At the Head of Its Class


The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550, the smartest sedan yet. Plus, Robb Report's Annual Culinary Masters Competition - 5 of the world's leading chefs, Thomas Keller, Nancy Silverton, Daniel Boulud, Masaharu Morimoto and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, nominate the future stars of fine dining.

From This Issue

Very Smart Car

On this sparkling summer day at the Muskoka Airport, a general-aviation facility about 90 miles north of Toronto, a dummy wearing a wool sweater and a Halloween mask springs from behind a parked car on the runway and into the path of an oncoming sedan. The car’s Cross-Traffic Assist—without input from the driver—applies full braking […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2013: Making Edible Memories

Five of the world’s greatest chefs have charged the most promising talents of the next generation with preparing five remarkable feasts that their guests will never forget. But only one of these up-and-coming artists will be chosen by our readers as Robb Report’s New Culinary Master for 2014. In her autobiography, A Backward Glance, Edith […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2013: Classic Focus

In San Diego native William Bradley, Thomas Keller discovers the great French chefs’ traditions transplanted to American soil. Thomas Keller is the most renowned, most revered, and most imitated chef in the country. His flagship restaurant, the French Laundry in the Napa Valley, is the culinary community’s Mecca, and its Manhattan spin-off, Per Se, consistently […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2013: Native Tongue

Daniel Boulud savors the Portuguese inflections in the cuisine of George Mendes. To hear Daniel Boulud tell his story, he is a Lyon farm boy at heart—a farm boy who began cooking in a Michelin two-star kitchen in the city at age 14; worked for Roger Vergé, Georges Blanc, and Michel Guérard; and rose to […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2013: A New Course

Like Jean-Georges Vongerichten before him, Alex Stupak is moving a classic cuisine in a fresh direction. It is no exaggeration to state that Jean-Georges Vongerichten revolutionized French cooking in the United States. The nouvelle movement had already lightened up the classics by the time he became the chef at Lafayette in the late 1980s, but […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2013: A Cut Above

Masaharu Morimoto’s creative departure from traditional Japanese cuisine inspired Yoshinori Ishiito break boundaries of his own. Long before Masaharu Morimoto became Iron Chef Morimoto—and vanquished competitors such as Bobby Flay on television’s Iron Chef and Iron Chef America—he spent years studying sushi and kaisekiin his native Hiroshima. Those formalculinary genres were too limiting for the […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2013: California Connection

Nancy Silverton discovers a decidedly West Coast point of view in New Yorker Justin Smillie. Nancy Silverton is a genius at taking the food people love and sometimes takefor granted—bread, burgers, neighborhood Italian cooking—and transforming it into a groundbreaking culinary movement. She gave Angelenos their first artisanal loaves when she created La Brea Bakery in […]

Paradise Found

Adrian Lee, the young designer of the ultramodern interior of downtown Singapore’s Klapsons, the Boutique Hotel, brought his unique sense of style to Ocean Paradise, his family’s new 180-foot yacht. The Benetti-built vessel, which the Italian yard delivered to the Lees in June, offers a wealth of water toys and amenities, augmented by a crew […]

Castell Son Claret

The motto at Castell Son Claret, a new country resort on the Spanish island of Majorca, is“the luxury of silence.” Opened in late April at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, the centuries-old castle—which is set within 325 acres of fringed palms, fragrant gardens, and Med­iterranean maquis—is indeed a hushed refuge from Majorca’s […]

Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel

The art-deco movement was flourishing in Paris when the Prince de Galles first opened in 1928. Built for its most prominent guest—Edward VIII, Prince of Wales—the hotel on Avenue George V was a paean to moderne design. This June—after a two-year, $100 million renovation—the grande dame reemerged as a tribute to the art-deco age. The […]

Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai

Twenty years ago, the Pudong side of Shanghai was a bucolic patchwork of rice paddies. Today the district—located directly across the Huangpu River from the Bund—is a mass of futuristic skyscrapers jutting from the water’s edge. The new Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai, which opened in April, embraces the district’s contemporary style while offering the serenity […]

Chinzombo Camp

Some of the South Luangwa Valley’s best wildlife sightings—elephants showering in the river, baboons swinging from trees, giraffes gently bending for a sip of water—can be had without ever leaving your room at the new Chinzombo Camp. Debuted in June along the Luangwa River, the six-villa camp offers direct access to the area’s wide array of […]

Golf: Riding the Wave

With its rugged wadis, ancient-fort-studded mountains, and 1,300 miles of coastline, the Sultanate of Oman has long attracted adventurous travelers, especially those from Europe. Like the United Arab Emirates, its neighbor to the northwest, Oman has recently started buttressing its natural and cultural attractions with new resorts and developments. But the country’s relatively low-key projects—which […]

Collectibles: Fairest Fowl

No one likes a nuisance.As proof, consider Canada geese. Their behavior is so bad it has even affected demand for original plates (prints made from engravings) of John James Audubon’s depiction of them. “Plate number 201, Canada Goose, used to be one of the top prints,” says Marc Fagan, director of consignments at Neal Auction […]

Sport: Coola Runnings

“This run is called Sex Wax,” Rob Orvig says with a casualness that seems at odds with the crevasse-lined expanse stretching out below him. “It’s on a pretty real glacier, so stick by my tracks.” Without further instruction, the Bella Coola Heli Sports guide disappears into an explosion of white, leaving my fellow skiers and […]

Spas: Swiss Fit

The neurocom is beeping and blinking as I jump, squat, reach, lean, and hop from one foot to the other. Feeling like John Glenn in a scene from The Right Stuff, I huff my way through exercises that require me to follow with my body the movement of a tiny dancing dot on a computer […]

Personal Technology: Pocket Hi-Fi

For the majority of audiophiles, the MP3 format falls far short on fidelity. These severely compressed music files are designed for maximum storage on mobile devices, such as Apple’s iPod, almost all of which forgo high-fidelity componentry to keep prices low.As a result, music played on these devices lacks depth, detail, clarity, and a realistic […]

Travel: From These Roots

Stefan Ahrens grew up riding dirt bikes on a 250-acre sheep ranch near his home in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. In 1999, the fifth-generation native of the vineyard-strewn valley attempted to acquire the ranch’s stone farmhouse, which dates to the mid-19th century. His first effort rebuffed, Ahrens waited a decade before finally purchasing the property […]

Wine: Pièce Offering

“When one does something,” wrote Gustave Flaubert, “one must do it wholly and well. Those bastard existences where you sell suet all day and write poetry at night are made for mediocre minds.” Such compromise—and the mediocrity it engenders—is as distasteful to Jayson Pahlmeyer as it was to the 19th-century master of French letters, who also […]

Autos: Third Wind

Maserati enthusiasts and other aficionados of exotic Italian cars from the 1960s should be familiar with the original Ghibli, a V-8 powered two-door designed by Giorgetto Giu­giaro, who would later pen the Bora, Merak (see “Star Turn”), and original Quattroporte for Maserati. The company produced coupe and spider variants of the Ghibli from 1967 through […]

Vacation Homes: To Protect and Preserve

The appeal of Chilean Patagonia lies largely in the region’s inaccessibility. Its untamed beauty—an arresting tableau of glacier-fed lakes, rolling pampas, and ultramarine skies—has endured at least in part because of its remoteness. Now a bold new initiative is making this pristine corner of South America more accessible to a lucky few homeowners while simultaneously […]

Watches: Planetary Alignment

The new Graham Tourbillon Orrery celebrates the 300th anniversary of the Orrery, the tabletop mechanical planetarium that the Swiss watch brand’s namesake—London-based inventor, clockmaker, and horology pioneer George Graham—created in the early years of the 18th century, perhaps 1713. Graham made the solar-system model for Charles Boyle, the 4th Earl of Orrery. The invention was […]

Jewelry: Major Milestones

In the 1960s and early 1970s, when most society women wore understated jewelry—demure pearls and diamonds—the designer David Webb enticed a few of the haut monde’s leading tastemakers with big, bright pieces that served as golden emblems of a new era. Thanks to such creations as the giant Maltese cross that Marisa Berenson fastened at […]

Leisure: Cultural Blending

A towering guard in a green-and-gold turban lifted an umbrella to shield me from the sun as we stepped from the launch onto the dock. We walked up a red carpet to the Leela Palace in the city of Udaipur, in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. At the hotel, a harmonium-and-tabla duo played the hypnotic, […]

Wheels: Family Resemblance

The first-generation Range Rover Sport suffered from an identity crisis of sorts. Was it a rightful heir to Land Rover, the first family of sport-utility vehicles, or was it no more than a distant cousin, an illusionary vehicle contrived to cash in on the brand name? The letters on its bonnet spelled Range Rover, but […]

The Robb Reader: Steve McPherson

Steve McPherson’s career decisions have been driven largely by his personal passions. After graduating from Cornell University, he turned his attention to the entertainment field—a move that proved creatively and financially rewarding. As president of ABC Entertainment, McPherson oversaw the development of such hit programs as Lost, Modern Family, and Desperate Housewives. After leaving ABC […]

From the Editors: Eating like an Emperor

Food is more than simple sustenance; it also serves as a lingua franca. Inspired hospitality, after all, transcends cultural barriers, and no civilization took the presentation of victuals more seriously than did the Roman Empire. The imperial kitchens conquered as many foes and won as many friends as the fabled legions, and with Rome’s influence […]

Design Portfolio: Round Sound

In the late 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci sketched plans for the viola organista, an instrument comprising a mechanism that would operate like an automobile fan belt, strings like those on a violin, and a piano-style keyboard. Touching a key would depress the corresponding string, causing it to be vibrated by the belt. This bowing […]

Design Portfolio: Star Turn

1977 Maserati Merak SS Named after a star in the Ursa Major constellation, the Merak was a less powerful, less expensive, and better handling sibling of Maserati’s V-8 Bora. The Merak’s smaller V-6 allowed for the addition of two tiny rear seats; a painted roof and flying buttresses further distinguished the Merak from the Bora, […]

Elements of Style: October 2013

As autumn arrives, designers’ imaginations seem to be heading to the slopes—and to the fashionable chalets of Gstaad, Switzerland, or Courchevel, France. Their most versatile pieces not only fend off the cold but also wrap the wearer in chic layers worthy of a winter holiday among the jet set. Gucci’s cable-knit turtleneck ($925), a featherweight […]

FrontRunners: Genco Berk

Like his designs for homes and restaurants, Genco Berk’s desktop humidors ( appear crisp, clean, and captivating. The interior designer and architect, who was born in Istanbul and now splits his time between Europe and Shanghai, has taken his penchants for unusual textures and features, combined them with his passion for cigars, and created a […]

FrontRunners: Captain Marvel

One of the year’s more impressive megayachts was launched this summer in Seattle. Delta Marine’s Invictus ( is a 216-footer named for the William Ernest Henley poem (“I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul”). The vessel is a true world traveler: It has a range of 7,000 […]

FrontRunners: Roaming the Roads

This dinosaur continues to evolve. The Campagna Motors T-Rex 16S ( is the latest high-performance three-wheeler from the Montreal company, which has been building versions of the T-Rex since 1995. The 16S has a starting price of $62,000. Driver and passenger sit side by side just inches above the pavement in the open cockpit. They […]

FrontRunners: Even Wider

The design plans for the Wider 32 ( show why the Italian company is considered one of the most innovative boat designers. Like the company’s current model, the Wider 42, this forthcoming 32-foot day cruiser will feature a deck that can expand when the boat is at anchor. Aft of the 32’s cockpit, the sides […]

FrontRunners: Flight of Fancy

The MotoArt Jumbo Jet Conference Table ( exemplifies the adage that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. MotoArt, which has been in business in Southern California for 12 years, fashions chairs, desks, beds, and other furnishings from the parts of decommissioned airplanes. The Jumbo Jet Conference Table is built around the jet-engine nacelle of a […]

FrontRunners: Spanish Class

The Omas Le Citta Granada ( is the sophomore entry in the Italian pen company’s newest series, which pays tribute to the world’s great cities. The pen’s cotton-resin barrel is decorated with arabesque patterns similar to the ones that adorn the ancient Andalusian fort of the Alhambra. The standard version of the pen is priced […]

FrontRunners: Full-Court Press

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph LeBron James ( carries the NBA star’s design thumbprint as well as his name. While the designers and watchmakers at Audemars Piguet are used to creating special editions for the company’s many celebrity ambassadors, a few were caught off guard by the detailed directions that James gave them. […]

FrontRunners: Net Worth

The new Stiga Showcourt ( has been used in the World Team Classic, the Swedish Open, and other professional table-tennis tournaments this year because its design provides players with a consistent bounce of the ball. The table, which is made in Germany, also features an LED-lit chassis with eight lighting options and an integrated net-adjustment […]

FrontRunners: Good Deal

As an elaborate keepsake adorned with the image of a panther, the Cartier Exceptional Poker Set ( follows suit with the gaming sets that the French jewelry house has been releasing since the 1930s. The art-deco-style box is made of sycamore, decorated with mother-of-pearl marquetry, and lined with Alcantara. Cartier has produced only five examples, […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar October 2013

Casa Herradura, which invented the reposado category nearly four decades ago, recently reinvented the popular spirit with Herradura Colección de la Casa Reserva 2012, the first bottling in a series of planned annual releases of small-batch tequila. The indigenous wild yeast strain that the distillery uses imparts a distinctive flavor to all of its tequilas, […]