I first slurped up some basil seeds last year at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The school was hosting a World of Flavors conference on Japanese cooking and a ridiculously hip chef from Tokyo presented me with a little cup of basil seeds on top of soy milk custard and sea urchin—a textural delight for me, but one that could have easily caused another person to run screaming for their mother.
We are just getting around to reading this article, written by Raymond Sokolov for the Wall Street Journal. As usual it's not new news for anyone who lives out here in the Bay Area (or, you know, reads the New York Times), but his glowing portrait of Los Gatos' Manresa and disciple Ubuntu, up in Napa, means we'll hardly be surprised when biodynamic gardens and haute vegetable temples start cropping up like wildflowers in the coming year.
Chef Eric Ripert of NYC’s Le Bernardin was in town last week to promote his excellent new cookbook, On The Line (Artisan). Co-authored by Christine Muhlke, it’s a look behind the scenes (danger, drama!) at one of the country’s most revered fine-dining restaurants. Twenty years into it, Ripert has a lot to say.
Ripert is close friends with chef Laurent Manrique of Aqua, so he’s spent more than the usual amount of time eating around SF. Ripert and I sat down for dinner the other night and had a chat. Turns out he's a seriously nice, soft-spoken guy.