Surprising New Chef at Michael Mina Restaurant, Plus a Bar Treat
Ron Siegel, who was on the opening team at the French Laundry in Yountville and the first American ever to defeat an “Iron Chef” on the original Japanese cult cooking show, is the new head chef at Michael Mina restaurant in San Francisco.
For Siegel, who has spent nearly a decade at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, it’s a home-coming of sorts.
Chef Mina first hired Siegel as a line cook in 1991 at Aqua, the restaurant that used to operate on the same spot where Mina’s eponymous flagship now is.
In the ensuing years, Siegel, a Palo Alto High School grad, worked at Daniel in New York, then became head chef at Masa’s in San Francisco, Charles Nob Hill in San Francisco, and both the Dining Room and its new incarnation, Parallel 37, at the Ritz-Carlton.
“Michael has been a mentor since the early days of my career and it is an honor for me to join the Michael Mina San Francisco team, cooking alongside him,” said Siegel, in a statement.
Siegel will start in September.
Meantime, Michael Mina restaurant wants to entice visitors to its swank bar by offering its famous tuna tartare for a special price of $10 (regularly $19).
Fruit Pies Around the Bay Area
There are cake people. And there are pie people.
For pie lovers, you can’t ask for a better time to indulge than summer when fresh fruit ones abound.
At Madera restaurant in the Rosewood Sand Hill resort in Palo Alto, get a taste of warm tart cherry hand-pies with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream ($10).
At San Francisco’s Bluestem Brasserie, enjoy more hand-held pies. Its “Happy Camper Pies” ($9.50) are filled with fruit-herb jam and seasonal fruit. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream accompanies, as what’s pie without ice cream, right?
Prospect in San Francisco get a load of peach fry pie ($9.50) — little pies fried up crisp with a filling of Blossom Bluff peaches, then garnished with raspberries, tayberries and Bavarian buttermilk ice cream.
Traditionalists will revel in the apple pie with brandied cherries and cheddar tuille ($10) at Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco.
French Laundry and Per Se Launch “Experience Cards”
These may very well be the ultimate gift cards.
No longer will Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Yountville and Per Se in New York issue issue plain ol’ gift certificates made of paper. Nope, now you can purchase “Experience Cards,” made of sleek metal and sent in an elegant bow-wrapped box.
Meet Chris Cosentino at Williams-Sonoma
The offal-good chef, Chris Cosentino of San Francisco’s Incanto, will sign copies of his new cookbook, “Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal” (Weldon Owen) at Williams-Sonoma at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, 2 p.m. May 15.
In a departure from his trademark head-to-tail cooking that makes use of organ meats and every other odd bit, his cookbook spotlights 60 recipes for Italian first-courses through the seasons.
Books must be purchased at Williams-Sonoma in order to be signed.
La Boulange Opens in Downtown Palo Alto
The Bay Area’s La Boulange is opening its 19th locale — this newest one in downtown Palo Alto at 151 University Ave. Doors will open May 16.
Chefs Star at the 2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
It’s time for the largest garden festival around, the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, March 21-25, where you’ll not only get to gawk at gorgeous garden exhibits, but enjoy a host of cooking demos, too.
Some of the Bay Area’s finest will be showcasing garden-to-table cooking. Among those taking the stage are: Executive Chef Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole in San Francisco (March 21); Melanie Eisemann and David Budworth of Avedano’s Meats in San Francisco; Chef Greg Dunmore of Nojo in San Francisco (March 22); Pastry Chef James Ormsby of Bluestem Brasserie (March 22); Chef Annie Somerville of Greens in San Francisco (March 23); the creative team behind Bi-Rite Market and Creamery (March 24); and TV cooking personality Martin Yan.
And for those in the South Bay and Peninsula loathe to drive to San Francisco, remember the garden show actually is held in San Mateo at the San Mateo County Event Center. So, there’s no excuse not to go now.
Tickets to the garden show are $20 for a single day, $25 for the all-show pass good on all days of the event, and $65 for the gala, which includes food, wine and music.
Fifth Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine
Join more than 75 of the world’s best chefs and 250 acclaimed vintners at the Pebble Beach Resorts, April 12-15, for a slew of gala dinners, cooking demos and one-of-a-kind wine tastings.
Among the highlights at this year’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine will be a celebrity chef golf tournament, a special father-daughter presentation by Jacques Pepin and Claudine Pepin, a cooking demo by Michael Chiarello of Bottega in Yountville, and a dinner in tribute to Thomas Keller of the French Laundry.
SusieCakes Comes to Menlo Park
SusieCakes, which started in Southern California but has spread to these northern parts, is opening its newest location at 642 Santa Cruz Ave. in downtown Menlo Park.
The bakery, know in particular for its old-fashioned cakes and cupcakes, already has two other Bay Area locations: San Francisco and Marin County.
Join in the grand opening ceremony at the Menlo Park bakery, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 24. Dust off your favorite poodle skirt for an old-fashioned sock hop with 50’s tunes. Best costume wins a prize. There will be plenty of cupcakes, cookies and bars to sample, too.
Porchetta Sundays at Brassica in the Napa Valley
After a weekend of wine tasting, there’s nothing better than a big hunk of juicy, slow-cooked pork to go along with it.
Every Sunday night now at Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s Brassica in St. Helena, they’re serving up porchetta — a whole loin of pork stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel fronds and fennel pollen, then roasted in a Caja China charcoal oven for 3 1/2 hours.