A while back we spent some time in the Bay Area baby sitting while our kids were involved in out-of-town business trips. One of the payoffs for our efforts was that we got to attend the Silicon Valley crawfish boil I wrote about. Another bonus was the chance to attend the San Francisco Rising Stars celebration sponsored by Starchefs, an organization that publishes magazines and websites catering to food professionals. Once a year, in a different city, Starchefs throws a big event to recognize rising star chefs from that community. This year it was San Francisco’s turn. Sarah and Evan were fortunate enough to be selected among the eight Rising Star chefs, along with outstanding pastry chefs, artisans, restaurateurs, brewers, and mixologists.
The event was held at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. There is a lot of excitement just with the prospect of seeing a huge major league baseball park all spiffed up and without the crowds.
Still, there was a different crowd: for a select few (actually willing to pay a lot more for their tickets) there was a VIP reception in the main-floor restaurant and lounge. “Free” drinks, appetizers when you could intercept the servers, and some women in long gowns – in a baseball park.
After the reception, everyone headed to the seats behind home plate to watch the awards ceremony. One by one the winners were called out of the dugout to run to home base for an introduction, award, and photos.
Next, everyone rode elevators up to the Club level, complete with spectacular views of the stadium and San Francisco Bay behind it. There the winners had all prepared some of their signature dishes and served them from tables set up around the lobby, interspersed with tables of wine paired with each of the dishes.
There was some pretty spectacular food, and this is just a sampler:
- Nick Balla, Bar Tartine Fisherman’s stew with green chile
- Richie Nakan, Hapa Ramen Crispy ramen noodle cake
- Jessica Largey, Manresa Verbena- and chamomile-poached sea bream collar
- Jason Fox, Commonwealth Scallop, hearts of palm, popcorn puree
- Brett Cooper, Outerlands Fish sauce-glazed Berkshire pork belly
- Duncan Holmes, Sons & Daughters Squab with marcona almond butter
- Mark Liberman, AQ Australian beef short ribs with black garlic
Of course, we were partial to Sarah and Evan’s offering from Rich Table, chicken lasagna with pumpkin and greens
All in all, it was a great evening in a great setting in a great city. My only concern was getting out of the parking lot with all of those other revelers.