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Market Watch: How Boxing Room Chef Justin Simoneaux Uses Fall Produce

Justin Simoneaux

Justin Simoneaux of Boxing Room

Fall has definitely arrived at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and the chefs who shop here have been loading up their carts with early winter squash varieties, quince, Asian pears and other seasonal treats. One such chef, Justin Simoneaux of The Boxing Room, is no stranger to incorporating seasonal ingredients into his Southern-inspired menus.

After coming to San Francisco eight years ago, Justin worked his way through many of the city’s most notable kitchens, including Coco500 and The Moss Room, before being named a Rising Star Chef in 2009 by StarChefs. He hails from a small town in southern Louisiana, and his menu for The Boxing Room reflects his knowledge of working with farmers markets produce and his passion for his culinary heritage. It currently includes his take on classics like jambalaya, gumbo and fried chicken, as well as dishes that highlight locally grown ingredients such as chicories, apples, persimmons and Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are a quintessential fall favorite, and over the past month they have reappeared at Iacopi Farms' stand, where they are sold both loose and on the stalk. Justin combines them with another fall staple—apples. “I’m doing a warm Brussels sprouts salad right now with Gala apples, a little radish and tasso,” Justin recently told me on one of his regular trips to the market.

“I’m looking forward to using winter squash and persimmons on the menu soon,” he said. “I really love roasted persimmons.” He added that, once roasted, persimmons are excellent paired with chicories, such as puntarelle and radicchio, which you’ll find in the cooler months at the market from farms like County Line Harvest.

For info about persimmons and other fall favorites, along with seasonally inspired recipes from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, check out the CUESA website.