Category Archives: Chefs

Chef James Syhabout Helping Oakland Schools, Restaurant Weeks & More

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

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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Chuao On This

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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The Fremont Diner — As Good As It Gets

Grilled cheese and tomato soup perfection at The Fremont Diner.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup perfection at The Fremont Diner.

 

Sure, I have an appreciation for pull-out-all-the-stops tasting menus in which chefs maneuver and manipulate food into high art.

But it takes a place like The Fremont Diner to remind us all how wonderful the simple, the bare bones and the pared down can be.

I’m talking the perfect crumbly buttermilk biscuit you can’t wait to tear into, and a thick, spicy tomato soup served in a heavy coffee mug with a spoon — all enjoyed on a picnic table underneath a tented patio.

Surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards on the Sonoma side of the Carneros wine region, The Fremont Diner evokes nostalgia from the get-go with its rusty pick-up truck parked outside and its wood-slatted building with its swinging front-porch door.

Like stepping into the past.

Like stepping into the past.

The exterior.

The exterior.

The tented patio.

The tented patio.

My husband and I dropped by a few weeks ago, paying our tab at the end of a most soul-satisfying meal.

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EXO — An Energy Bar With A Little Something Different

There are about 40 crickets in each bar.

There are about 40 crickets in each bar.

 

Unwrap an EXO protein bar and you’ll find something unusual lurking inside.

Crickets.

Yes, these bars have an unlikely ingredient — flour made from ground crickets.

Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz got the idea for these unusual bars when they were in their final year at Brown University after discovering the health and environmental benefits insects have. Indeed, according to them, insects are a source of protein in 80 percent of the world. Moreover, crickets are low in saturated fat and contain more iron than beef.

They figured the easiest way to entice people to eat insects would be to put them in a form they readily understood — a bar. So, they enlisted the help of Chef Kyle Connaughton, former head chef of R&D at The Fat Duck in England and former culinary director of Chipotle, to develop the bars.

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