A few weeks ago I helped cook a fancy 10-course dinner benefiting the SF-Marin Food Bank. The event was organized by The T.E.C.H. (Tech Entrepreneurs Caring and Helping) Foundation, founded my friends Brooke and Maggie to encourage those involved in tech and entrepreneurship to give back to the community through fun fundraising events. My co-chef, Michael, generously donated all the food costs, so nearly 100% of the ticket price went directly to the food bank. Michael really went all out -- I’d expect nothing less from a guy who orders an entire leg of Iberico ham for dinner parties -- and we had some pretty fun ingredients to play with. Oysters, caviar, lobster, wagyu, truffles, foie gras…game on!
Here’s a look at what we came up with. Amuse Bouche: Pan Tomate with Iberico Ham Oysters and Pearls -- our ode to The French Laundry. Foie Neige: a swipe of cashew cream, blackberries cut into discs, cubes of strawberry-balsamic gelee, brioche croutons, and a flurry of frozen foie! I tasted this remarkable dish from Scott Nishiyama of Chez TJ years ago at the Rising Star Chefs event and I’ve been wanting to recreate it ever since. This dinner was just the excuse I needed to experiment on a whole lobe of foie gras! It was actually much easier to execute than I expected. I deveined the foie, marinated it in sauternes, a bit of pink salt, salt, pepper, and sugar, and then weighted it overnight in a terrine. Afterwards, I cut it lengthwise to form two torchons wrapped it in plastic and foil and stuck it in the freezer until frozen solid and ready to grate with a microplane. Here’s the recipe from Star Chefs to make your own dreams of foie snow storms come true. Parmigiano Pudding over focaccia with roasted asparagus and prosciutto. This one’s straight from April Bloomfield – so good as is I didn’t change a thing. Soup & Sandwich: lobster roll with brown butter and black truffle, with lobster bisque. Bao Chicka-Wow-Wow: crispy pork belly, pickled carrots and cucumber, and hoisin spread. Here’s the secret sauce: I took the mirepoix from the pork belly roast (cooked in all that tasty pork fat) and blended some of it with hoisin sauce. Yes I did. Spring Tortelli stuffed with crescenza and tossed in a brown butter sauce with favas, pea shoots, radishes, pine nuts, and lemon zest. I finished it with some parsley oil, lemon oil, and of course, Michael made it rain with the truffles. Roasted Quail stuffed with Foie Gras with parsnip puree, spinach, and fig-sauternes sauce. Turf and Turf: Iberico pork and Wagyu beef with brussels sprouts, white asparagus, mushrooms, and miso-lemon sauce. Grapefruit Campari Granita with Yogurt Semifreddo -- One of my favorites from Locanda! I garnished it with some candied kumquats. Sweet, tart, and so refreshing. (Update: I posted the recipe here!) Chocolate Mousse Meringue Cake -- Also known as a concorde cake, I love this cake for the varying textures. Inside are layers of rich dark chocolate mousse and chocolate meringue. As it sits overnight, the two meld together and you end up with a texture like the chewy, crunchy edges of a brownie pan. Macaron Tasting: olive oil ganache, salted caramel chocolate, mint mojito, lychee-rose-raspberry, and caramel apple flavors. This was our bonus dessert course. I didn’t think our guests would be able to eat another bite after such an epic meal, but they prevailed! Thanks to all our guests for supporting a great cause and being such appreciative diners! And special thanks to TECHFoundation, my co-chef Michael, and of course my favorite sous Hua for pulling off such a fun event. TECHFoundation on Facebook to stay posted on future events!