The Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle: Worldwide Culinary Performance Comes to Manresafeatured

On Thursday, July 9th 2015, 37 celebrated chefs from around the globe swapped restaurants for one night in a dining experience dubbed The Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle. In this worldwide musical chairs production, the chefs not only swapped restaurants, they swapped lives, residing in their colleagues’ homes, working with their staff, dining with their friends and families, and feeding their cats.

The Shuffle was sponsored by S. Pellegrino (you’ll notice that many of the participating chefs are also on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna), and orchestrated by Gelinaz!, a collective made by chefs for chefs, whose mission is to explore the unknown by creating collaborations between chefs, artists, musicians, scientists, thinkers, and producers. As described by co-founder Andrea Petrini, “The line-up for this performance is a family of chefs, who take risk as a starting point, that are neither fearful of creativity, nor driven by ego, but are fueled by a desire to explore.”

Tickets for the event were sold based on what the usual tasting menu price would be at each restaurant (at the three participating Bay Area restaurants – Manresa, Coi, and Atelier Crenn – we’re talking upwards of $270 all in), which diners blindly paid for the chance of experiencing an 8-course menu crafted by the likes of Rene Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, Albert Adria, or Alain Ducasse, just to namedrop a few.

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Pan-Seared Chicken Breast with Mint Pesto and Sauteed Shredded Carrotsfeatured

Whoa. Where did June go?

These days have been go go go, so when my friends at Williams-Sonoma asked if I would be interested in checking out their new Recipe of the Day App, my eye landed on the simplest no-fuss recipe I could find, naturally. Luckily, it just so happened to be exactly what I needed. Something healthy, fast, and satisfying. Winner winner weeknight chicken dinner!

Normally, chicken breast is not something I’d say I crave. It’s just a little ho hum for me on the regular. But, pair it with this mint pesto situation and my tune could not have changed faster. Fresh mint, toasted almonds, a little shallot, a big squeeze of lemon juice, and good olive oil all get tossed into the food processor and the result is just magic. Seriously, mint pesto, where have you been all my life?

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Thistle Change You {Giveaway}featured

Life is all about balance. So, while there are definite occasions for stick to your ribs ribs and phatty chocolate cake, and all the ice cream…there are also times to go a little lighter, a little cleaner.

I’ve been trying get more greens into my daily diet and making an effort to do a “paleo mindful” / “whole 30 weekday” thing (Oh gawd, have I become an SF foodie parody of myself? Maybe, but at least I’ll be a parody that glows from the inside out from all my newfound phytonutrients). Limiting the dairy and upping the veggies have been challenging — good thing I have friends who can make it easier.

Enter Thistle, purveyors of health and happiness in the form of juice and superfood-filled meals. Thistle specializes in plant-based meals using only fresh, organic ingredients sourced from local farms. Delicious and nutritious, and delivered right to my door! That’ll work for me.

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Vietnamese Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps (Sous Vide/Slow Cooker)featured

Pulled pork gets a Vietnamese makeover with an umami-rich marinade of hoisin, fish sauce, and a punch of sriracha, mixed together with caramelized onions, aromatic ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Low and slow is the name of the game when it comes to transforming a humble cut of pork shoulder into something marvelously tender and juicy. You can achieve this in the slow cooker, as per the NYT (the inspiration behind this recipe), or you can break out the sous vide!

I tried both. Both were wonderful, but I did prefer the sous vide version. A 24-hour sous vide treatment renders the pork meltingly tender – it literally falls apart with the prod of a fork. It then gets sprinkled with brown sugar and blasted under the broiler to mimic that charred sweetness reminiscent of true Vietnamese street food eats. BYO little red stool.

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