Category Archives: Chefs

Maison Alyzee — The Newest Hot-Spot Patisserie on the Peninsula

Presenting the Passiano (and the chocolate tart in the back) at the new Maison Alyzee.

Presenting the Passiano (and the chocolate tart in the back) at the new Maison Alyzee.

 

Owner Laurent Pellet makes no bones about what sets his Maison Alyzee in downtown Mountain View apart from other Bay Area bakeries.

Its heritage is unequivocally French — from the Lyon-born Pellet to the three French pastry chefs who moved to the United States just for this endeavor.

Oui, oui.

Since opening two weeks ago, the place has been inundated. So much so, that it had to up its baking to double the number of croissants, kouign-amanns and other viennoierie after just the second day.

And that’s saying something because it’s directly across the street from competitor, Alexander’s Patisserie.

Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye who had never been to California before taking this job.

Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye who had never been to California before taking this job.

Pellet, who was a chief financial officer for Sony for many years, longed for an authentic French patisserie when he moved to the Bay Area. So, he decided to start one, himself, and named it after his youngest daughter.

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Chef Jose Andres At the Commonwealth Club & More

Chef Jose Andres. (photo courtesy of the Think Food Group)

Chef Jose Andres. (photo courtesy of the ThinkFood Group)

The Commonwealth Club Hosts Chef Jose Andres

Jose Andres is so much more than one of the world’s most talented chefs. He’s also a committed humanitarian, as evidenced by his Herculean efforts to feed people in Puerto Rico last year, following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria.

Andres, who was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation, led a force of volunteers and chefs, who cooked nearly 3 million hot meals for the island’s residents.

You can learn more about his experiences, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17, at “Feeding Puerto Rico with Chef Jose Andres,” a Commonwealth Club program that will be held at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre in San Francisco.

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Belcampo Makes A Big Splash in Jack London Square

Feast your eyes on an entire beef short rib -- Korean-style -- at Belcampo in Oakland.

Feast your eyes on an entire beef short rib — Korean-style — at Belcampo in Oakland.

 

Belcampo’s flagship restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square may have only opened last month, but the soaring, 7,000-square-foot spot is already packing in the crowds, hankering for its menu focused on the company’s own sustainable meats.

Other restaurants may source sustainable products. But Belcampo takes that much further. It owns its own 25,000-acre ranch at the foot of Mt. Shasta, where it raises all its own organic, grass-fed beef, lamb, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals. It also owns its own USDA-certified slaughterhouse, as well as its own restaurants and butcher shops. That means there is never any middle man involved nor breaks in the supply chain. It’s as farm to table as you can get.

The Jack London Square locale is an ideal one with lovely waterfront views, and mere steps from Belcampo’s corporate offices.

On a recent Sunday evening, I dined as a guest of the restaurant.

Right on Jack London Square.

Right on Jack London Square.

The soaring, light-filled space.

The soaring, light-filled space.

The large, comfortable bar.

The large, comfortable bar.

It’s a lively venue with a large bar with plentiful seats and a lounge area. The main dining room is framed by huge windows that let in a lot of light on a summer day.

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Brown-Butter Mochi Muffins

Made with dark brown sugar, coconut milk, evaporated milk and mochiko flour, these little treats are gluten-free.

Made with dark brown sugar, coconut milk, evaporated milk and mochiko flour, these little treats are gluten-free.

 

Anyone who has followed my blog for awhile knows about my love for butter mochi.

I can’t resist this Hawaiian baked good made with glutinous rice flour, which gives it a wondrous chewy texture like a big gummi bear.

For those with celiac disease, it has the added bonus of being gluten-free, too.

So when I spied a recipe for “Brown-Butter Mochi” in the New York Times a few months ago, I tore it out, eager to try it.

The recipe is from Berkeley’s Samin Nosrat, a writer, cooking teacher and former cook at Chez Panisse, who recently wrote the seminal, best-selling “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” (Simon & Schuster).

She first learned to make butter mochi in a standard large cake pan from a friend’s recipe. But then she started tinkering, rejiggering the recipe to use two muffin tins instead. She also incorporated brown butter, which of course, is always a worthwhile addition.

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Feed Your People Traci Des Jardins’ Chile Verde

Comfort food at its finest -- brothy, tangy chile verde.

Comfort food at its finest — brothy, tangy chile verde.

 

In this day and age when so much in life seems to be driving people apart rather than closer together, we should never underestimate the power of food to bring people to the table with open minds and hearts.

That’s the spirit behind the wonderful new cookbook, “Feed Your People: Big-Batch, Big-Hearted Cooking and Recipes to Gather Around” (PowerHouse Books) by Leslie Jonath with 18 Reasons.

Jonath, a former editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, has teamed with 18 Reasons, a San Francisco non-profit that not only strives to teach people the importance of good food, but offers a free six-week nutrition education program in low-income communities on how to make healthy and affordable meals.

Feed Your People Book

The cookbook features recipes by some of the most well-known names in the food industry, including Bay Area cookbook author Andrea Nguyen’s “Chinese Dumplings,” Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters’ “Minestrone,” Tartine co-founder Elizabeth Prueitt’s Whole-Loaf Garlic Cheese Bread,” and pastry doyenne Alice Medrich’s “Ultimate Butter Cake.”

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