Incanto executive chef Chris Cosentino, a Food Network regular (as the co-host of Chefs vs. City) and the latest culinary master (after Anthony Bourdain and season-six Top Chef wannabe Eli Kirshtein, among others) to wield his knives as a comic-book superhero sidekick – adding just a pinch more bite to Wolverine's bark – expands his TV repertoire this week as a guest on the Cooking Channel's Easy Chinese: San Francisco, a 14-episode guide to creating the great Chinese dishes made famous in the city.
"Where's the beef from?" and "Is that grass-fed?" are common queries in the San Francisco food world. And with local offerings like 4505 Meats' meat-filled CSAs and things like pork happy hour at Fatted Calf in Hayes Valley, butchery practices are working their way even further into the city's vernacular. Now Avedano's Tia Harrison and Primal Cuts author Marissa Guggiana are taking things one step further wtih The Butcher's Guild, one of our country's first support groups for ethically-minded butchers. With local whole-animal advocates Ryan Farr and Chris Cosentino among the group's 23 charter members, The Guild is now reaching out to other members of the industry to expand its reach in the early going. Later this summer, they'll be recruiting lay people (i.e. meat geeks) as members.
I first heard about cod sperm, and how it's an edible delicacy for the "jet set," back in December. Socialite wrangler Gilt City threw an upper crust mingle fest at Benu. Chef Corey Lee decided to serve a liquified version of cod sperm in shot glasses as a passed appetizer. The well-to-dos knocked it back and liked it with reckless abandon (even though most of them didn't know what they were sipping). And the Chronicle's Beth Spotswood wrote about the affair and her server's insistence that "it's like a thing. It's the male version of caviar."
Last night at the CUESA Sunday Supper I learned the following: that Gialina owner Sharon Ardiana is opening a new restaurant (though she doesn't have a space yet), that Mark Dommen's next whole beast meal will be devoted to suckling pig, that Bar Tartine will serve housemade English muffins when they open for breakfast in three weeks (and that chef Chris Kronner isn't sleeping much).
It turns out that this wining and dining is exhausting. Though the official start time of today's festivities was 10 a.m., things have been running on PBST (Pebble Beach Standard Time), no doubt owing to the quantity of food and wine being consumed. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the generous Acqua Panna, San Pellegrino and Driscoll berry sponsorship—not because it's so fabulous (though I do like having access to iced sparkling water wherever I go), but because it's like an episode of Top Chef—so blatant as to be funny. This morning, as I waited in line for the Thomas Keller demo, women in green dresses proferred up baskets of berries, asking each attendee, "Would you like to start your day with a Driscoll berry?" Um, no. Instead, I hit up the Illy espresso kiosk.
Good morning. Reporting live today from Pebble Beach Food & Wine, a multi-day chef extravaganza taking place at the storied Inn at Spanish Bay, located on 17-mile drive. The event kicked off last night with an absolutely packed wine-and-food reception, where celebrated chefs offered bites of food and wineries poured their best.
Here are my early observations.