Category Archives: Enticing Events

Join the Food Gal in Conversation with Chef Hugh Acheson at Santana Row

Chef Hugh Acheson. (Photo by Taylor Oxendine)

Chef Hugh Acheson. (Photo by Taylor Oxendine)


You know him for his eyebrow-, er, unibrow-raising turn on “Top Chef Masters,” and for being the James Beard Award-winning chef of four restaurants, including Empire State South in Atlanta.

Now, get to know Hugh Acheson even more when he joins me in conversation and for a book signing at Lululemon Athletica store in San Jose’s Santana Row, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 9. That will be preceded by Acheson doing a cooking demo at 6 p.m. on stage at the chess board area at Santana Row.

You’re probably scratching your head about why he’s appearing at Lululemon, of all places, aren’t you? Turns out his sister works for the trendy athletic-wear company.

His newest cookbook is “The Broad Fork: Recipes For the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits” (Clarkson Potter). The book’s 200 recipes make produce the star — in everything from pickles and salads to purees and sautes.


Never cooked kohlrabi? Acheson will guide you through a few flavorful preparations that will make you a new fan of that root veg that tastes like the love child of a cabbage and turnip? Never heard of a yacon? I hadn’t, either, until reading Acheson’s description of the veg also known as Peruvian ground apple, which grows like a weed in the South and tastes a little like jicama.

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Take Five with Ming Tsai (The Sequel), On His Bay Area Connection, The First Dish He Ever Cooked, and The Only Food TV Show He Watches

Chef Ming Tsai preparing sliders at his Macy's Valley Fair demo. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

Chef Ming Tsai preparing sliders at his Macy’s Valley Fair demo. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

After interviewing celeb Chef Ming Tsai five years ago by phone, I finally had the chance last Thursday to spend time with him face to face, when I hosted him at his cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

The 51-year-old James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon in Massachusetts, star of “Simply Ming’’on PBS, and member of Macy’s Culinary Council, is also the ambassador for Family Reach, an organization that offers emotional and financial assistance to families with a child or parent afflicted with cancer.

More than 100 adoring fans turned out to watch Tsai cook salmon salad with citrus and pine nuts, shiitake and parmesan sliders, and almond-oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Tsai is no stranger to the Bay Area, having been a sous chef at Silks at the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco way back when. His parents, Stephen and Iris, also live in Palo Alto. His father, a former rocket scientist in Dayton, OH, is a professor emeritus in aeronautics at Stanford University.

After lunching with their son that day at Lyfe Kitchen in downtown Palo Alto, Tsai’s parents drove down from Palo Alto to watch from the front row as their son cooked and captivated the audience with his quick wit.

Tsai joked that after he married his wife and she took his surname, she became her very own major. That’s because she became – wait for it, wait for it, and say it aloud – Polly Tsai.

As Tsai posed for photos and signed copies of his cookbook after the demo, he spoke in Mandarin to some elderly Chinese ladies, and even revealed that his name actually translates from Chinese into “brilliant dish.’’ How apropos is that?

Yours truly working the microphone as Ming cooks up a storm. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

Yours truly working the microphone as Ming cooks up a storm. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

The huge crowd that turned out for the demo. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

The huge crowd that turned out for the demo. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

What follows is a short interview I did with him prior to the demo.

Q: How old were you when you cooked for the first time?

A: I was 6. I made my own Duncan Hines cake – vanilla. I friggin’ loved it, taking the mix, adding egg and oil, and boom – cake!

My friends who were all out playing baseball made fun of me. They were like, ‘You’re doing what?’ But then I sold slices of cake to them for 25 cents each. Pretty smart, huh?

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Upscale Candy, Lobster Galore & More

Gummy Love Bento Box ($60). (Photo courtesy of Sugarfina)

Gummy Love Bento Box ($60). (Photo courtesy of Sugarfina)

Sugarfina Coming to Santana Row

Champagne gummy bears? Twenty-four-karat gold marshmallows? Absinthe chocolate cordials?

Nope, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill candies.

Sugarfina, an upscale candy shop out of Southern California, is set to open in San Jose’s Santana Row in August with those goodies and a whole lot more.

Founders Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick set about to create a decidedly adult candy store. That means combing the world for exquisite sweets that appeal to a more sophisticated adult palate rather than a child’s super sugary cravings.

Gold-leaf marshmallow. (Photo by Sugarfina)

Gold-leaf marshmallow. (Photo by Sugarfina)

The 883-square-foot shop will be located next to Donald J. Pliner.

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A Very Special Cooking Demo with Ming Tsai and the Food Gal at Macy’s


Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara and yours truly, the Food Gal, are thrilled to welcome celeb Chef Ming Tsai for a cooking demo at 6 p.m., May 21.

A member of Macy’s Culinary Council, Tsai is the Yale-educated, James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of acclaimed Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon restaurants in Massachusetts, and host of “Simply Ming” on public television.

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BITE Silicon Valley, New Howie’s Artisan Pizza, and More


BITE Silicon Valley

Doesn’t it always seem like the cool food extravaganzas always bypass the South Bay and take place in San Francisco, Napa or Pebble Beach instead?

Not anymore.

Get ready for BITE Silicon Valley, June 5-7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

A brand-new event, it promises to showcase the intersection of food and tech in this booming, dynamic valley.

Of course, there will be a grand tasting, June 6 and June 7, with a plethora of the biggest-name chefs and wineries doling out gourmet tastes. Cooking, app and technology demos also will abound.

What’s more, on June 5, luminaries will gather at a conference to discuss such topics as: “What Are You Doing to Enable the Planet to Feed 9 Billion People”; “The Challenge of Food Waste”; “The Renewed Debate on GMOs”; and “The Story of Loco’l — Bringing Restaurants to Food Deserts.”

If you’re familiar with the latter, you know that’s the project by Coi’s Chef Daniel Patterson and Kogi Truck entrepreneur Roy Choi to revolutionize the fast-food burger industry by creating a model business that stresses good-for-you, affordable eats.

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