Category Archives: Chefs

Join the Food Gal and Chef Jeffrey Stout of Orchard City Kitchen for A Macy’s Cooking Demo


Orchard City Kitchen in the Pruneyard in Campbell is one of the most exciting new restaurants to open in the South Bay in awhile.

If you haven’t yet discovered its many charms — eclectic small plates and a killer craft cocktail program — or managed to snag a table, as it’s that popular now, you enjoy a taste of what it offers when its Chef-Owner Jeffrey Stout joins me at 2 p.m. April 18 for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair.

You may remember Stout as the original chef at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino, where he earned that restaurant a Michelin star.

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Roasted Asparagus Soup to Feed the Mind and Tummy

A rich pistachio cream gets stirred into this asparagus soup just before serving.

A rich pistachio cream gets stirred into this asparagus soup just before serving.


In today’s harried world, there’s a lot to be said for eating foods that nourish our body and our brain.

Wellness chef and speaker, Rebecca Katz, certainly thinks so. Her cookbook,“The Healthy Mind Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, includes more than 120 recipes designed to optimize brain health, boost memory, improve your mood and strengthen the central nervous system. It was written with Mat Edelson, an award-winning health and science writer.

I can’t say that her “Roasted Asparagus Soup with Pistachio Cream” caught my attention solely for those reasons. Mostly, I was intrigued by the cream made of pistachios, broth, mint and lemon juice that gets blitzed in a blender until thick and luscious, before being stirred into this velvety soup, which is a puree of roasted asparagus, onions, leeks and garlic. Plus, in spring, I can’t get enough of asparagus. I buy it every week at the grocery store or farmers market, and enjoy every single spear until the season ends all too abruptly.


Asparagus are loaded with vitamin B1, Katz writes, which boosts mood and energy levels, as well as vitamin B2, which reduces fatigue. Leeks are a good source of Vitamin K, which can improve memory. Pistachios also contain a lot of vitamin K and vitamin B thiamen, as well as folate, which may help prevent dementia.

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An Elegant Ambience

A pre-dessert at Ambience in Los Altos.

A pre-dessert at Ambience in Los Altos.


Ambience is a hushed restaurant in an even quieter downtown in sleepy Los Altos.

It’s so muted that I hadn’t even heard about the fine-dining restaurant until a few months ago, despite the fact that it’s been open for more than a year.

Chef Morgan Song runs the restaurant with his wife, who handles the front of the house. Song cooked in Sacramento and San Francisco for years, most notably at the acclaimed Kiss.

I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant on a recent Tuesday evening, when my dining companion and I were one of only six diners total in the dim dining room with its comfortable upholstered chairs and smoky glass windows that shield the view of the street outside. But that may owe to the fact that Ambience offers only one tasting menu a night ($149 per person with an additional $95 per person for wine pairings or $135 per person for premium wine pairings). After all, how many people can — or want — to devote three hours to eat in the middle of the week unless it’s for a special occasion?

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Prune’s Cold Candied Oranges

Dessert -- Prune-style.

Dessert — Prune-style.


Some cookbooks possess that magical gift that makes you feel as if the author is actually speaking directly to you in your very own kitchen.

“Prune” (Random House) takes a different tack. In her new cookbook of which I received a review copy, Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of New York’s beloved Prune restaurant, gives you the impression that she’s talking directly to her crew in the kitchen. The delightful part is that you feel as if you’re scrunched in a corner, ease-dropping on everything that goes on there, from the prep to the service.


Possessing an MFA in fiction writing, Hamilton is a proven storyteller. Besides her singular voice, the recipes come with drip spots on the pages, as well as notes scribbled on torn pieces of tape that look as if they’re stuck to the pages.

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Din Tai Fung to Open Its First Bay Area Location, Blue Bottle Comes to Palo Alto & More

Soup dumplings fresh out of the steamer at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Soup dumplings fresh out of the steamer at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Din Tai Fung To Open at Valley Fair Shopping Center

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