Alice Waters and Cecilia Chiang in a scene from “Soul of a Banquet.” (Still courtesy of the San Francisco Film Festival)
Mega-Benefit Banquet by the San Francisco Film Society
If you’re an aficionado of Chinese banquet galas, you will not want to miss this stellar one by the San Francisco Film Society at Yank Sing in San Francisco, 6 p.m. April 10.
Among the noted guests who will be in attendance: Bay Area culinary legends, Alice Waters and Cecilia Chiang; acclaimed food writer Ruth Reichl; and noted film director, Wayne Wang, who will be showing a sneak preview of his newest film, “Soul of a Banquet,” his tribute to Chiang, who changed the face of Chinese food in America when she opened The Mandarin in San Francisco in 1961.
The event benefits Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project.
Tickets, which include the reception, film screening and dinner, are $288 per person. A table for 10 is $2,500.
Avant Garden Food & Art Fundraiser in San Jose
Celebrate all things local in the South Bay at the third annual “Avant Garden” event, 7 p.m. April 19 at The Armory, 240 N. 2nd St. in San Jose.
Enjoy live music, crafts, artwork and plenty of food and drink by vendors such as Little Bee Pops, Good Karma Vegan Cafe and Cafe Stritch.
Event tickets are $10 online or $12 at the door. Food and drink tickets are $3 each and available at the event site.
A butcher making porchetta at Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur.
Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur may look like the latest trendy, farm-to-table butcher shop stocked with pedigreed meat for sale at sky-high prices.
But it’s so much more than that.
It’s part of a corporation that aims to start a new food revolution — by producing sustainable food on an unheard of scale. And at a profit, to boot.
It is the brainchild of Todd Robinson, a Wall Street veteran with deep pockets; and Anya Fernald, a California-native and long-time locavore entrepreneur. She may look familiar from her previous appearances as a judge on “Iron Chef America” and as the founder of the Eat Real Festival in Oakland.
The two founded Belcampo, Inc. in 2011, which consists of several operations spread across three countries. They include: a 10,000-acre certified organic, sustainable ranch at the base of Mt. Shasta in California, where cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, rabbits, goats, turkeys, geese and squabs are raised sustainably, organically and on pasture; another cattle ranch in Uruguay; and an eco-lodge and farm in Belize that produces coffee, chocolate and rum.
A less rich — but no less satisfying — version of creamed spinach.
This dish is rather cheeky.
It combines the voluptuousness of soft ricotta with the pert green of spinach.
Eggs, whipped to a luscious froth, add a custardy body. And grated parmesan a delicious saltiness.
I rather fancy it, especially late at night when everyone else is asleep, and I saunter silently downstairs in my silk robe to eat it brazenly with fingertips straight out of the fridge.
Forgive me my Nigella impersonation. But I can’t help myself, as this dish surely will have you feeling a little like that British culinary bombshell. “Spinach Baked with Ricotta & Nutmeg” is from Nigella Lawson’s newest cookbook, “Nigellissima” (Clarkson Potter).
Does the thought of noshing on handful after handful of honey-mustard pretzels chased with a frosty beer sound like bliss?
Then, you’re sure to go wild for this dish from Food Network host Aida Mollenkamp that boasts all of those favorite bar-food flavors.
“Shrimp Simmered in Garlicky Beer Sauce” is from her cookbook, “Keys to the Kitchen” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. The host of “Ask Aida,” who studied at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, has created a reference book to put you at ease in the kitchen. The book includes 305 recipes for straightforward dishes that will take you through morning, noon and night. Also included are primers on various cuts of protein, cooking equipment, spices to keep on hand, and illustrations on how to expertly cut up a chicken and fillet a whole fish.
This shrimp dish is simple enough to make on a weeknight as it cooks up in less than half an hour. Large shrimp are simmered in butter, loads of garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, a drizzle of honey and some lager beer. Mollenkamp calls for light lager, but I just used regular lager.
Meet Top Chef’s Richard Blais
Richard Blais, winner of “Top Chef: All-Stars,” will be appearing at Sur La Table in San Jose’s Santana Row on March 3.
The chef, known for his way with liquid nitrogen and other molecular cooking techniques, will headline a Q&A session at Santana Row Park at 11:30 a.m. At noon, he will sign copies of his new book at Sur La Table.
“Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate” (Clarkson Potter) is his first cookbook. It features 125 recipes that highlight his inventive approach to cooking, including adding coffee to butter for pancakes, cooking lamb shanks in root beer and making cheese foam for your favorite burger.
The book signing is a ticketed event and seats are limited. Tickets will be given out upon purchase of “Try This at Home” at Sur La Table.
Justin’s to Open in Santa Clara in March
It’s taken nearly three years, but Chef Justin Perez is finally poised to open his restaurant at the old Wilson’s Jewel Bakery site on Homestead Road in Santa Clara.
Only now, it won’t be called Restaurant O, after his former restaurant in Campbell. It’ll be Justin’s Appetite for Expression. Plagued by permit and construction delays, the new restaurant is expected to open March 5, if all goes according to plan.