Culinary Masters Competition


Our best tasting issue ever - Meet 5 of the world's greatest chefs and their nominees for the top new artist of the next generation. Plus, Ferrari in France: rare 250 GTOs rally from Champagne to Paris. Grand Openings: new hotels and resorts in Italy, Japan, Turkey & Vietnam.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader: Herbie Hancock

Over his five-decade career, jazz musician Herbie Hancock has played and collaborated with everyone from Miles Davis to Dave Matthews to former President Bill Clinton. The 14-time Grammy Award winner attributes his success in music to his ability to reinvent himself. Even today, Hancock is always expanding his repertoire and staying on top of the […]

Style: Signature Stones

George Frederick Kunz was the Indiana Jones of his day. Kunz—who in 1879, at age 23, became Tiffany & Co.’s first chief gemologist—climbed the Ural Mountains of Russia, explored the African deserts, and braved the steppes of Siberia in search of rare and precious gemstones. His tenacity is matched today by Tiffany’s team of buyers, […]

Robb Design Portfolio: First in Class

1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Ferrari’s most storied line of road cars began with the vehicle shown here, chassis number 0503 GT. It is the patriarch of a series with many V-12-engined variants, including the fabled 250 GTO (see “A Toast to the 250 GTO,” page 138). The elegant Pinin Farina design—built in aluminum by […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Metamorphosis

In ancient Egypt, scarab beetles symbolized resurrection; in the hands of the Parisian jeweler Lorenz Bäumer (, the sacred insects have been reborn as luminous brooches with an alluring secret: Press on a gemstone near each beetle’s head, and the jeweled wings spring open to emit a subtle fragrance. Bäumer spent months experimenting with a […]

Wheels: Shedding Some Light

The SL models from Mercedes-Benz have consistently offered drivers technical innovation, blue-chip styling, and reliable performance since the carmaker introduced the series nearly six decades ago with the 300SL, the original Gullwing. The new, 2013 SL63 AMG, the model’s sixth generation, delivers in this same vein, and it is absolutely true to its Sport Leicht designation. […]

Wings & Water: Sea Change

Generations have passed since cruise ships were high-society affairs that called for black ties and ball gowns. Rather, at some point in the mid-20th century, cruise liners cast aside galas and gourmet cuisine in favor of all-you-can-eat buffets and waterslides. Hyperbolically named ships like Majesty of the Seas and SuperStar Aquarius began dumping thousands of […]

Oh My, Darlings

Though Darlings Danama is the 130th vessel to launch from CRN’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy, and the sixth yacht in the builder’s 197-foot series, this sleek new charter vessel is unquestionably one-of-a-kind. The nearly 50-year-old shipyard, which joined the Ferretti Group in 1999, worked with the designers at Studio Zuccon International Project (a longtime Ferretti […]

Castello di Casole

On a sultry evening in June, a group of impeccably dressed ladies—members of the local gentry—gathered in the loggia of Castello di Casole to reminisce about the parties they attended there decades ago. The host of those glamorous and (if the local gossip is to be believed) scandalous soirees of yore was Italian director Luchino […]

InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

The Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort opened in June on central Vietnam’s lush Son Tra Peninsula, not far from the former R&R facility (nicknamed I&I, for Intoxication & Intercourse) that housed U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. In recent years, this idyllic stretch on the South China Sea has become a hotbed for beach resorts, […]

D-Hotel Maris

From its setting atop a remote hill on the Datça Peninsula, D-Hotel Maris reigns over an undulating landscape at the meeting of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, one headland south of Bodrum on Tur­key’s sparkling Turquoise Coast. The Turkish conglomerate Dogus Holding acquired the resort in 2010 and embarked on a nearly two-year, no-expense-spared redesign […]

The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa

Okinawa has been a favored tropical destination for generations of Japanese. With the recent opening of its first luxury-brand hotel, the 160-island chain is now primed to become popular the world over. The former Kise Bettei, an upscale resort built on the chain’s main island in 2007, closed for eight months of renovations prior to […]

Travel: Wales Tale

“YAAAAHoooooo!”   A “coasteerer” clad in a wet suit, life preserver, helmet, and sneakers whoops at the top of his lungs as he cannonballs from a 12-foot-high cliff into the Irish Sea off of St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, in southwestern Wales. The participant in this quirky local sport will also scramble up rocks, climb along slippery […]

Spirits: Sovereign Savor

In 1939, King George VI became the first reigning British monarch to make a royal tour of Canada. To mark the momentous occasion, Canada’s first fam­ily of whiskey, the Bronfmans, created a blend of some 50 corn, rye, and barley whiskeys, many of which hailed from their distillery in LaSalle, Quebec, which they established in […]

Sport: Fly Away Home

The Eurocopter AS350 Astar landed in our backyard at about 9 am. Within a few minutes we were flying high over Revelstoke, British Columbia, our small group of skiers looking down on the Columbia River while our pilot searched for an opening in the thick fog above. Powder-covered peaks waited on the other side of […]

Home Electronics: Sound that Stacks Up

Antisocial audio purists and late-night listeners were until recently the primary users of headphones, but the popularity of iPods and other portable devices and the prevalence of streaming digital files have catapulted them to the forefront of the music scene. And while even mid-priced headphones eclipse most so-called high-end speakers in their presentation of sonic […]

Autos: Pure and Not Simple

When the Boxster concept car hit the show circuit in 1993, the fresh design foreshadowed Porsche’s return to a no-frills sports car reminiscent of the marque’s 1950s-era 550 Spyder. The Boxster was the first true mid-engine Porsche since the unloved 914, and when production began in 1996, Porsche purists hailed it as the brand’s best-handling […]

Collectibles: Catch a Falling Star

On October 9, 1992, thousands of people along the United States’ Eastern Seaboard watched a chunk of cosmic debris dart across the sky on its way to landing in Peekskill, N.Y., where it hit a parked car in the final seconds of its journey. At least 16 spectators captured the meteorite’s flight on video; some […]

Golf: Links to the Old World

Befitting its name, Nova Scotia is a verdant, windswept coastland that looks just like Scotland. With the opening of Cabot Links—a delightfully authentic links golf course on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island—the Canadian province now plays like Scotland, too.   Located in the wee village of Inverness, Cabot Links possesses all the traits that mark […]

Watches: Youth Evolution

The current CEO of the Geneva-based watch brand Romain Jerome, Manuel Emch, describes his company in the years before he was hired as “some kind of design-and-marketing laboratory.” Under its former top executive, the mercurial Yvan Arpa, the brand garnered much attention for its imaginative designs, but some of its more extreme experiments—watches laced with material […]

Wardrobe: Travelin’ Man

Gucci has long provided accessories for traveling in style. Indeed, the Italian fashion house, whose offerings now range from car interiors to iPad cases, was founded by Guccio Gucci, in 1921 in Florence, as a luggage atelier.   Gucci’s signature clothing designs, bearing the GG logo or a horsebit embellishment, were made famous by celebrities […]

Elements of Style

Defying mechanical convention is a point of pride among Switzerland’s boutique watchmakers, and in this spirit, newcomer HYT is staking out the field of liquid mechanics as its métier. The company’s premier timepiece, the H1 ($59,000 in black diamond-like carbon with pink gold), is striking both in its appearance and in its timekeeping technique: It […]

FrontRunners: 2013 Aston Martin Vanquish

Ending a five-year absence, the Aston Martin Vanquish ( has returned to the marque’s lineup, replacing the DBS as the flagship model. Aston Martin is now taking orders for the car and will begin deliveries to U.S. customers in early 2013. The new Vanquish, priced from $280,000, has a sleek but muscular shape that appears […]

FrontRunners: Epica Proportions

Fiart Mare has launched 132 different models since producing its first vessel, in 1960. The Italian boatbuilder’s latest, the Fiart Mare Epica 58 (, is its largest. The 58-foot weekend cruiser, priced at $2.2 million (including U.S. delivery), offers such above-deck features as sun pads forward and aft, a wet bar, a carbon-fiber hard top, […]

FrontRunners: Modern Chimes

When Bulgari acquired the Swiss watch brand Daniel Roth two years ago, the fit seemed an odd one given the traditional style of the watchmaker’s timepieces and the bold designs made by the Italian jeweler and luxury-goods company. The new, $257,000 Bulgari Daniel Roth Carillon Tourbillon ( represents the most harmonious pairing of the two […]

FrontRunners: Latin Class

The Italian pen maker Omas honors its country’s capital with the inaugural release from its La Citte collection, which celebrates significant cities throughout the world. The metal barrel of the Omas Roma ( is coated in cotton resin and engraved with a rendering of the Colosseum and the Roman numeral DCCLIII, the year (BC) Rome […]

FrontRunners: Circular Sound

MBL toned things down for its MBL Corona Line ( of audio equipment. The components are designed to power or complement the German company’s more compact Radialstrahlers—loudspeakers that radiate sound 360 degrees—not its power-hungry flagship Radialstrahler MBL 101 X-treme. The Corona Line includes mono, stereo, and integrated amps; a tuner; a preamplifier; and a CD […]

FrontRunners: Carbon Cycle

Though certainly no match for its supercar namesake in a race, the approximately $39,000 Factor Bikes Aston Martin One-77 Cycle ( does share at least one element with the vehicle: carbon fiber. The handlebars, forks, and frame are made of the material, enabling the bike to weigh a svelte 21 pounds. Leather covers the saddle […]

FrontRunners: Refined Oil

Too many truffle oils, even the priciest, are the kitchen equivalent of cheap perfume: Their aromas are so overpowering that they offend rather than entice. Italy’s Fernando Pensato Olio di Oliva Extra Vergine Tartufo (available through the Sandy Butler Market in Florida, is that rare oil with subtle fragrance and potent flavor. This summer […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Entrepreneur Michael Polenske has a gift for discovering the sublime. In 2007, he purchased a turn-of-the-century stone building in Yountville, Calif., that for more than 50 years had served as a hotel. At the time, the structure was in need of repair, but the century-old masonry captivated him. In a short time, he and his […]

Marrakech Expression

When a chicago-based real estate investor and design aficionado first visited the site for her winter residence at the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., her architectural vision was clear. “I immediately knew I wanted a traditional Moroccan riad here in the desert,” says the homeowner, who has remodeled several of her own houses—including […]

A Toast to the 250 GTO

Once upon a decadent time, around 1670, Pierre Pérignon, a young Benedictine monk and cellar master at the Abbaye d’Hautvillers, near the town of Épernay in northern France, applied his intuition and trial-and-error techniques and created Champagne. After taking the first sip of his sparkling wine, he called to his fellow monks, “Come quickly—I am […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2012: Rare Birds

Masa Takayama is renowned for his Japanese restaurant Masa, a serene, 26-seat space in New York City’s Time Warner Center where the chef presides over meals made from sublime ingredients and served at a luxurious tempo. His rarefied sushi, which may be lavished with caviar or truffles, and other dishes have garnered three stars from […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2012: A Cure for the Commonplace

José Andrés may be one of the most innovative chefs in America, but he came up through the profession in the conventional way. Born in Asturias, Spain, he entered the kitchen when he was just a teenager, attending culinary school and serving a long apprenticeship at El Bulli, the revolutionary restaurant in Catalonia where Ferran […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2012: The Accidental Apprentice

Mourad Lahlou remembers pressing his nose up against the glass of Michael Mina’s Aqua some 20 years ago, fascinated by what looked to be the most exciting restaurant in the city. When Lahlou, who had moved from his native Morocco to San Francisco to earn a master’s degree in economics, eventually saved up enough money […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2012: Advantage Ohio

As one of the original chefs to combine French techniques with local and seasonal ingredients—a practice that results in dazzling dishes with robust flavor—Charlie Palmer is one of the most influential pioneers of new American cuisine. His first restaurant, Aureole, which opened in a townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 1988, instantly defined a […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2012: A Tip of the Toque

Eric Ripert makes the extraordinary look effortless. Throughout his 18-year tenure as executive chef of Le Bernardin in Manhattan, Ripert has seen the restaurant consistently receive four stars from The New York Times. Michelin has been just as generous, bestowing its top rating of three stars on Le Bernardin year after year—an achievement made all […]