You didn’t seriously think that a week would go by without any Mike Isabella stories, did you? Last week, we talked to the Top Chef alum about life after Bravo and published the online version of Todd Kliman’s review of his sophomore restaurant endeavor, Bandolero.
Now, it’s time to explore Chef Mike’s turn as a globe-trotting culinary diplomat, as chronicled by the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema. Sietsema tells us that Isabella is one of 20 “state chefs” (the full list will be revealed at an event tomorrow) who will work with the State Department as an unpaid “food ambassador.” Per Sietsema, Isabella was planning to travel to Greece and Turkey this month to research his forthcoming 14th Street restaurant, Kapnos, and has “added some embassy stops and restaurant and vendor meetings to his overseas itinerary” in keeping with his new diplomatic responsibilities. Local toques who join Isabella in the program are José Andrés, fellow Top Chef alum Bryan Voltaggio, onetime White House chef Walter Scheib, and Rasika’s Vikram Sunderam.
In other Isabella news, the City Paper’s Jessica Sidman reminds us that the chef’s cookbook, Crazy Good Italian, will be available nationally beginning September 25. Here in Washington, however, we can get a sneak peek at Graffiato on the 23rd, where Isabella will be signing copies from 11:30 AM to 2 PM. The book costs $35, and includes recipes for Graffiato favorites such as Brussels sprouts with pancetta and maple glaze; burrata with peas, pickled ramps, and mint; and, yes, the legendary pepperoni sauce.