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Noma Australia Wows Critics; Mario Batali Loves Tipping

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Five bites of news.

René Redzepi of Danish restaurant Noma forages for food during a visit to the South Australian Outback.
René Redzepi of Danish restaurant Noma forages for food during a visit to the South Australian Outback.
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

It's the day after Mardi Gras. Hopefully you're not still hungover? Here's some sound advice, either way.

It's also the day after the primary in New Hampshire. Earlier today, the Democratic winner of that primary, Bernie Sanders, had breakfast at Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem.

Wondering which chain restaurants support the Democrats and which support the Republicans? We made a handy chart.

More of today's news to meditate upon: An early review of Noma in Australia; Mario Batali discusses his first new restaurant in NYC in 10 years; an update from the James Beard Foundation Awards; further comments from the chef who tricked food writers by using ingredients from McDonald's; and a bonus video, just for fun.

— This just in from the James Beard Foundation: The 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominees will be announced at a live press conference at the Presidio Officers' Club in San Francisco on Tuesday, March 15 at 9 a.m. local time. This is the long list of nominees "in more than 50 categories in the Foundation's awards programs" including: Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design, Book, Broadcast, and Journalism.

— Australian food critic Pat Nourse files the first review of René Redzepi's Noma Sydney, and the critic is mighty impressed: "[Redzepi and his team have] dreamed up a cuisine based on native Australian ingredients that is bolder, more creative and — most essentially — tastier than anything anyone has served in a restaurant in Australia before."

— Remember Neal Fraser, the chef who cooked a meal for food bloggers but didn't tell them he was using McDonald's ingredients until the end? He further explains his position, and apparently it was all in the name of fun. On the reactions after the big reveal: "Most [guests] seemed surprised. Like holy-fuck-what-is-this? surprised. I wanted guests to see that a good chef can transform something that is perceived as not tasting good €”to take another look. I didn't mean to embarrass anyone. It was supposed to be fun."

— Mario Batali talked to Lucky Peach about his new NYC restaurant, La Sirena, and how his company is hiring in reaction to higher minimum wages: "Now that we have to pay everyone at least ten dollars an hour as a starting wage, it behooves us to start with less-experienced cooks and train them. That's where we are headed. We're not hiring sous chefs and executive chefs — we're hiring line cooks." On tipping: "The jury is not in for us on what we think about how the new minimum wage is going to affect tipping. Personally, as a consumer, I love tipping. I over-tip! It makes me feel good. Being told that I don't need to tip is just another way to get more money out of me because I'm gonna tip anyway."

— Finally, this is not as cool as Beyoncé's "Formation" video, but it's a tiny bit amusing to watch Katie Holmes, Ryan Reynolds, and a bunch of people from the Tonight Show show run around a table and drink beer.

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