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THE MG BLOG: Now & Ink

What's the life of a Modern Gentleman all about? Find out here, as Jason Tesauro and his collaborators share their latest discoveries and epiphanies.


Filtering by Category: travel

The Best Thing We Ate at Charleston Wine + Food

Kristel Poole

Whew! What a whirlwind trip! 

Jason and I returned from Charleston Wine + Food Festival late last night still dreaming of one incredible dish from the night before. We arrived at Cooper River Brewing Company for "Fowl Mouth," an upbeat event featuring all things winged-fowl, and checked in at our table with Virginia Wine Board and Barboursville Vineyards, clinking glasses with friends Rachel from Boxwood Winery and Pat from Early Mountain Vineyards. Dozens of tables were set up across the parking lot, and the tempting smell of barbecue smoke began to fill the air as acclaimed chefs began cooking their quail, duck, pheasant and turkey.

We walked from table to table, meeting chefs and discussing everything from bourbon to Virginia wine to Lambstock. We were being fed well and treated with the warm hospitality for which Charleston is known. We tasted pheasant boudin, bacon-wrapped quail, pickled chicken hearts, cold-pressed turkey, pistachio with foie gras, and barbecued duck with Vietnamese noodles, but one dish in particular stole the show, and now, we can't stop talking about it.

I picked up my plate featuring fried Manchester Farms quail tossed in Tennessee-style hot sauce over crusty Carolina gold rice sourdough with housemade buttermilk ranch and fermented green tomato, a play off the classic Tennessee hot chicken, and bit right in. My eyes widened, and as I looked up, I could see the excitement flicker in Jason's eyes, too. This was amazing; the flavors were perfectly balanced. The quail was juicy, the skin crispy, and the sauce fiery. The heat was offset by soft bread, creamy ranch, and tangy pickles. I gushed, "Jason, this is the best thing I've eaten all week." He agreed.

"It's from a catering company," he said.

"Stop," I replied. I couldn't believe it.

There's something especially inviting about a chef who displays absolute humility as you shower him with heartfelt praise of his work, and Executive Chef Todd Mazurek of Salthouse Catering is no exception. Chef Todd received his culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University and has worked in some of Charleston's best restaurants, so he knows flavor and technique like the back of his tong-wielding hand. Obviously passionate about his craft, we look forward to seeing him again soon – especially if he's cooking! 

Chef, if you want to come to Richmond and make us hot quail, we've got a bottle of Octagon with your name on it.

– Kristel Poole

Sail Across the Sun: a Costa Maya Cruise with Train

Kristel Poole

Screenshot courtesy of

Screenshot courtesy of

Hi, everyone. Kristel here, checking in while Jason is playing captain's bar master somewhere between Tampa and Costa Maya. Wait, what? That's right, Jason and his entire family are on the Sail Across the Sun cruise with famous musical act Train.

Screenshot courtesy of

Screenshot courtesy of

What's he doing exactly? Well, because of Jason's extensive beverage experience and a little mix of being in the right place at the right time, he was asked to lead mixology classes on Train's 4th Annual Sail Across the Sun cruise. The cruise features other recording artists such as Matt Nathanson, Natasha Bedingfield, Pat McGee and Arrested Development, plus tattoo artist-to-the-stars Craig Beasley, wine expert James Foster of Save Me (San Francisco), and of course, our very own Jason Tesauro.

Screenshot courtesy of Photo by Kristel Poole

Screenshot courtesy of
Photo by Kristel Poole

Screenshot courtesy of

Screenshot courtesy of

I know he'll have lots of stories and photos to share when they return, but it may take a bit to get them to you because Jason is hopping off the plane and running (quite literally, I'm sure) to the podium to host The 6th Annual Elbys Awards. If you see him there, be sure to compliment his fresh tan!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Highlights From the Food World’s Most Game-Changing Festival | The New York Times

jason tesauro

Rasmus Malmstrøm. The entrance to the fifth edition of Denmark’s MAD Symposium, which took place Aug. 28-29 in Copenhagen.

Rasmus Malmstrøm. The entrance to the fifth edition of Denmark’s MAD Symposium, which took place Aug. 28-29 in Copenhagen.


At the fifth MAD Symposium — Denmark’s annual culinary twist on the Butterfly Effect, where small acts lead to large outcomes — a young cook from India, Ashwami Manjrekar, landed a gig with Rosio Sanchez, the Mexican-American chef from Chicago who opened a now-famous taqueria in Torvehallerne. That two women from disparate cultures on opposite sides of the earth found common ground over tacos under a circus tent is just one example of how MAD Symposium is arguably the most impactful food movement around.

Founded by Noma restaurant’s chef/owner/visionary, René Redzepi, MAD (the Danish word for “food”) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to spread ideas, forge new relationships, discuss injustices and update – in real time – the global playbook for an ethical, sustainable food culture. This year, organizers pared the guest list from 1,500 applicants to a vital 350 catalysts from 43 countries who promised to engage, collaborate, expostulate, break bread — and break barriers.

From August 28-29, attendees were delivered by kanalrundfart (canal boat) to an undeveloped peninsula jutting between the Baltic Sea and Atlantic Ocean, to explore the MAD5 theme of Tomorrow’s Kitchen via two questions: What do we hope our kitchens will be like in the future? And what can we do today to make those dreams a reality? After hot debate, cold beer, laughs, tears and enough Norwegian mackerel to trigger a tent-wide omega-3 brain-boost, one truth emerged: The answer is not in the food, but in the people behind it. Barefoot in rolled-up pants, the DC-based chef/humanitarian José Andrés, one of this year’s keynote speakers, paced over pine straw laid inside the not-for-profit organization’s signature red circus tent — where he delivered a TED Talk–like sermon imploring cooks, restaurateurs, suppliers, food writers and tastemakers to “provide for others what you want for yourself.” Heads nodded and fingers snapped in united affirmation.

With nearly 100 different sessions running throughout the symposium, countless secondary topics – from millennial chefs and microbial terroir to alpha females and food waste – spurred important sidebars. Yet, the two big issues on MAD5’s main stage were unmistakable: the mental and physical health of industry insiders, and the importance of nurturing the food community’s next generation. “If you want to go fast, go alone,” Andrés said. “If you want to go far, go together.”

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Should You Go to Cuba?

jason tesauro

For discovery — urban or rural, musical or architectural — Cuba is fascinating and spectacularly Instagrammable, albeit in a SoHo-meets-Beirut kind of way. If you're an early adopter who treats snafus and improvising as part of the fun, get cracking before authenticity is overrun by tourists and kitsch. But if you prefer luxury over adventure, with telecom and concierge services as seamless as high-speed wifi, then wait a year (or five) for things to smooth out. 

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