The woman who once marched up to the French chef Jean-Louis Palladin and told him a dish didn't have enough salt can no longer taste the difference between a walnut and a pecan, or smell whether the mushrooms are burning. The list of eight languages she once understood has been reduced to English.
Like farmers eyeing the sky for a welcome rain cloud, people have been peering through the White House fence at the organic kitchen garden, searching for signs of activity. During the Obama administration, the garden's heirloom vegetables and stream of visiting chefs and schoolchildren became a stage set for Michelle Obama, who built her legacy on promoting good cooking, healthful eating and exercise.
Dua ne Nutter thinks fry ing seafood is a skill every Southern cook should master. "They'll let you slide if you can't make a biscuit, but if you mess up the fish, they're like, 'Dude, are you from New York?'" says the chef, who plans to open seafood-centric Southern National with restaurateur Reggie Washington in downtown Mobile, Alabama, this April.