Eating: 18 courses from the best San Francisco chefs at the StarChefs Rising Stars Gala event
CRAVE: Bites from Josey Baker Bread, Lazy Bear, flour + water, and State Bird Provisions
San Francisco is a foodie mecca. An international destination with a little bit of everything, and some of the best chefs and culinary masters around.
But food moves fast, one second you’re the hot, new thing and the next your positive word-of-mouth chatter has been replaced by the hubbub for the new organic, vegan restaurant that actually gets their tables from the trees grown on the land of their farm-to-table farmers.
It’s tough out there.
The StarChefs Rising Chefs Gala is a great event to know who’s-who and who deserves to be the who’s-who in the San Francisco chef scene. If you love food and a good night out, this is an adventure that should definitely be added to your bucket list!
Over the course of the evening, 20+ San Francisco chefs, artisans, pastry chefs, sommeliers, bartenders and their restaurants are honored for their talents. (Skip to the bottom of this post for a complete list of the winners.)
If you love exquisite cuisine, this is the event for you. Eighteen generously-sized plates are prepared, giving you the opportunity to stuff your stomach and sample these amazing restaurants simply in one evening.
Here are some stand outs for the evening from the 2016 gala.
Artisan Josey Baker always kills with his Josey Baker Bread. This guy is the creator of the $4 toast press-capade, but for a reason. His sprouted quinoa and malted barley bread was topped with a generous slather of butter and honey. Amazing bite to start out with!
Chef Val Cantu brought home a win for his restaurant, Californios. Californios is an amazing new Mexican restaurant getting a lot of hype, especially with it’s one Michelin star and innovative tasting menu from this San Francisco chef.
For us, Cantu prepared “Tres Frijoles” — a creamy mousse of cranberry beans and royal corona beans-jalapeno on top of a layer of moro bean broth, pickled pearl onions and shallot relish. This was all kinds of fiesta in my mouth. And, of course, topped with caviar and gold because, why not?
Lazy Bear. Who hasn’t heard of this spot? With its 100+ tickets, communal dining, and multi-course tasting menu, everyone’s loving the inspiration behind the food at this restaurant.
San Francisco Chef David Barzelay delivered a unique dish, capturing all the flavors of breakfast in one gorgeous shell of an egg. Whipped scrambled eggs, bacon, maple and Lazy Bear hot sauce create a few fluffy, salty scoops that will make you wonder how in the world he made this.
Unsurprisingly, flour + water knocked it out of the park. Chef Evan Allumbaugh a pasta of summer squash-pistachio pesto, Buffalo ricotta, toasted pistachios, and cultured butter. This thing was savory, salty and melted in your mouth pleasantly alongside the crunch of the pistachios. Love.
Making it over to Oakland can be tough when there’s so much to eat here, so I was ecstatic when Clove and Hoof’s John Blevins was one of the chefs recognized. He put together an amazing fried beef cheek terrine that was just the perfect amount of crisp. Topped with trout roe, a little sauce of deliver egg puree, and a side of asparagus and smoked dates made the variety of flavors in this phenomenal.
Other dishes included:
Beef tartare with radishes and a seaweed wrap by San Francisco Chef Brandon Rice of Rich Table.
A take on Spanish tortilla española – a tortilla de patata (potatoes) and Dungeness crab offset by fresh spring peas, pea shoots, Miner’s lettuce and pepper cress. Dish made by Chef Ryan Pollnow of Aatxe.
Get your veggies! Brassicas, bang caudal, Meyer lemons, crunchy deep-fried almonds and crisps of Nori by Chef Yoni Levy of Outerlands. (One of my personal heavens.)
And what would the night be without dessert.
Pastry chef Maya Erickson of Lazy Bear made an amazing best sweet bite. A base of burnt strawberry contrasted with the chilled goat milk sorbet and the crunch of crisp, sweet caramel grains.
Another favorite, State Bird Provisions’ chef Mikiko Yui did an amazing twist on canelés. The canelé has such a spongey, most texture, but crisp outside — Yui flavored hers with matcha and topped them with white chocolate cream, candied ginger, pomelo and strawberries.
Chocolate fix delivered by pastry chef Lisa Vega of Dandelion Chocolate. A passion fruit tart covered with rum-coconut caramel, chocolate, toasted coconut and meringue.
Last dessert, a chocolate mousse with red velvet cake and ice cream by chef Edward Martinez of Cadence (which is sadly closing — keep an eye out for where he ends up next!).
With all the San Francisco chef and restaurant industry chatter, it’s nice to see culinary professionals being recognized for what they do best. The 2016 winners were:
Carrie Blease + Rupert Blease
Burritt Room + Tavern at the Mystic Hotel
flour + water
Corporate Pastry Chef
State Bird Provisions and The Progress
Sextant Coffee Roasters
Josey Baker Bread
Clove & Hoof
The Rare Barrel
Brian Felley + Mo Hodges
The Sea Star
Ryan Cole, Jason Halverson, Cyrick Hia, Jason Kirmse, and Tai Ricci
Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group
Add this event to your eating agenda for 2017. To learn more about StarChefs visit their website here.