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Chefs & Cooks

Reality Bites


SF's Traci Des Jardins is the first to go.

Just Like Us

I’ll admit that one of my guilty pleasures is reading bad celebrity magazines. I usually restrict my reading to airplanes and at the dentist’s office (where no magazine, no matter how trashy, will distract me from my fate). But I’ve never really understood Us Weekly’s “Just Like Us” bit, where they catch celebs jogging, say, or buying toothpaste, then slug it with “Stars! They’re Just Like Us!” Yeah, just like us, save for the million-dollar paychecks, throngs of paparazzi and houses in Beverly Hills. Well, like somebody’s mother once said, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. And, apparently, like Crest.

Big-Time Chef Goes South



Chef Luke Mangam at South, the day before its big opening party.

Cal-Mex Hits Maine

I’m always reminded that some of the best things are the most unexpected. Happy accidents, I think they're are called, and they seem to occur most just when you stop looking. I spent last week touring around the great state of Maine, visiting farmers and checking out local restaurants (did you miss me?) and in the process was reminded of the greatness of serendipity.

Citizen Cake Connections

Sanchia’s one of my best friends in the city. As luck would have it, she’s married to Sean Forsha, the second-in-command under executive chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake (and soon Orson). And as if I could get any luckier, Sanchia invited me to dine with her at the newly remodeled Citizen Cake last Tuesday.


Gastronomy by the Bay

I worked over Labor Day Weekend, but when work requires that one eat and drink and be merry, the line gets blurry.


Cooking demos outside the Ferry Building Marketplace

This weekend was the Gastronomy by the Bay event—the first international culinary event that brings together chefs and press from North America and Europe. I attended two of the three roundtables—one on sustainability, organic farming and the food chain and the other on gastronomic guides and the Internet.

Hot in the Kitchen

Yesterday I was watching a rerun of Top Chef in which Stockton line cook Michael Midgley won an elimination challenge with a luscious-looking pairing of trout and salmon ensconced in a melange of vegetables. Midgley is pudgy, a bit unkempt, and in this episode he had just had emergency dental surgery, so his cheek was swollen and red. But as he layered the disk of trout against the steaming salmon, this perennial truth re-occurred to me:

There’s nothing quite as hot as a man who knows how to cook.

Where to Eat Next


In the Outer Richmond, a restaurant to return to.

What do a TV star and a hippie farmer have in common?

When you write a story for a magazine, there are always so many things you can’t get into—there’s never enough room to squeeze it all in (although should the New Yorker come calling, I’m set). It can make an editor resort to drastic measures.

A stop at Marin Sun Farms butcher shop in Pt. Reyes,
just one stop on a trip for my latest story.
Photo by Stefanie Michejda

Battle of the Chefs, Take 2



It’s that time again—another Monday, another Macy’s Industry Night “Battle of the Chefs,” with me as guest judge. I had a great time at the last event, which pitted Noah Tucker of Brick against Eric Hopfinger of Circa—let me tell you, there was some ego involved!
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