Features on StarChefs.com

On the Plate: Notable Presentations
April 2007
San Francisco, CA
Shrimp cooked on a slate, Dani Garcia of Calima Restaurant, Madrid Fusion 2007
Frozen Almond-Milk Parfait, with Vanilla Poached Field Rhubarb and Grandma Darling's Poppy Seed Kordjas

Alison Roman's lovely Spring-y dessert is the antithesis of the French Napoleon’s precise architecture and symmetry. The bright ribs of rhubarb are encouraged to cross the boundaries of their tower and the thick slice of parfait pours generously out of its sandwiching Kordjas. Roman’s Napoleon is rustic, spontaneous, and organic-looking.

Pastry Chef Alison Roman
Campton Place
San Francisco, CA
Edible Garden of Desserts, Montse Estruch of El Cingle, Madrid Fusion 2007
Carrot and Coconut Ravioli with Avocado Semi-Freddo and Spiced Tangerine Sorbet

Boris Portnoy’s plate is a clean, bright vision of oranges and pale greens. The most exciting feature comes in the form of tiny orange parcels – ribbons of carrot poached in syrup and holding cubes of cold coconut cream. The composed mouthful is reminiscent of an Indian carrot halva: sweet, savory, and spicy all at once.

Pastry Chef Boris Portnoy
Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA
Animated Forest 2007, Quique Dacosta of El Poblet, Madrid Fusion 2007
Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake with Castelvetrano Olive Brittle, Tarragon Ice Cream and Crushed Meringue

Leena Hung’s dessert is deceptively classic-looking. Don’t be fooled by the swirled disk of cake and pale green quenelle: the dish is unapologetically savory with bold tarragon and raw briny olive flavors. What keeps the dish fun and grounded is the gravy boat of tiny meringue kisses that the diner is free to sprinkle liberally for interaction, sweetness, and texture.

Pastry Chef Leena Hung
San Francisco, CA
Silkscreen of Squid Ink with Squid Carpaccio, Seiji Yamamoto of Ryugin Restaurant, Madrid Fusion 2007
New England Clam Chowder

Scott Youkilis serves regional dishes at Maverick, an American eatery in the Mission. His version of clam chowder started off a casual, hearty meal: a rough brunoise of potato, celery, onion and chives served in the clam shell with a Littleneck for one perfect mouthful of chowder.

Chef Scott Youkilis
San Francisco, CA
Fruits Impregnated with Imagination, Sergio and Javier Torres of El Rodat, Madrid Fusion 2007
Mustard Seed Roasted Pineapple, Coconut Panna Cotta, Spiced Beignet

Ryan West is adept at incorporating savory elements into his desserts – from artichokes to fennel and black olives. In this savory concoction, West serves an incredibly loose panna cotta with a series of contrasting textures – from roasted fruit to tender beignet and crisp sugar. The sugar garnish divides the plate and offers a focal point without appearing old-fashioned.

Pasty Chef Ryan West
Jack Falstaff
San Francisco, CA
Shabu Shabu, Charlie Trotter of Charlie Trotter’s, Madrid Fusion 2007
Chantenay Carrot Soup, Almond-Ginger Flan, Andalucian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Jonnatan Leiva’s rich essence-of-carrot soup is poured theatrically from a simple white teapot over a cool almond-ginger flan. While the flavor pairing is classic, the interactive presentation is fun both visually and texturally: the flan is slowly drowned in hot soup and its outermost layer melts simultaneously. With a little pampering and attention, Leiva makes the common marriage of carrot to ginger exciting again.

Chef Jonnatan Leiva