Market Watch: Bix’s Bruce Hill and Team’s Picks From the Farmers Market
Chef Bruce Hill is a busy man. Despite juggling four restaurants he has agreed to once again act as Event Chair for CUESA’s 9th annual Sunday Supper. He’ll be in good company on October 2nd alongside heavy hitters like Melissa Perello of Frances, Ravi Kapur of Prospect and Michael Tusk of Quince as he generously gives his time and effort to help support CUESA, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and our educational programs. Bruce’s Larkspur based restaurant Picco, will also be represented at the dinner with a course of mesquite grilled calamari, herbed shelling beans and a roasted pepper relish prepared by Picco’s Chef de Cuisine Jared Rodgers.
Of all the great chefs who shop at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, it’s the kitchen crews from Bruce’s restaurants that turn this weekly routine into something of a team building exercise. Bix Chef de Cuisine Erik Lowe, Pastry Chef Aaron Toensing and Hill can be found together almost every Saturday sampling and selecting local produce from the over 65 farms that attend the market each week. They’re often joined by Rodgers and Colin Dewey, a Bix alumnus and the new Chef de Cuisine at Bruce’s latest San Francisco venture, Zero Zero.
The boys from Bix loaded down their cart this week with some great late summer produce including flats of Candystripe figs, heirloom tomatoes, sweet Brentwood corn, basil, Romano beans and freshly ground, aged grass fed beef from 4505 Meats, made especially for use in the epically good Bix burger.
Many of the vegetables they had gathered that morning would be featured in the section of the menu aptly titled Farmers Market Vegetables and even the Bix classic and menu mainstay, Chicken Hash, would be spruced up this week too with the seasonal addition of fresh mascarpone and Sungold Cherry tomatoes, the ones from Everything Under the Sun Farms being particularly good this week. Lowe also told me he had plans to dehydrate the French prune plums he scored from K & J Farms and rehydrate them in Armagnac to serve alongside a pork dish.
For Bix’s dessert menu, Pastry Chef Aaron Toensing stocked up on Gravenstein apples for a Hatch chile apple pie. He was also after some heady musk melons from Hamada Farms and late season stone fruit. He told me, “We’re using all the plums and pluots from Tory Farms right now, mainly the Flavor Kings, their sweetness changes from week to week so it's always different.”
The crew told me this month they’re looking forward to more shelling beans, artichokes and the change from summer to fall. “Everything’s summer right now,” Erik told me, “but we did see the first pomegranates this morning, so that tells me change is coming.”