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Napa Truffle Festival

Friday, 23. January 2015 5:27

Black Perigord truffles. The darker ones have been peeled already, hence their deeper black color.

Black Perigord truffles. The darker one has been peeled already, hence its more pronounced color.

 

Carefully tucked inside Chef Ken Frank’s walk-in at La Toque restaurant in Napa last weekend sat 20 pounds of prized black Perigord truffles. Valued at more than $13,000 — wholesale.

They were destined to be the highlight of dinners, cooking demos and special restaurant offerings during last weekend’s Napa Truffle Festival.

And they all came from Italy.

For the past five years that this festival has been held, all the truffles used have been picked in Italy and flown in three days later to Napa.

But some day soon — possibly as early as this coming winter — black Perigord truffles may be harvested right here in Wine Country.

That’s because a burgeoning industry is taking root in Napa and Sonoma counties, as vintners and other property owners are gambling on growing truffles.

The American Truffle Company, which organizes the festival, has partnered with these interested folks to sell and plant filbert and oak trees that have been inoculated with the truffle fungus.

Chef Ken Frank holding a plate of black truffle risotto with quail that was made in a demo by Chef Roberto Donna.

Chef Ken Frank holding a plate of black truffle risotto with quail that was made in a demo by Chef Roberto Donna.

Close-up of the risotto.

Close-up of the risotto.

Once the trees are planted, it takes about five years for truffles to form. This winter, the trees of vintner Robert Sinskey, the first local client that signed on with the American Truffle Company, will be reaching that mark. His may become the first Perigords to be harvested in Sonoma County. Already this year, teams of truffle-hunting dogs have shown a much greater interest in his 1 1/2-acre orchard than ever before, Sinskey says, indicating truffles may indeed be forming under his trees.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, New Products, Restaurants | Comments (4) | Author:

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce

Monday, 19. January 2015 5:26

Butternut squash gets drizzled with Sriracha-spiked yogurt and more.

Butternut squash gets drizzled with Sriracha-spiked yogurt and more.

 

He has been dubbed a genius with vegetables.

His cooking may not be vegetarian per se, but Yotam Ottolenghi, the chef-owner of four London restaurants, definitely is a champion of putting vegetables front and center, in especially vibrant ways.

His three previous cookbooks have all been best-sellers: “Ottolenghi,” “Jerusalem,” and “Plenty.” No doubt, his fourth one, “Plenty More” (Ten Speed Press), also will top the charts.

In this cookbook, of which I received a review copy, Ottolenghi continues his foray into dazzling veg-centric dishes such as “Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Green Onion,” “Iranian Vegetable Stew with Dried Lime,” and “Grilled Banana Bread with Tahini and Honeycomb.”

PlentyMoreBook

At this time of year, I love roasting winter squashes. But I’m always looking for new ways to accent them. “Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce” fit the bill perfectly.

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Category:Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (3) | Author:

Chef James Syhabout Helping Oakland Schools, Restaurant Weeks & More

Friday, 16. January 2015 5:26

Chef James Syhabout gives back to Oakland schools. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef James Syhabout gives back to Oakland schools. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef James Syhabout’s Dine About Oakland Public Schools Initiative

Oakland’s native son and only Michelin-starred chef, James Syhabout has launched “Dine About Oakland Public Schools.” Under the initiative, 5 percent of all sales in January at his Oakland restaurants, Hawker Fare, Box & Bells, The Dock, and Commis, will be donated to a designated Oakland school.

Through Jan. 17, proceeds will go to Claremont Middle School. From Jan. 18-24, funds will go to Chabot Elementary. And from Jan. 25-31, proceeds will benefit Oakland  Tech.

Restaurant Weeks

Chef James Syhabout’s Hawker Fare, Box & Bells, and The Dock also will be among the restaurants participating in Oakland Restaurant Week, Jan. 15-25.

For those 10 days, a slew of restaurants will be offering special prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus for $20, $30 and $40.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, New Products, Restaurants | Comment (0) | Author:

Join the Food Gal at Macy’s For A Cooking Demo with Fattoria e Mare Chef Pablo Estrada

Monday, 12. January 2015 5:25

MacysFattoriaMareDemo

Seafood with Italian gusto — that’s what’s on the menu at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 when I host a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara with Chef Pablo Estrada of Fattoria e Mare in Burlingame.

He’ll show you how he creates one of his specialties: Venetian poached prawns.

Born in Mexico, Estrada got his start working in his family’s bakery. Since coming to the Bay Area in 1993, he’s worked in a slew of top-notch San Francisco restaurants, including Campton Place, Restaurant LuLu, Palio d’Asti, Red Herring and Rose Pistola.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person | Comments (1) | Author:

Chuao On This

Friday, 9. January 2015 5:26

Chuao Pretzel Toffee Twirl, and Ravishing Rocky Road bars.

Chuao Pretzel Toffee Twirl, and Ravishing Rocky Road bars.

 

Chuao Chocolatier bars pronounced “chew-WOW) are not made for purists.

That’s because they come loaded with everything imaginable and then some. Panko breadcrumbs. Potato chips. Toasted corn chips. Bacon. Chipotle. Pop Rock-style candy bits. You name it.

These imaginative bars are the creation of Chef Michael Antonorsi and his brother Richard, whose Venezuelan ancestors once owned a cacao farm.

After moving to San Diego from Venezuela, the brothers forged a career in high-tech, before deciding to go into the chocolate business. Michael Antonorsi trained as a chef and pastry chef in France, before opening his first chocolate cafe in Encinitas with his brother in 2002. They named it Chuao, after Venezuela’s cacao-growing region.

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Category:Chefs, Chocolate, General | Comments (2) | Author: