Tear and Share Roti

By Niko Triantafillou


Niko Triantafillou
Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski's signature roti
Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski's signature roti

Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, the husband and wife team behind State Bird Provisions and The Progress in San Francisco, have three simple yet hard-to-arrive-at requirements for adding a new item to their menus. When all the elements come together, the synergy on the plate is undeniable.    
1. Is it delicious? Dishes should have craveable, drool-worthy ingredients that evoke an emotional (and physical!) response from guests, like fondue made with local Wagon Wheel cheese and créme fraiche, or quail eggs, black truffles, and matsutake mushroom pesto. (Salivating yet?!)
2. Is it of “intellectual interest"? With the daily repetition in their kitchens, any new dish must be a stimulating, motivating, worthy pursuit. (How many of you can make roti by hand in your sleep?) 
3.  Is there a “cool factor” and is it “relatable?” Chefs and guests should be genuinely excited about the dish. Maybe it has an unusual technique, like specially made bread cooked on a buttered griddle. But it shouldn’t be so cool that it doesn’t feel accessible. Normally, truffles are associated with exotic, fancy-pants dining. But when you put them in roti—a bread eaten around the world—it immediately becomes unpretentious and approachable, yet retains all its deliciousness.
And while it’s not a requirement, they do also consider “shareability,” especially for State Bird Provisions.
For their main stage demonstration at the 2018 StarChefs Congress, Brioza and Krasinski presented three equally-delectable ways to make their signature Roti—a dish that embodies all of their “new dish” standards. Here are a couple of their most important roti do’s and don’ts.
Get your hands dirty with the dough. “You have to mix this dough by hand!” says Krasinski. “We tried using stand mixers and it didn’t work.” She also noted that the recipe calls for half all-purpose and half pastry flour to keep the dough soft and supple.
Don’t skimp on the fat—really! “The key to great roti is fat! Use lots of clarified butter so it doesn’t stick to the flattop,” Brioza exclaimed, as he slapped another large pat on top of the sizzling roti. Words to live by: when in doubt, add more butter! In addition to the butter in the dough and on the flattop, whole-milk yogurt is mixed into the roti dough. Tangy, fatty, tender, truffle-laced roti!  ✔. ✔. ✔. 

Get the recipe for Quail Egg Roti and Wagon Wheel Fondue here.

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