POPSUGAR Celebrity

An Early Look at San Francisco's Rising Food and Wine Stars

Jun 17 2010 - 4:41pm

Even though we were headed to Aspen [1] before the crack of dawn this morning, last night we passed up packing in favor of the Star Chefs Rising Stars Revue [2], a traveling event that recognizes some of the most avant-garde culinary professionals in various cities like New York, Chicago, Seattle, and our home base of San Francisco. Over a jaw-dropping view of the bay, we enjoyed vittles from various chefs, some of whom were just beginning to realize their own potential. To get a peek at what cutting-edge creations were served, keep reading.

VIP hour took place on a sun-filled balcony in San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square [3].

The first dish I tried was from Josh Thomsen of The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa [4], who won hotel chef of the year. It was a delightful goat cheese-potato terrine with slow-roasted baby beets and aged balsamic syrup. I made two returns for more!

Host chef Martin Brock from Gary Danko [5] highlighted cured New Zealand Salmon with jicama, lotus root chips, and curry remoulade.

Over canapés and sparkling wine, guests enjoyed sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay.

I felt bad for the Flour + Water team, who got chosen to make ravioli, which had to be boiled on the premises. The fresh pasta, however, was a sight to be seen.

Flour + Water [6]'s Thomas McNaughton made his famous ravioli doppio of pork and pea.

Mixologist Erick Castro of Rickhouse [7] was the talk of the night with his "Lusty Maritime Punch," featuring Highland Park Single Malt Scotch and Yellow Chartreuse.

Joshua Skenes of Saison [8], who won for restaurant concept, made a dish of little roots braised with bonito, caramelized shoots, flowers, and leaves. While it was delicious, it seemed a little too simple in comparison to the others.

SPQR [9]'s Matthew Accarrino made a dish of bone marrow, sformatino, smoked bacon, and onions.

Shelley Lindgren of A16 [10] and SPQR won the restaurateur award. She offered guests roasted sardines and minted pea bruschetta with pickled onions.

Pastry chef Catherine Schimenti of Michael Mina [11] made an apricot mousse, cherries, and lemon verbena.

Aziza [12] chef Louis Maldonado served a textural take on tartare with marinated striped bass, petrossian caviar, green strawberries, and crispy brown rice.

Manresa [13]'s John Paul Carmona chose a combination of boudin blanc, dates, and wild watercress.

How can one go wrong with crispy pork belly with bacon-braised red lentils, spinach, soft-poached egg, and chives? You can't. Just ask Maximilian DiMare of Wood Tavern [14].

My favorite dish of the night, hands down, was Chez TJ [15]'s. Chef Scott Nishiyama served up house-made mustard toast with blackberry and cashew, blanketed in moulard duck foie gras.

Source URL