory committee, including a VP at Google, the CEO of Vital Voices, Malala, and Shiza.

Seth Goldman

Seth Goldman is co-founder, President and TeaEO of Honest Tea, the company he co-founded in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. An entrepreneur at heart, Seth started with lemonade stands and newspaper routes as a kid, created a non-profit urban service program, and nearly pursued a prize-winning biotechnology idea before he started Honest Tea in his kitchen.

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An entrepreneur at heart, Seth started with lemonade stands and newspaper routes as a kid, created a non-profit urban service program, and nearly pursued a prize-winning biotechnology idea before he started Honest Tea in his kitchen. Since then, the company has initiated community-based partnerships with suppliers in India, China and South Africa, and has created marketing partnerships with the Arbor Day Foundation, City Year, and RecycleBank. In addition to being named one of The Better World Shopping Guide’s “Ten Best Companies on the Planet based on their overall social and environmental record,” Honest Tea was also listed as one of’s “Top 7 Green Corporations of 2010.” In 2010, The Huffington Post ranked Honest Tea as one of the leading 𔄠 Revolutionary Socially Responsible Companies.”

Gbenga Akinnagbe

Gbenga Akinnagbe is best known for his role as Chris Partlow on the HBO original series The Wire. Gbenga has also starred in multiple movies, including The Savages, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Good Wife, and is the lead in the upcoming indie film Home. He starred in Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and is currently on the hit show Graceland. Gbenga also recently founded the clothing line Liberated People.

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Sam Berns

Sam Berns is a Junior at Foxboro High School in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where he has achieved highest honors and is currently a percussion section leader in the high school marching band. He recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Sam was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare, rapid aging disease, at the age of 2. He is featured in the documentary Life According to Sam, which will premiere on HBO on October 21, 2013.

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Akec Khoc Aciew

Due to his remarkable background in international affairs, and upon the establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in the United States, Ambassador Akec was appointed as the first ambassador, making history in May 2012. In this capacity he and the Embassy staff hope to enhance the bilateral diplomatic relations between the Republic of South Sudan and the United States of America.

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From 1991 through 2003, he wasdispatched to France as the representative of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) where he canvassed humanitarian and political awareness and support, as well as international assistance. Throughout his position as representative, and in order to help maintain himself, as well as the movement, he trained and worked as a clinical hematologist. In 2004, Ambassador Akec continued his medical training in Minnesota, USA, where he began focusing on his specialty. This path was interrupted in 2006 when he was recalled as part of the Powers-sharing arrangements in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and began his international career as he was appointed an Ambassador in the Government of National Unity (GONU). His international relations career continued as he was posted to the United Nations Permanent Mission for Sudan as the deputy Permanent Representative in 2007. His service was recognized when he was appointed Charge D’ Affaires of the Republic of Sudan in Washington, D.C. from 2008 to 2010.

Jon Jarvis

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis began his career in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C. Today, he manages that agency whose mission is to preserve America’s most treasured landscapes and cultural icons. Today, he is responsible for overseeing more than 22,000 employees, a $3 billion budget, and 401 national parks that attract more than 280 million visitors every year.

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Leigh Gallagher

Leigh Gallagher is an Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune magazine. She is a cochair of the Fortune U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Her first book, The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving, was published by Portfolio in August 2013.

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Susan Shaw

A marine toxicologist, explorer, author, and passionate ocean advocate, Susan Shaw is widely known for her pioneering research on the toxic legacy of man-made chemicals in the ocean environment. An outspoken and influential voice on ocean pollution, Shaw dove in the Gulf of Mexico oil slick in May 2010 and has informed the national debate on the hazards of chemical dispersants.

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She is credited as the first scientist to show that flame retardant chemicals used in consumer products have contaminated marine mammals and commercially important fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic. Her research has influenced policy decisions in the US and abroad, including the Maine legislature’s decision to ban the neurotoxic flame retardant Deca, and the subsequent US phase-out of the chemical.

Shaw chairs The Explorers Club State of the Oceans Forums highlighting solutions to the crisis facing the world’s oceans. She is a keynote speaker at universities and major venues around the world. In November 2011, she delivered the keynote address on marine pollution at the Swedish Society for Marine Sciences Conference Visions of the Sea that was attended by King Carl Gustav.

A Fulbright Scholar with dual degrees from Columbia University in film and public health/environmental health sciences, Shaw published Overexposure, the first book on the health hazards of photographic chemicals, in 1983 with Ansel Adams. She is a Professor at The School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, State University of New York, Albany, and serves on the International Panel on Chemical Pollution, a select group of scientists advising policymakers on the management of toxic chemicals in developed and developing countries.

Paul Reed Smith

Paul Reed Smith – guitar-maker, musician, songwriter and the Founder and Managing General Partner of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, was born in Bethesda, Maryland. He made his first playable guitar for extra credit at St. Mary’s College. In 1985, he opened Paul Reed Smith Guitars. Today the company is the third largest electric guitar manufacturer in America.

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Paul Reed Smith presides over research and development of new PRS products, serves as a mentor through motivational lectures to Maryland high school students, cherishes his role as husband and parent and is an accomplished guitarist who, despite his very busy schedule, has played with Carlos Santana, Mark Tremonti, Chuck Brown and a host of other notable artists and continues to write, perform and record music with The Paul Reed Smith Band.

Isobel Coleman

Dr. Isobel Coleman is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, where she directs CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, & Democracy program. Her areas of expertise include the political economy of the Middle East, democratization, civil society, economic development, educational reform and gender issues. She is the author and coauthor of numerous books, most recently: Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions.

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Dr. Coleman’s writings have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and Forbes, and online venues such as and She also writes the blog “Democracy in Development” on She is a frequent speaker at academic, business, and policy conferences. In 2010, she served as a track leader at the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2011, Newsweek named her as one of � Women Who Shake the World.”

Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Coleman was CEO of a healthcare services company and a partner with McKinsey & Co. in New York. A Marshall scholar, she holds a BA in public policy and East Asian studies from Princeton University and MPhil and DPhil degrees in international relations from Oxford University. She serves on several non-profit boards, including Plan USA, Student Sponsor Partners and the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Mickey Edwards

Former Congressman Mickey Edwards is a lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is also vice president of the Aspen Institute. Edwards served as a member of Congress for 16 years, during which time he was a senior member of both the House Appropriations and Budget Committees, and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations.

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Liz Ogbu

A designer, social innovator, and academic, Liz is an expert on sustainable design and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Liz has a long history of engagement in the design for social impact movement.

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Her projects have been widely exhibited and recognized both in the U.S. and internationally. Named as one of Public Interest Design’s Top 100, Liz is also a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and a 2012 Next City Vanguard. She earned architecture degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University.

Michel Nischan

Chef Michel Nischan wears many hats, from dynamic restaurant owner, award-winning cookbook author, and media personality to food policy advocate and non-profit foundation CEO. A proponent of sustainable farming, local and regional food systems, and heritage recipes, Michel has long been a leader in the movement to honor local, pure, simple, and delicious cooking.

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Ason of displaced farmers, Nischan grew up with a deep appreciation for sustainable agriculture and those who work the land. As a professional chef and advocate for a more healthful, organic and sustainable food future, he has built on those childhood values and become a catalyst for change and new initiatives in local and regional food systems.

Pierce Freelon & Apple Juice Kid

Pierce Freelon is a musician, professor, and artivist with a passion for creativity and community. He has taught music, African studies, and political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. He is also the co-founder of Beat Making Lab a program that has partnered with PBS to build music studios in international community centers.

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Rachael Chong

Rachael Chong is Founder & CEO of Catchafire, the nation’s leading online pro bono network that connects talent and purpose. Prior to Catchafire, Rachael helped start up BRAC USA by strategically utilizing pro bono talent. Rachael founded Catchafire with a vision to create a more efficient and effective social good sector, and a world where it is commonplace to serve for the greater good.

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She has a Masters of Public Policy Degree from Duke University and graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University.

Mason Peck

As the chief technology advocate, Mason Peck will help communicate how NASA technologies benefit space missions and the day-to-day lives of Americans. NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist coordinates, tracks and integrates technology investments across the agency and works to infuse innovative discoveries into future missions. The office also documents, demonstrates and communicates the societal impact of NASA’s technology investments.

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Peck serves as NASA’s chief technologist through an intergovernmental personnel agreement with Cornell, where he is on the faculty as an associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and teaches in Cornell’s Systems Engineering Program.

Peck has a broad background in aerospace technology, which comes from nearly 20 years in industry and academia. He has worked with NASA as an engineer on a variety of technology programs, including the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts sponsored his academic research in modular spacecraft architectures and propellant-less propulsion, and the International Space Station currently hosts his research group’s flight experiment in microchip-size spacecraft.

Lale Labuko

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Lale Labuko witnessed the unspeakable and spoke out. At age 15 he saw elders from his tribe in Ethiopia tear a two-year-old girl from her mother’s arms. The child was never seen again. On that day, he heard the word “mingi” for the first time, an ancient term to describe a cursed infant deserving death. He co-founded Omo Child to stop the ritualistic killing of infants and children.

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Jeff Speck

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. The Christian Science Monitor called his recent book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, “timely and important, a delightful, insightful, irreverent work.”

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Monique Sternin

Monique and her husband Jerry developed the Positive Deviance approach over the last two decades. In addition to using the PD approach to fight childhood malnutrition in the developing world, Monique has promoted the use of the PD approach in various sectors, such as advocacy against FGM in Egypt, condom usage for commercial sex workers in Myanmar, and maternal & newborn care in Pakistan.

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Since it was first applied in Vietnam, PD has been used to inform nutrition programs in over 40 countries by USAID, World Vision, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, CARE, Plan International, Indonesian Ministry of Health, Peace Corps, Food for the Hungry, among others.

Monique’s passion for the PD approach stems from its successful impact in improving lives of thousands of women and children throughout the world and providing a powerful tool for communities to solve seemingly intractable problems.

JJ Rendon

Besides being a psychologist, communicator, publicist, and film director, J.J Rendon has gained recognition throughout the world for his remarkable work as a political strategist. Over the last thirty years, Rendon has advised over five thousand political campaigns for executive and legislative levels of government, both provincial and municipal. He has been the recipient of several honorary awards for his defense of democracy, freedom, human rights, and educational support.

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Claire Fraser

Claire M. Fraser, PhD, is a world-renowned scientist who launched a new field of study – microbial genomics and, through her ground-breaking research and pioneering leadership in this field, has fundamentally changed our understanding of the diversity and evolution of microbial life on Earth. Her collective work over two decades, has made sustained and transformational changes to our understanding of microbial biology.

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Dr. Fraser’s seminal work on the 2001 Amerithrax investigation led to the identification of four genetic mutations in the anthrax spores that enabled the FBI to trace the material back to its original source. This pioneering effort catalyzed the development of the new field of microbial forensics. Since 2002, Dr. Fraser has served on five committees that have focused on the role of genomics in biomedical research and biodefense and she was a founding member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.

Her numerous awards and honors include the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (2002), the highest honor bestowed on research scientists by the Department of Energy AAAS Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005) the Promega Biotechnology Award, the American Society of Microbiology (2005) Fellowship, American Academy of Microbiology (2005) Mostly highly cited investigator in microbiology for previous ten years, Thomson Scientific ICI Charles Thom Award, Society for Industrial Microbiology (2006) Pioneer of Science Award, Hauptmann Woodward Institute (2008) Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame (2010) Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame (2011) and election into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2011).

She has served on many advisory panels for all of the major Federal funding agencies, the National Research Council, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community. Most recently, she is helping with Intel’s Science Talent Search Committee, and volunteers with universities, research institutions, and other non-profit groups because of her commitment to the education of our next generation of scientists. She graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Biology and earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Austin Troy

Austin Troy addresses issues at the intersection of urban planning and environmental sustainability. He is author of The Very Hungry City, which looks at how cities consume energy, what makes some cities more efficient than others, and what rising global energy prices will mean for cities. Additionally, he is co-principal investigator of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of the National Science Foundation’s two urban Long-Term Ecological Research projects.

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Educated at Yale College (B.A.), Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (M.F.), and University of California Berkeley (Ph.D.), he worked for twelve years as a faculty member at University of Vermont before coming to Colorado. Additionally, he is co-principal investigator of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of the National Science Foundation’s two urban Long-Term Ecological Research projects and he served for four years as a planning commissioner for the city of Burlington VT. Originally from Los Angeles, he currently lives in Denver, CO with his wife and two sons.

Alexis Casson

Alexis Casson wears many hats: cinematographer, editor, photographer, and she also dabbles in simple web design. As a creator and storyteller Alexis’ passion lies with using art as a way to tell the stories of others. Alexis loves the idea of dissecting social issues and creating works that explore topics far beneath the surface. In 2011, Alexis, along with business partner Caneisha Haynes, created the web series The Peculiar Kind.

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Andy Shallal

Andy Shallal moved to the U.S. from Iraq when he was 11 years old—the same year that Saddam Hussein came to power in his native country. In 2005 he opened Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. Andy’s mission for this restaurant was to have a gathering place for people of all different incomes, races, and identities to come together and exchange ideas about social and political issues. Busboys and Poets today remains a popular restaurant and community resource for artists, activists, writers, thinkers, and dreamers.

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Jimmy Lin

Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS, is a 2012 TED Fellow and Founder & President of Rare Genomics Institute, the world’s first platform to enable any community to leverage cutting-edge biotechnology to advance understanding of any rare disease. Partnering with 18 of the top medical institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford, RGI helps custom design personalized research projects for diseases so rare that no organization exists to help.

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Jennifer Golbeck

Jennifer Golbeck is Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research has focused on developing computational methods for inferring information about people and their relationships online. She uses this both to develop personalized web applications and to inform users about the hidden information they unknowingly divulge through their activities.

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Henry Evans & Chad Jenkins

Henry Evans was a healthy 40 year-old father of four when he experienced a stem-brain stroke, caused by an unknown genetic birth defect, and woke up with extensive paralysis. Today, he is non-vocal, but is able to move his head and one finger. Odest Chadwicke Jenkins, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Brown University. They will be showcasing the power of robots to assist those with severe physical disabilities.

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Watch Derek Braun’s talk »

Derek Braun

Derek Braun is a professor and geneticist at Gallaudet University’s Department of Science, Technology and Mathematics. Gallaudet is the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. He oversees the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, where deaf undergraduate students perform research alongside deaf faculty. Research interests include mutations in the connexin 26 gene, which are responsible for up to half of congenital deafness in many world populations.

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Chris Ullman

Chris Ullman is the four-time national and international whistling champion. From the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where he performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, to an Oval Office serenade of President George W. Bush, as well as 350 personalized Happy Birthday whistles a year, Chris rejoices in sharing his art with people around the world. By day, Chris is a Managing Director at The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager.

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Angel Gil-Ordóñez

The former Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain, Angel Gil-Ordóñez has conducted symphonic music, opera and ballet throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America. Currently, Mr. Gil-Ordóñez holds the positions of Music Director of PostClassical Ensemble in Washington DC, Principal Guest Conductor of New York’s Perspectives Ensemble, and Music Director of the Georgetown University Orchestra in DC.

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Born in Madrid and an American citizen since 2009, he worked closely with Sergiu Celibidache in Germany for more than six years. He also studied with Pierre Boulez and Iannis Xenakis in France. Mr. Gil-Ordóñez serves as advisor for education and programming for Trinitate Philarmonia, a program in Leon, Mexico, modeled on Venezuela’s El Sistema, conducting its youth orchestra and choir several weeks per year.

A specialist in the Spanish repertoire, Mr. Gil-Ordóñez has recorded four CDs devoted to Spanish composers, in addition to PostClassical Ensemble’s Virgil Thomson and Copland CD/DVDs on Naxos (Artist of the Week for both releases).

In 2006, the king of Spain awarded Mr. Gil-Ordóñez the country’s highest civilian decoration, the Royal Order of Queen Isabella, for his work in advancing Spanish culture around the world, in particular for performing and teaching Spanish music in its cultural context. Mr. Gil-Ordóñez received a WAMMIE award from the Washington DC association of professional musicians in the category of best conductor in 2011.

Karen Rennich

As the Project Manager of the Bee Informed Partnership and the APHIS National Survey, Karen Rennich is based out of the University of Maryland’s Entomology Department. She works closely with all members of the BIP team and other organizations throughout the U.S. and gets to tackle everything from data analysis to field work and all jobs in between to keep BIP’s goals in sight and to keep the project moving forward.

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Juan Llanos

A Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, Juan has over a decade’s experience of building and managing AML/CFT and regulatory compliance programs for multiple international jurisdictions, including Canada, Italy, the United States and Spain, and is recognized as a pioneer in the development of compliance and risk management best practices for the money transfer industry. He is a member of the Bitcoin Foundation’s Regulatory Affairs Committee, and writes about risk and virtual currencies.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith is the Director of the United States government’s Social Innovation Fund, which operates under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The SIF is a CNCS program that mobilizes private and public resources to grow community-based nonprofits. Previously, Michael served as Senior Vice President for Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, where he led social innovation strategy, including investments, programs and partnerships.

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Michael has also been responsible for Case Foundation sector-building initiatives like the recent Be Fearless campaign, seeking to foster more big bets and risk-taking in the social sector, as well as the Foundation’s effort to catalyze greater use of impact investing to drive social change. Before joining the Case Foundation, Michael worked at the Beaumont Foundation of America, PowerUP: Bridging the Digital Divide, Inc., the Family Center Boys and Girls Club, and the National Crime Prevention Council. He also served on the staff of Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts and holds a B.A. in Communications from Marymount University.

Gerard Ryle

Gerard Ryle is the director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington, D.C., where he oversees more than 160 member journalists in over 60 countries. In April 2013, ICIJ published leaked financial documents comprising tens of thousands of offshore accounts, in which many prominent international figures were implicated. That document was the product of a collaboration of thirty-eight news organizations including The Guardian, the BBC, and The Washington Post.

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Ben Miller

Ben is a co-founder of Fundrise. Ben’s responsibilities involve strategic partnerships, deal underwriting, real estate development, PR as well as setting the long-term strategy and goals for the company. Ben has 15 years of experience in real estate and finance, and he has acquired, developed, and financed more than $500 million of property in his time as Managing Partner of WestMill Capital Partners and President of Western Development Corporation.

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Ben is also co-founder of Popularise, a real estate crowdsourcing website.

Carrie Irvin

Carrie Chimerine Irvin is passionate about making sure every child has the chance to attend a great school. After a career in education policy and public education reform, she accidentally became an education entrepreneur when she and a colleague founded Charter Board Partners. The nonprofit is dedicated to improving the quality of public charter schools by helping them build stronger boards of directors

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Lisa Guernsey

Lisa Guernsey is Director of the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative. Ms. Guernsey focuses on elevating dialogue about early childhood education, in part by editing the Early Ed Watch blog, and spotlighting new approaches for helping disadvantaged children succeed. Ms. Guernsey’s most recent book is Screen Time: How Electronic Media – From Baby Videos to Educational Software – Affects Your Young Child.

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A journalist by training, Ms. Guernsey has been a technology and education writer at The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education and has contributed to several national publications, including Newsweek, Time, The Washington Post, and USA TODAY. She also blogs occasionally at The Huffington Post and is on Twitter @LisaGuernsey.

Matthew Green

Matthew Green is an Assistant Research Professor of Computer Science at the Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on computer security and cryptography, and particularly the way that cryptography can be used to promote individual privacy. His work includes techniques to securely access medical databases, enhance the anonymity of Bitcoin, and to analyze deployed security systems. Prior to joining the Johns Hopkins faculty he served as a Senior Technical Staff Member at AT&T Laboratories.

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Laurenellen McCann

Laurenellen McCann is the Sunlight Foundation’s National Policy Manager, working to help build, expand, and support transparency and, in particular, open data initiatives around the country and the world. She leads Sunlight’s work on state and local issues. Laurenellen also directs Sunlight’s largest annual community gathering, TransparencyCamp, an “unconference” for knowledge exchange between open government advocates that’s inspired similar events across the globe.

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Prior to joining Sunlight, Laurenellen worked at NPR and affiliate stations. When not fighting for smarter civic data, she’s often found thinking about how we interact in public space and cooking with vegetables. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Government and a passion for the information commons.

Anwar Dafa-Alla

Anwar Fatihelrahman Ahmed Dafa-Alla,PhD, is Adjucant Professor of Computer Science at Sudan University for Science and Technology and Neelian University and head of Information Technology department at Garden City College for Science & Technology in Khartoum, Sudan. Anwar is a special guest of TEDxMidAtlantic this year and is beloved by the TEDx community for his giving spirit and tireless efforts to advance knowledge throughout the world.

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Anwar is deeply involved in efforts to develop the Sudanese intellectual community, and he reports about the happenings in Sudan to the rest of the world. He is restless, a multi-tasker, and a huge fan of Hans Rosling.

City of the Sun

City of the Sun was created in 2010, in the subways, streets, and local bars of New York City. They began as “buskers,” or street performers, and their driving rhythms and fluid melodies immediately caught the attention of New York locals. Describing City’s sound can be a bit of a challenge—words never seem to give it justice. It is distinctly eclectic—a mélange of flamenco, blues, and indie/folk rock.

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The band’s influences include Rodrigo y Gabriela, Led Zeppelin, Al di Meola, Dave Matthews Band, David Broza, Pink Floyd, John Mayer, Paco de Lucia, John Butler Trio, Jack Johnson, Bob Dylan, and Bon Iver. Their smooth tones are accompanied by technical flourishes that only enhance the musical experience. Audiences are amazed by the skill the young self-taught guitarists have cultivated—fans have described them as “tremendous”, “powerful”, “mesmerizing”, and “a re-invention of acoustic music.”

Today City of the Sun is made up of lead guitarist John Pita and rhythm guitarist Avi Snow. The band’s notable performances include famed production Sleep No More, acclaimed Broadway show Once cast parties, and Paul Rowland’s Ford Project Gallery. In early 2013 they supported rapper/poet K’naan on his nationwide U.S. tour and opened for Chromeo and DJ Questlove at a Seeds of Peace charity event in New York City. This fall, they have been invited to play several TED Conference events and most recently opened for Marky Ramone (The Ramones) at Irving Plaza . They continue to develop their sound, building upon the guitar rhythm and riff foundation with vocals, percussion and electronic soundscapes.

Jen Oxley

Jennifer Oxley was born in Hollywood, California and caught the filmmaking bug early – she made her first film at the age of seven. Since then she has directed fifteen short films for Sesame Street, as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, Please, Baby, Please. Her latest film, The Music Box, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection.

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Jeremy Jones

Jeremy Jones is a young entrepreneur from Bowie, Maryland. He specializes in brand marketing, promotion and advertising for local businesses, entertainers and corporations. In 2010, Jeremy and his business partner Matthew Talley jumpstarted the DMVFollowers brand. With various business ventures with AT&T, recording artist Wale, and a host of others, Jeremy has made a great splash in the business and entertainment culture in the D.C. area, as well as the Atlanta area with the brand GAFollowers.

Jackie Savitz

Jacqueline Savitz is Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans. In this role she oversees Oceana’s Responsible Fishing, Seafood Fraud and Climate and Energy Campaigns. She also recently led a feasibility study to develop plans for Oceana’s Save the Oceans, Feed the World project. Over the past decade, Savitz has developed and led Oceana campaigns including its Climate and Energy Campaign, its Mercury Campaign and its first pollution campaign which was focused on cruise ship pollution.

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Prior to working with Oceana, Savitz served as Executive Director of Coast Alliance, a network of over 600 organizations around the country working to protect U.S. coasts from pollution and development. In the mid-nineties, Jacqueline worked as an environmental policy analyst with the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., where she focused on the public health effects of water and air pollution and authored a series of reports on water pollution, air quality standards, fish contamination and medical waste disposal. Jacqueline first worked as an environmental scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where she spent five years working on Chesapeake Bay issues.

Bayeté Ross Smith

Bayeté Ross Smith is an artist, photographer, and educator living in New York City. He began his career as a photojournalist with the Knight Ridder Newspaper Corporation. His collaborative projects “Along The Way” and “Question Bridge: Black Males” have shown at the 2008 and 2012 Sundance Film Festival, respectively. His work has also been featured at the Sheffield Doc Fest in Sheffield England and the L.A. Film Festival.

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He has also been involved in a variety of community and public art projects with organizations such as the Jerome Foundation, Alternate Roots, The Laundromat Project, the city of San Francisco, the city of Atlanta, the Hartford YMCA and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency.

Bayeté’s accolades include a FSP/Jerome Fellowship, as well as fellowships and residencies with the McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, the Kala Institute, Berkeley, California, the Laundromat Project, New York, NY and Can Serrat International Art Center, Barcelona, Spain.

His photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines, including Dis:Integration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009), Black: A Celebration of A Culture (2005), The Spirit Of Family (2002) SPE Exposure: The Society of Photographic Education Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Working Mother Magazine.

As an educator, He has taught on the collegiate level and mentored youth through community based art programs. He has worked with the International Center of Photography, New York University, Parsons, the New School for Design, the California College of the Arts, and numerous K-12 and college level courses. Bayeté is currently the Associate Program Director for KAVI (Kings against Violence Initiative), a violence prevention non-profit organization in New York that has a partnership with Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

He is represented by beta pictoris gallery/Maus Contemporary.

Misra Walker

Misra Walker is currently a junior at Cooper Union and is a Fine Arts Major. Her work blurs the line between activism and art by interrogating the history and politics that make up the backbone of her community. She is the founder of The House of Spoof, an art collective in Hunts Point, The Bronx, that hosts gallery shows for emerging artists and provides free art classes for the community in honor of their friend Glenn “Spoof” Wright who passed away in 2009.


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