Paella w chicken, spanish chorizo, prawns, clams, roasted peppers, saffron rice and Truvée Red Blend
Last week, I had the pleasure of lunching with the McBride Sisters, the first African-American sisters to own a wine company – Truvée Wines. Fittingly derived from the French verb “to find,” each bottle of Truvée embodies the McBride Sisters’ wonderful story of growing up continents apart, completely unaware of each other’s existence before uniting over a mutual passion – their love for wine. With Truvée, they’ve crafted an affordable and contemporary wine sourcing grapes from multiple premiere vineyards throughout the Central Coast of California.
Meditteranean Spreads – cucumber-dill tzatziki, feta-aleppo pepper, hummus, smoked eggplant paired well with the Sangria
Tasting the clean and crisp Truvée Chardonnay with the family-style starters
Sharing the same father, but raised by different mothers, the sisters both grew up in emerging wine regions—independently fostering appreciations for the craft of winemaking. Growing up continents apart in Monterey, California and Spring Creek, Marlborough, New Zealand, both were unaware of the others existence for nearly half of their lives. Their father’s final wish before he passed away of cancer was to connect his two daughters. The sisters were united for the first time in 1999. Their inspiring story honorably exemplifies ”to find what matters most.”
with Truvée Wine founders Robin McBride and Andréa McBride
Truvée Wines Sangria – perfect drink for a poolside BBQ or summertime dinner with friends
If you’re around this Thursday, I’ll be moderating a thoughtful, food-focused panel at the ultra-chic Cuyana showroom in San Francisco’s downtown Union Square. The name Cuyana means ”to love” in Quechua and this gastronomy panel is one of the featured topics in the Fewer, Better Series. The panelists include an incredible group of food folks from the Bay Area. Hope to see you there!
It’s typical that most want to experience a chef’s cuisine when they’ve become a public success, but what about when they’re a relatively unknown at the start of their careers? We must remember that all cooks and chefs began sans the shining accolades, and through thick, thin, and a whole lot more thick aka the journey, that is where their real story took place. And this is why it was so fun to experience the dishes of the aspiring chefs and cooking students at Intercontinental Hotel and Resort’s Ultimate Culinary Clash competition.
Adding finishing touches to NYC’s seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter
The second annual Ultimate Culinary Clash at the InterContinental San Francisco was part culinary student cooking competition and part scholarship fundraiser. Cooking student finalists from four InterContinental hotel regions battled against each other for a $5,000 scholarship to further their culinary careers. The personally-developed dishes were judged by a group of media, chefs and hotel executives and were based on taste, creativity and presentation. This year’s student chefs and their mentors – established chefs from four local InterContinental properties came to compete from New York, Mexico City, Cleveland and San Francisco – where one-star Michelin restaurant Luce is located.
InterContinental San Francisco, SOMA
After a lively night of sampling various dishes, the winner was announced and it was Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez, a culinary student at Anahuac University who impressed judges and wowed the crowd creating a 20-plus line deep of people throughout the evening. She was recognized for her “Tacos de Lechon” dish accented with cilantro, garlic, habanero guava foam and a red dried ant sauce on the side. She was assisted by InterContinental Mexico City’s Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes.
Mexico City’s Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez plating her winning Lechon dish
Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez Presidente InterContinental Mexico City Dish: Taco de Lechon
“With Michelin-starred chefs and celebrity restaurateurs to help develop our innovative culinary creations, the InterContinental brand’s world-class food and beverage program features signature bars and restaurants with exceptional menus that pair local flavors with global inspiration. It gives us great pride to introduce the next generation of culinary talent to our brand’s affinity for haute cuisine and support their progression as a student in a meaningful way.” – Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, VP of F&B, The Americas, IHG
Grilled Skirt Steak
Magdalis Galzara InterContinental Cleveland Dish: Grilled Skirt Steak with Belgian endive + orange-cumin marmalade, potato-cauliflower fritter, horseradish aioli foam
Chloe Sackett InterContinental New York Times SquareDish: Seared Pacific Branzino with fava bean puree, and ramp butter
Christopher Wan InterContinental San Francisco Dish: Ballotine of Young Chicken with Red Miso, DePuy lentils and grain mustard
InterContinental Hotel San Francisco Desserts
These fruit gelee tarts were pretty in pink!
Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes, Luce Executive Chef Daniel Corey, Ultimate Clash winner Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez
The Ultimate Culinary Clash serves as an opportunity for the InterContinental brand to showcase its commitment to culinary excellence. It began four years ago as a local annual cooking competition at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel’s Luce restaurant. The competition invited students from a local culinary school to compete for a chance to work with the restaurant’s Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey and showcase their own menu for one night in Luce. The competition was expanded for the second year in a row to include other InterContinental hotels from the U.S. and Mexico.
Although only one ultimate winner could be chosen, all of the students from the various Culinary Clash stages did a tremendous job putting out some pretty impressive plates. Kudos to all and excited to see what the future holds for all of you!
Ca’ Momi’s enoteca in Napa just introduced its spring menu highlighting the seasons’ organic bounty, picked directly from the Ca’ Momi garden in Napa. The seasonally-focused menu features vibrant asparagus, fava beans, strawberries and lettuces, incorporated into classic authentic Italian regional springtime dishes. Among the highlights of the new spring menu include:
Fiori di zucca – Crispy squash blossoms
Insalata di fragole e spinaci – Spinach & strawberry salad w shaved red onion & balsamic vinaigrette
Insalata di asparagi – Poached asparagus with organic egg and lemon vinaigrette
“Springtime is when we celebrate new beginnings and the bounty of our gardens,” - Ca’ Momi Chief Evolutionary Officer, Valentina Guolo-Migotto
Stracci alle pesto fave – Fava beans with mint, lemon and parmigiano reggiano
In addition to these seasonal menu offerings, Ca’ Momi enoteca has an extensive menu of signature year-round dishes which celebrate “la cucina povera” (poor kitchen) cooking, with flavors and ingredients rooted in necessity and crafted with quality organic ingredients from nearby farms and gardens, and with DOP ingredients imported from Italy. Ca’ Momi is also home to Napa’s only VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana) certified pizza. Ca’ Momi also has the Ospitalitá Italiana Seal of quality and authenticity granted by Italian Government to restaurants promoting Italian gastronomic culture and standards. Ca’ Momi enoteca is a Michelin recommended restaurant.
Ca’ Momi enoteca is currently located at the Oxbow Marketplace in Napa, California but will soon be expanding to a new Osteria in a nearby location 1141 First Street in late spring.
A team of San Francisco Bay Area’s one-starred Michelin chefs came together to form the perfect constellation at “The Michelin 101: Stars of the Valley” dinner at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. The “101″, in case you’re wondering is the Bay Area highway where all of the collaborating chefs and restaurants are located including Peter Armellino (The Plumed Horse), Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub), Jared Gallagher (Chez TJ) and Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/Rosewood Sand Hill). Desserts were created by highly skilled Pastry Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and the exceptional wines for the multi-course menu were chosen by the festival’s hand-picked team of guest sommeliers.
From the moment you stepped in to the tranquil Mediterranean setting of the Casa Palmero, you knew an enchanted evening was in store. Mere seconds after passing through the blooming spring garden, arriving guests were greeted with a glass of vintage Champagne Henriot Brut Millesime 2005. The smoky and highly fragrant sparking wine was refreshing, crisp and consisted of a proportionate combination of Chardonnay and Pinot. The Champagne from Reims, France was paired with the select Michelin chef’s hors d’oeuvres of the evening…
Warm Taylor Bay Scallops with Sauce Choron - Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse)
Foie Gras au Torchon with Seville Orange, Sesame Seed Crisp - Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub)
Tsar Nicoulai Caviar with Flavors of Vichyssoise - Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ)
Cracked Farro Porridge with Bone Marrow - Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill)
Following the relaxed Champagne reception, diners were led to a quaint, dimly-lit, room filled with a group of adorned tables that would soon be the canvas setting for the chef’s creations and wine offerings for the evening. Throughout the dinner, the celebrated chefs and winemakers presented and explained their inspiration for the dishes and wines following each of their courses.
The wines for the evening…
The Sommelier’s select wine pairings for the Michelin 101 Dinner
Jimmy Hayes (Mayacamas Vineyards)
Stéphane Ogier of Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France)
Bernard Hervet of Domaine Faiveley
Karen MacNeil (The Wine Bible)
And although the dining room was refined and tranquil, the kitchen we learned was a whole different story. When Chef Peter Rudolph came out to describe the components and influence of his dish, he exclaimed…”It’s so quiet in here! We were playing Dio and then… Slayer came on in the kitchen.” Everyone cheerfully chuckled. It was indeed obvious the chefs were doing what they do best, but also enjoying the camaraderie in the back of the house. Their cooking technique and styles vary, but all of their courses harmoniously complemented one after the other. The chefs may have been rocking out in the kitchen to head-banging, heavy metal tunes, but the dishes served were nothing short of a smooth, melodic symphony.
The Bay Area Michelin chefs courses for this very special dinner included:
First Course: Monterey Bay Abalone with Potato, Espelette and Lime by Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ) paired with Marqués de Murrieta Albariño, “La Comtesse de Pazo Barrantes” (Rías Baixas, Spain – 2011)
Second Course: Roasted Line-Caught Halibut with Vegetables Jardinière and Oxtail Consommé by Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub) paired with Domaine Faiveley, Chambertin Grand Cru, “Clos de Beze” (Burgundy, France – 2007)
Third Course: Roast Partridge with Morels, Huckleberries and Smoked Turnips by Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill) paired with Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France – 2007)
Fourth Course: Roast Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with Stinging Nettles, Semolina Gnocchi and Pickled & Roasted Spring Garlic by Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse) paired with Mayacamas Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA- 1998)
Dessert Course: Blonde Chocolate Ricotta Tart with Cocoa and Lime by William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves)
The delightfully rare and memorable evening concluded with dessert and petit fours for the table via Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) paired with Ramos Pinto, 20 Year Tawny, “Quinta do Bom Retiro.”
“We Cook together, have fun together, and came up in the ranks together… ” – Chef Peter Rudolph.
The stars of the evening – Chefs Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant), Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse), Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ), William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub). Armellino said that participating in this Pebble Beach Food and Wine dinner with his fellow Michelin-starred chefs and friends was the “pinnacle” of his career. Kudos to Pebble Beach Food and Wine for putting together an incredible evening featuring some of the finest culinary and wine talent in the Bay Area and beyond. It was a PBFW gourmet memory I won’t soon forget, but thankfully, these Michelin-starred restaurants along the 101 freeway are just an on ramp, some miles, and an off ramp away.
See all the celebrated San Francisco Bay Area chefs and restaurants in the 2015 Michelin Guide.