Category Archives: Chefs

Rise and Shine for Joanne Chang’s Honey Cashew Morning Buns

A sticky bun that's less sweet and a whole lot more enjoyable to eat.

A sticky bun that’s less sweet and a whole lot more enjoyable to eat.


I love the idea of sticky buns. But the execution? Not so much.

That’s because the standard avalanche of goopy glaze is more than even my sweet tooth can bear.

So I beamed when I received a review copy of “Baking With Less Sugar” (Chronicle Books) by one of my favorite pastry chefs, Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe and Myers + Chang in Massachusetts.

In this day and age, where we’re all trying to eat better, this timely cookbook is all about making sweets — but with only natural sweeteners and little white sugar. Yes, the perfect way to enjoy dessert without your body paying such a high price later.


The book includes more than 60 recipes, both new ones and reformulated ones from Chang’s bakery, that make use of maple syrup, honey, molasses, dates, juice concentrates, coconut, and bananas and other fresh fruit.

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New Ciao Bella Summer Flavor, Ruth Reichl To Pay A Visit, and More

Blueberries and passion fruit combine for this summery flavor from New York's Ciao Bella.

Blueberries and passion fruit combine for this summery flavor from New York’s Ciao Bella. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Introducing A New Summer Ciao Bella Flavor

I like to think of this as a non-guilty pleasure.

After all, Ciao Bella’s new Blueberry Passion Fruit Sorbetto is not only delicious, but it has 0 grams fat, 0 grams cholesterol, and 0 grams sodium. It’s also dairy-free. A half cup has 110 calories.

I had a chance to try a sample recently. It’s a little berry sweet. A twinge tangy. And a whole lot refreshing. Kind of like a favorite smoothie in frozen form.

A 14-ounce container is $5.39 and sold exclusively at Whole Foods.

Ruth Reichl in Conversation in Mountain View

You won’t want to miss the one and only Ruth Reichl in conversation with Michael Krasny at 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

Ruth Reichl. (photo courtesy of the author)

Ruth Reichl. (photo courtesy of the author)

The noted restaurant critic, author and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, Reichl will be joined by the host of Forum on KQED.

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Liholiho Yacht Club Offers Up A Delectable Voyage

Beef tongue poppy-seed buns at Liholiho Yacht Club.

Beef tongue poppy-seed buns at Liholiho Yacht Club.


At Liholiho Yacht Club, Chef Ravi Kapur wants you to know first and foremost that he’s not cooking Hawaiian food.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t daydream about the islands when you sit down to dine at his San Francisco restaurant.

“The people who visit Hawaii say this isn’t like Hawaiian food at all,” Kapur told me in an interview earlier this year. “But the people from Hawaii say this reminds them of what they ate in Hawaii. It’s all about the flavors.”

Indeed, it is. It’s all about a pantry heavy on Asian ingredients that allow him to think of making duck liver mousse with Shaoxing wine, rather than the usual Calvados. It’s about a mire poix that’s not based on carrots and celery, but on scallions and ginger.

Kapur’s cooking is a blend of his Indian and Chinese ancestries, his time growing up in Hawaii, and his fondness for the Bay Area’s impeccable ingredients.

The restaurant’s name is taken from the street where Kapur’s uncle lived on Maui, where he’d host blow-out barbecues to help support his catamaran racing habit.

“The idea refers to the past, but also to the idea of the ocean and migratory nature of what Hawaii is,” Kapur says. “It’s my journey and voyage to this restaurant.”

Chef Ravi Kapur in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night.

Chef Ravi Kapur in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night.

The view from the end of the bar.

The view from the end of the bar.

And it seems, everyone wants to come along for the ride, as evidenced by the crowds every night at the casual, brick-lined dining room.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Julian Yeo of Roots & Rye For A Macy’s Cooking Demo


If you’ve spent anytime lately wandering around San Jose’s Santana Row, then you’ve seen the construction currently going on to finish the new restaurant, Roots & Rye, which is set to open its doors any day now.

Be one of the first to enjoy a taste of this new establishment, when its chef, Julian Yeo, joins me for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 6 p.m. July 16.

If Julian’s name sounds familiar, it’s because his father is noted Chef Chris Yeo, a pioneer in bringing Singaporean cuisine to the Bay Area.

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Monsieur Benjamin Est Tres Bien

Quail at Monsieur Benjamin.

Quail at Monsieur Benjamin.


In the Bay Area, it’s Asian flavors that seem to be on everyone’s plate and palate these days.

So much so that French cuisine — though not its classic techniques — seem to have fallen out of favor.

But leave it to Monsieur Benjamin, which opened last summer in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, to remind us why French food — just like a sharp little Chanel suit — truly never goes out of style.

Korean-born Corey Lee may imbue his Michelin three-starred Benu with breathless Asian flair, but with his second, more casual restaurant, Monsieur Benjamin, he stays the course of timeless French dishes yet gives them a touch of modernity.

His right-hand man is Chef Jason Berthold, late of RN74 in San Francisco, who worked with Lee when both were at the French Laundry.

Chef Jason Berthold deep in concentration in the kitchen.

Chef Jason Berthold deep in concentration in the kitchen.

The bistro doesn’t try to recreate the look of one in Paris. Instead, it very much fits in with its San Francisco surroundings, incorporating a lot of stainless steel, clean lines and striking black walls.

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