Chefs & Cooks
Every once in a while I think about moving out of the Mission. Someplace quieter, I think, someplace with fewer crazies. But then I come up out of the BART station on 24th Street after work and the smell of grilled meat hits my nose and I think, nah. I can’t leave. Good things just keep happening in the Mission.
It’s hard to keep up, that’s for sure. The perennial San Francisco chef-shuffle is a source of both amusement and aggravation for me, keeping me perpetually on my toes. Who, after all, wants to be the last to know? So it’s always nice when a bit of information lands in my lap, as was the case today. My editorial assistant had just finished fact-checking a bunch of our restaurant listings (like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, this is a never-ending task—you complete it, only to begin again) and dropped the sheaf of papers on my desk, noting casually, “Oh, by the way, Joel Huff is leaving Silks. But you knew that, right?” Uh…no!
Marcus Samuelsson, the wunderkind chef from NYC's Aquavit and award-winning cookbook author, was in SF last night to promote BlueStar ranges, powerful (and expensive) gas stoves that put out 22,000 BTUs of restaurant-level heat. Turns out Samuelsson himself owns a BlueStar and moonlights as a spokesman of sorts. We thought we'd be sitting down to a Samuelsson-prepared dinner, but instead got a cooking lesson in which he demonstrated the fine art of searing and sitr-frying, which, he repeated several times, is not the same as sauteeing. And if you're trying to sear something with a regular at-home stove, it's likely you're just sauteeing it instead.
Craig Stoll will not confirm if he cried on Sunday night in New York while accepting his James Beard Award for Best Chef from the Pacific region. (But let’s just say when I asked him he didn't say no, which we all know—when you’re dealing with men—means yes.) Stoll was up against some serious Bay Area competition too, including David Kinch from Manresa, Doug Keane from Cyrus, Michael Tusk from Quince and David Meyers from Sona in LA.
The other night I was headed to a new restaurant, Anchor & Hope (to read a Q and A with co-owner and all-around-nice-guy Doug Washington, click here), and I mentioned to our Executive Editor that I was almost hoping that I wouldn’t like it (I did...but more on that in another post). It’s not that I relish being a crank (at least, not all the time) but just that loving all these restaurants in San Francisco can be debilitating.
Universal Cafe, one of my local favorites.