More from California
We usually wait until the end of the year to reflect on our careers, but Chef Robbie Lewis (formerly of Bacar—San Francisco, CA) couldn’t wait to share the ups and downs of his recent culinary moves. Read Robbie’s letter that tracks his shift from restaurant chef to private chef, to his current position as corporate chef. He offers a seasoned professional’s insight into the pros and cons of each kind of work, while illustrating how many directions a passion for the culinary arts can take you.
If you’re looking to try something new (and profitable) in your restaurant, why not get into the cured meat craze? For the fourth installment of our charcuterie series we decided to focus on Justin Everett’s small scale set-up at El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma, CA. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re on a budget, Chef Everett has plenty of tips on how to make charcuterie in limited spaces (seriously—he works charcuterie magic in a above his desk). Check out the accompanying videos for complete instructions on how to cure pork loin and make garlic sausage, even in the tightest of quarters.
And if pastry is more your domain, be sure to check out Pastry Chef Dan Carter’s clever use of sushi rice in his desserts at Go Fish in St. Helena, CA. We’ve seen lots of comfort food in our recent travels, and Carter takes a classic childhood icon—Cocoa Crispies—and puts his own refined stamp on it that triggers an emotional response. Read more in our technique feature to learn how Carter dehydrates and puffs sushi rice to create his own chocolate-laced version that he calls Koko Krispies.
The latest edition of Top Pairs is a shout to the Napa and Sonoma sommeliers who made such standout pairings that we can still taste them. There’s a heavy emphasis on California Pinots—which is no surprise considering their location. Learn about each of the four sommeliers and see what we loved about each of these phenomenal food and wine matches.
Speaking of wine, there's a new Ask the Sommelier featuring Jesse Rodriguez, the sommelier of Addison and the beverage director for the entire Grand Del Mar Resort in San Diego, CA. Rodriguez, who started out as a server and worked his way into managing a wine program, is one of the most passionate oenophiles we know. He’s big into giving back to the wine community, and is happy to answer any questions you have. Read Jesse’s bio, interview, and wine tips, and contact him directly here.
San Diego isn’t known yet for its cocktail scene, but Mike Yen of Nine-Ten brings innovation and originality to the bar. Yen, who is self-taught, creates molecular cocktails inspired largely by Chef Jason Knibb’s Caribbean-influenced food. Read our interview with Yen and recipes for his fun drinks that are a refreshing departure from the classic cocktail trend. Take Yen’s Smoked Turkey Cocktail, for example. It’s composed of Wild Turkey Honey Bourbon that’s infused with applewood shavings using an aquarium pump and a smoking gun. He pours the beverage into a port sipper and adds dry ice for maximum visual effect.
Be sure to check out Fly on the Wall for a wrap-up of the Napa Sonoma 2009 Rising Stars Honorees Dinner, and to feel as though you were part of the action.
And let’s not forget all the tastings we’ve been doing closer to home on the East Coast! Take a look at our photo galleries from recent New York tastings, and stay tuned for more on our final Boston trip, plus our upcoming Dishrag Newsletter focused on textures in food.
As always, we love hearing from you! Be sure to become a fan of StarChefs on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to keep up with where I’m going and what I’m eating.