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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

IACP Conference Hits San Francisco Next Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 8:00 AM

In Crust We Trust - PHOTO COURTESY OF IACP
  • Photo courtesy of IACP
  • In Crust We Trust

Thomas Keller watchers, get ready: next weekend, San Francisco will be the home to the International Association of Culinary Professional's (IACP) 35th annual conference that has a regional theme of "Dirt to Digital: Real Food in a Virtual World." Keller, Joyce Goldstein, Bruce Aidells and Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appétit are on the schedule, along with many other food world heavy hitters. IACP is a professional organization for folks of all stripes who work full time with food -- members include chefs, food stylists, TV personalities, cooking school teachers, caterers, scribes & editors, publicists and marketers, along with reps from food producers, suppliers, manufacturers and appliance makers (be on the lookout for swag!)

See also: Pop-Up Planner: The Best Temporary Restaurants, March 29-April 5

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Student Throwdown! Culinary Clash hits Luce this Sunday

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Clash of the Culinary Titans, the finalists: Jessica Lee (CCA), Brennan Price (CCA), Juliet Fine (Ai), and Maree Garcia (Ai). - CONNIE PEREZ-WONG
  • Connie Perez-Wong
  • Clash of the Culinary Titans, the finalists: Jessica Lee (CCA), Brennan Price (CCA), Juliet Fine (Ai), and Maree Garcia (Ai).

May the best student-chef bag fame and (scholarship) fortune! That's the premise of an upcoming Culinary Clash happening this weekend at the Michelin-starred Luce at the Intercontinental SF. Local culinary students The Art Institute of California - San Francisco (Ai), and the California Culinary Academy Le Cordon Bleu (CCA) will compete for a top prize in a series of Sunday dinners in collaboration with Chef Daniel Corey. Sunday's dinner is the creation of Maree Garcia, an Ai student: pan seared scallops with broccoli puree and vegetable salad; braised pork shoulder with chilies, poached egg and crispy Brussels sprouts; and a sweet ending of pear sorbet with lemon tuile.

See also: NBC TV Casting: Home Cooks, Step Up (And Tighten Your Apron Strings!)

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jasmine Smith Introduces Strong Cheese To San Francisco

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM

JASMINE SMITH
  • Jasmine Smith
A child of northern Wisconsin, Jasmine Smith grew up on a steady diet of processed cheese and Milwaukee's Best. "We used to get this cheese spread every year for Christmas that as a kid I liked but I now realize it was terrible!" Smith told us. 

 With her new venture Strong Cheese Provisions, she hopes to turn San Franciscans on to her holiday favorite by utilizing high quality cheese and local beer. Smith seems just the right person for the task. After stints at Cowgirl Creamery and Whole Foods, she is currently the cheese monger at Little Vine in North Beach and also writes the blog Beer at Joes with her husband Joe Ruvel.

Smith debuted Strong Cheese Provisions last August at the New Taste Marketplace but recently procured space in the JCC's kitchen, allowing her to ramp up production. "I've based it on fromage fort, the French cheese spread made from leftover cheese bits and wine. But since we're so into beer, why not make it beer?" she explained. Currently, Smith offers two variations, goat cheese with Telegraph Brewery's White Ale and three-year old Gouda with 21st Amendment's IPA.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Q&A with Evan Bloom of Wise Sons Jewish Deli

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Evan Bloom knew at his Bar Mitzvah that he wanted to one day serve you jellied calves feet. - FACEBOOK/WISE SONS DELICATESSEN
  • Facebook/Wise Sons Delicatessen
  • Evan Bloom knew at his Bar Mitzvah that he wanted to one day serve you jellied calves feet.

Last January, SFoodie talked with college friends turned business partners Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom during the infancy of their Jewish deli pop-up, Wise Sons. During the interview, Beckerman mentioned that he hoped Wise Sons would someday be "a brick-and-mortar operation in the Mission with maybe 30 seats." One year later, Wise Sons has exactly that in their brand new digs on 24th Street. We sat down with Bloom at the end of business after Wise Sons' fourth day of operations to catch up on food, friendship, and high expectations.

SFoodie: Early on, what's been your most pleasant surprise?

Bloom: How receptive the neighborhood has been. Friday (opening day) especially was a neighborhood crowd. We don't want to be too swamped for the locals. Even though we've had long waits, most people have been really patient and happy. I'm mostly cooking, but I've still had the chance to ask as many customers as I can how their food was. We only have 30 seats now, but we just got our permit to add outside tables, so that will add another eight.

Have there been any initial struggles?

We get people who come by and ask "how can you charge so much for a pastrami sandwich? It should be $6." We try to explain what goes into it. We're baking our own bread, which they can see in the window, and smoking our own meats. You can quote me when I tell you that we actually don't make any money on our meat sandwiches; only the other stuff.

In just one year of business operating only five hours each week, you've received an enormous amount of local and national press, including numerous mentions from the New York Times. Now that you're a full-fledged restaurant, do you worry about not being able to live up to the hype?

Definitely. I realize that we got cut a lot of slack because we were a start-up. My fear now is running out of food! There'a lot of pressure to make enough food! I don't want to be known as the place that always runs out of popular items. At the same time, I don't know yet what people will buy. With that hype, people are expecting the best now that it's the real deal. When I see people leaving after finishing their meal, I'm holding my breath because I want to hear "It was really great."

Also, we want to keep the familial feeling going. We built this on Leo and I being the known owners, because that's what deli is about. We love it when customers recognize us, and even more when their children recognize us, and we hope that continues in the new space.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Studio Gourmet is Inside the Actors Studio for Chefs, and You Can Be in the Audience!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM

1300 Fillmore's chef David Lawrence at Studio Gourmet. - STUDIO GOURMET'S FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Studio Gourmet's FaceBook page
  • 1300 Fillmore's chef David Lawrence at Studio Gourmet.

Brad Lev founded Studio Gourmet while still living in Atlanta, Georgia. He owned a catering business, which was headquartered in a 5,000 square foot space, perfect for special events. He started hosting special evenings like "Swinging Sushi" (sushi class and swing dancing!), Tango and Tapas (guess!) and Studio Gourmet, a monthly culinary event that brought local chefs in front of a live audience for a cooking demo, interview, and tasting. So wildly popular that Lev brought it to San Francisco when he moved.

Since transplanting, he's hosted five Studio Gourmet shows, featuring the likes of Martin Brock from Gary Danko, Matthew Accarrino from SPQR, and Hoss Zare from Zare at Flytrap. Quite a line-up! Even with all those big names, Lev can't pick a favorite, "because they all have such different stories and experiences. They also have all brought amazing food to try!"

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Daniel Patterson on Copenhagen's MAD Foodcamp: International Glamor, Hyperlocal Foods

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Daniel Patterson.
  • Daniel Patterson.

Daniel Patterson, chef-owner of Coi, is freshly back from last week's MAD Foodcamp in Copenhagen, at which he presented a history of beets.

The two-day symposium was organized by René Redzepi, chef of Noma, which has been celebrated for its intricate experimentation of native Scandinavian foods. Heavily covered by the international food press, the event brought together some of the most interesting people cooking today: Michel Bras, Gaston Acurio, David Chang, Andoni Aduriz. (In rock terms, it'd be like the Pitchfork Music Festival distilled down to a 300-person gathering.) The theme of the event: plants.


SFoodie talked to Patterson earlier this week about his experiences. Here are a few excerpts from our hour-long discussion:

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Studio Gourmet: New Local Web TV Show Interviews 1300 on Fillmore Chef David Lawrence

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 1:15 PM

David Lawrence shares a laugh with Studio Gourmet host Brad Lev - CARINA OST
  • Carina Ost
  • David Lawrence shares a laugh with Studio Gourmet host Brad Lev

Inside the Actor's Studio meets the Food Network is how we would describe the new web-based show called Studio Gourmet SF. The concept is that a local chef with a good story will do a cooking demo, an in-depth interview with the host Brad Lev, and then the live audience can eat the signature dish from the chef.

On Sunday, we arrived at Circolo for the live taping and the chef of the month was David Lawrence from 1300 on Fillmore.

For the cooking demo we got to see how Lawrence's signature shrimp and grits are made. It was surprising to see a guy with a British accent cooking southern food; it turns out Lawrence is from the U.K., but his wife is from the U.S. south and when she first made grits he knew he could improve them. Grits with butter and water didn't cut it for David and he has now perfected the grits with cream and mushroom stock. Upgrade!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Celebrity Nonvegetarian Yotam Ottolenghi Dishes Over Lunch

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Yotam Ottolenghi - JESSE HIRSCH
  • Jesse Hirsch
  • Yotam Ottolenghi

Superstar Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi has been working for years to bridge the gap between vegetarians and the rest of us. He makes no secret about his own meat eating, but he made his culinary reputation in Britain by infusing veggie recipes with intense, Mediterranean-influenced flavors, served at his chain of British upscale delis.

Ottolenghi is visiting the Bay Area for a couple of days, promoting his near-universally praised cookbook Plenty, and SFoodie caught up with him for lunch yesterday. Over egg salad sandwiches at Il Cane Rosso and macarons from Miette (which the industrious Ottolenghi already blogged about!), we learned more about his love of the Bay Area, his veggie diplomacy, and his thoughts on Mission Chinese Food.

SFoodie: Have you spent much time in the Bay Area?

Yotam Ottolenghi: It has probably been nine years since I visited, but a lot of people don't know I used to live in Mill Valley in '77 and '78. I was only nine, but some of my strongest memories of food come from that time. Coming from Israel, where we didn't have much of that, I absolutely loved oysters, shrimp, fish ... I distinctly remember the taste of fried oysters at Fisherman's Wharf. Also, I had a teacher who would reward us for remembering our multiplication tables by driving us for big fluffy American ice cream. Never in my dreams did I imagine this could happen back home!

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Dan Jablow's Meat Awakening

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Dan Jablow of Jablow's Meats - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Dan Jablow of Jablow's Meats

What does a Bronx raised, ex-finance professional who goes to cooking school but then figures out that he hates working in a restaurant kitchen do with his future? Well, if you're Dan Jablow you start a smoked meats pop-up of course. Jablow, who trained at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and had short stints at Boston's Evoo and as a prep chef at America's Test Kitchen, landed a spot at Fatted Calf upon returning to the Bay Area recently and had a "meat awakening." "My wife and I were so tired of the same old deli meats until we wandered into Fatted Calf one day and, since working there , I've wondered 'how can I put my stamp on meat?'", said Jablow.

Well, his "stamp" is Jablow's Meats, which debuted a few weeks ago at the New Taste Marketplace. Using a newly purchased charcoal smoker and a trusty Berkel slicer, Jablow is serving up bacon, pastrami and ham at local pop-up events and hopes to be selling to retail outlets soon. Sfoodie can vouch for the pastrami, which we tasted at the Underground Market last weekend. After fifteen hours over a pile of mesquite and cherry wood, it was moist, extra smoky, and, when paired with a healthy smear of grainy mustard and a few slices of Della Fattoria pan levain, made for an excellent sandwich. Jablow's next outing will be a return to the New Taste Marketplace on June 11th.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Ubuntu's Aaron London: Cooking Like Meat Doesn't Matter

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2011 at 2:53 PM

James Beard Rising Star Chef finalist Aaron London. - UBUNTU
  • Ubuntu
  • James Beard Rising Star Chef finalist Aaron London.

When Ubuntu opened in 2007, there was great fanfare across the land. Jeremy Fox was the undisputed king of vegetables, and the restaurant topped pretty much every Best Of list. Critics (literally?) crapped their pants over its amazingness ― they couldn't believe vegetarian food could taste this good. Well, more likely, they just hadn't eaten in a vegetarian restaurant until one opened that was shmancy enough to catch their eye, but that's another story.

Fox reigned supreme at Ubuntu until 2009. He left to take time off, before going to work for Tyler Florence and starting work on a book. His position was soon filled by Aaron London, a chef who ― with the exception of a brief hiatus working front-of-house at Bottega in Yountville ― has been with Ubuntu since the beginning.

London has worked in nearly every role in the Ubuntu kitchen (he joined as sous chef just weeks after the restaurant opened). London brought a new philosophy and passion to the 4-year-old restaurant in the post-Fox era, and his food is ridiculous. As in ridiculously delicious. It's so good that although the wine list is exceptional, you don't need alcohol to forget you're eating in a restaurant that's also a yoga studio. Normally we need to be one gin and tonic away from hospitalization for that to happen.

London's hard work ― he puts in over 100 hours a week! That's more hours than we're awake per week! ― was recognized with a nomination for a James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award. All that and he's barely 27. As someone who is jealous of her 5-year-old niece for not knowing what a shitfest life can be, we could really see hating this guy if he weren't so damn likable.

London's rule at Ubuntu has meant jettisoning the bulky-yet-popular strawberry pizzas and chickpea fries and introducing weirdly named experimental dishes that often focus on a whole fruit and/or vegetable. After working at fine-dining establishments around the world, London says the one thing he's most bummed about is the amount of food that's tossed out in our nation's fanciest kitchens. [When asked if our favorite dish-gone-by, the chickpea fries, would make a comeback, London says, "My God, I never want to see those things again!" He wants to focus on less bulky foods, and on more actual vegetables, "plus they're a signature dish of the previous chef." That's fair, but we have to give it up to Oprah for having the recipe. Ugh, where would be all be without Oprah? Probably still rubbing two sticks together.]

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