BARAKA | San Francisco
Many a great chef has gotten his start by washing dishes, and David Bazirgan is a prime example, dunking his hands in the suds at the age of 15 in his native town of Newburyport, MA. Working for Boston celebrity chefs Barbara Lynch and Todd English, Bazirgan learned early on what it means to be a part of a winning team. From Chef English he gained an understanding of layered flavors; from Chef Lynch he developed his exacting technique and appreciation for hyper-seasonal menus. Two years ago, Bazirgan brought his passion and experience to the San Francisco culinary scene, first at Elisabeth Daniel and then at Baraka, where he has given Moroccan and Spanish classics a refined edge. Like his mentor chefs English and Lynch, Bazirgan has learned the art of successful restaurant multi-tasking, overseeing the kitchens of Baraka, Chez Papa and La Suite, all of which are owned by restaurateur Jocelyn Bulow.
La Belle Farms Foie Gras Torchon with
Ras al Hanout Gastrique
Chef David Bazirgan of Baraka – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 6-8 Servings
- 1 (1 ½ pound) lobe "A" grade foie gras
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sel rose
- 2 fluid ounces sauternes
- 1 gallon water
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup fig balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon ras al hanout (allspice may be substituted)
- ½ cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 16 ripe Black Mission figs, cut in half lengthwise
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Chopped chervil
- Grilled walnut bread
For Foie Gras:
Allow the foie gras to sit out for 2 hours at room temperature. With curve of spoon, scrape foie gras off veins, set cleaned foie gras aside, and refrigerate. Discard veins and blood. Combine sea salt, sugar, sel rose and sauternes with foie gras and refrigerate. Marinate for 24 hours. Pull foie gras out of refrigerator and lay cheese cloth on counter. Arrange foie gras on one end in cylinder shape, about 2 inches in diameter, and roll with cloth from one end to other as tightly as possible. Using 2 pieces of twine, tie each end of cloth. In a pot, bring water, bay leaves, and thyme to a boil. Place foie gras in water and reduce heat to a light simmer. Cook for 90 seconds. Using tongs, remove foie gras and shock in ice bath. Leave in bath for 10 minutes. Remove and ring out water from both ends. Lay out towel and roll again. Tie again on both ends, leaving one length of twine a foot long. Hang in the refrigerator overnight. Foie gras will be ready to serve in 24 hours. When ready, cut off twine and remove the towel and cheese cloth, leaving only the foie gras. Wrap foie tightly in plastic until ready to serve.
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and reduce by half over low heat. Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside.
Sprinkle sugar over figs, one at a time, and brûlée with torch until golden brown.
To Assemble and Serve:
Slice the foie gras into desired thickness using a warm blade and place on chilled plates. Place 2 figs on one side of foie gras and drizzle gastrique on the other. Sprinkle foie gras with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and garnish with chervil. Serve with grilled walnut bread.
Quady Elysium Black Muscat, Central Valley, California, 2004
AT: Is there a place that you want to travel to for culinary researching purposes? Why there? Which place that you’ve already been to has had the greatest impact on your menus?
DB: I definitely want to go all over Spain but haven’t had a chance yet. I’d like to go to Japan, Southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. Before I open my own place I want to do expanded travel and research for a while in order to figure out exactly which way I want to take my food.
AT: What are your favorite restaurants in San Francisco?
DB: I like Thep Phanom for Thai food and Delfina for simple Italian.
AT: What trends do you see emerging in the restaurant industry right now?
DB: I wouldn’t necessarily call it a new trend but a lot of people are doing sous vide cooking. Right now I don’t use the technique much in my cooking but I plan on using it more. I’d start out with a cheaper one because we don’t really have a huge equipment budget.
You can get a small cryovac machine for a few hundred dollars. I plan on using it with foie gras to prevent moisture loss - also fish, meat, storing vegetables to freeze them and use them in the middle of winter, mushrooms.
AT: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
DB: Right now I’m running three restaurants for Jocelyn Bulow – Baraka, Chez Papa and La Suite – and I plan on doing this for a few more years. They’ve given me a great opportunity.
AT: How do you manage being at three places at the same time?
DB: I have strong sous chefs at all three restaurants. I come in and make sure that things are going well and help with prep before service. Baraka was the first place I started at. I’m excited to do new things and I obviously like to keep very busy. And I’m happy to be chosen for the award. It’s nice after working really hard to get exposure and recognition like this.