All posts tagged: featured

Behind the Feast: “Revival” Sous Chef By Day, Avant-Garde Cook By Night

“Somebody asked me, ‘If I wasn’t a chef, what would I be?’ My reply was simple. ‘If I wasn’t a chef, I wouldn’t BE.’” Working in restaurant kitchens, even executive chefs have to follow the “rules” of the industry. But cooking is an art that shouldn’t be restrained. That’s why Ronny Miranda came to Feastly – to share his personal experiments with passionate eaters who appreciate the story behind each and every dish. Born and raised in Oakland, California, Miranda hails from a long line of cooks. As a third generation Azorean-American, he grew up experiencing a plethora of cuisines in the culinary mecca that is the Bay Area. “Cooking is simply a part of my family’s history and has continued to be,” he says of his culinary-savvy forefathers, who immigrated to the United States from Portugal in the 1930’s. Miranda’s first gig was washing dishes for his family’s ice creamery. “It was a very humbling experience,” he tells us, looking back, “it’s harder than you think to get ice cream and hot fudge off 600 plates in one sitting.” …

Behind the Feast: Local Forager & Fisherman Geoffrey Reed

With 20 years under his apron, Geoffrey Reed owes much of his culinary awareness to the ocean and mountains that surrounded him as a native of McKinleyville, California. It began early on in his parent’s garden, fishing in the creek behind the house and having full reign to play in the kitchen. Geoff got his first taste of the culinary life at 12, helping with chocolate dipped strawberries and washing dishes on Valentine’s Day at a restaurant where his older brother worked. That adventure turned into 6 years of working his way through every position in the kitchen. After moving to Arizona in 2002 to attend the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Geoff began working at Mary Elaine’s with Bradford Thompson and later on Nobuo Fukuda of Sea Saw, both James Beard Award winning chefs. A fascination with Japanese food and culture led to a thriving experience in the 26 seat omakase restaurant where he cooked for 6 years. He later on worked side by side with Nobuo on R&D trips to Japan, New York and LA …

Behind the Feast: Biologist, Supermom & Chef Vijitha Shyam

By day, Vijitha Shyam is a molecular biologist working on clinical trials to improve public wellness and health. Come evening, she transforms into a passionate home chef, spending hours cooking, writing and photographing recipes new and old for her blog Spices and Aroma. You can try some of her original recipes here: Carrot Halwa Trifle Rose Petal Pudding Purple Carrots Salad Vijitha joined Feastly earlier this year, with the mission to share her authentic Indian cooking at pop-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since her first dinner, she’s taught curious eaters from all walks of life about the history and stories behind her culture’s culinary traditions. This past summer she successfully hosted a 28-course Indian Wedding Feast, showcasing classic South Indian recipes and dishes, all while donning a beautiful dress of traditional wedding garb. Her upcoming pop-up is a 5-course South Indian Tasting Menu on July 11th, check out the menu here. We sat down with Vijitha one sunny afternoon to chat about how she does it all. 1. What is food to you? I grew …

Pasta alla carbonara

Tomato sauce is fine and good most of the time. But, some days, you pine for pig on your pasta. Spaghetti alla carbonara is sure to sate your suine-filled cravings. Pan-crisped pancetta and aged pecorino adorn this pasta. No one is sure where “carbonara” comes from. Roman residents trace it back to WWII, when American soldiers abroad missed the homey taste of bacon and eggs. Others point to working-class roots — saying the dish resembles a meal coal-workers (carbonari) once made with cheese and eggs. Although many American restaurants add bacon or cream to their versions, purists in Italy use just cheese, yolk and pork. Unlike American bacon, pancetta is not smoked. The meat is air-dried, snug in a coat of salt and spice. It’s satisfyingly unctuous but won’t make your meal taste like a fire pit. Tasty carbonara needs good ingredients —  orange yolks, pecorino romano and salt-cured pig. Avoid pre-grated “parmesan,” as the cheese loses flavor after grating. Once the spaghetti cooks, toss the still-steaming pasta with the cheesy-peppery-eggy slurry.  Hot pasta will melt …

Aglio, olio, peperoncino

  By Chef Chris Atwood Italian food is normally a slow affair. Hand-shaped pastas. Flame-simmered braises. Day-long sauces.  But, in Florence, an Italian university student showed me one of Italy’s easiest recipes: aglio, olio e peperoncino. Garlic (aglio) and chili (peperoncino) get sauteed until fragrant in rich olive oil (olio). Our tasty trinity is then tossed with a heaping of hot spaghetti. This is food for the kitchen clueless. Think of it as Italy’s answer to college dorm Kraft Mac. You can jazz up the oil-slicked spaghetti with a handful of chopped parsley, grated parmigiano or toasted breadcrumbs.     INGREDIENTS: * 4-6 cloves of garlic (or more to taste), roughly chopped * 3 dried peperoncini or 1/2 tsp. or red chili flakes * 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil * 16 oz of dried spaghetti OPTIONAL ADDITIONS: * 1/2 cup of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped *1/3 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano * 1/3 cup of  pan-toasted breadcrumbs PREPARATION: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Pour in the …

Diverse Borders Bring Intense Flavors to Burmese Cuisine

At the intersection of its many flavor-rich borders comes the dynamic cuisine of Burma. It’s tough to get away with salad as a major selling point, but Burmese cuisine manages to do it with style. Which makes more sense when you consider that Burmese salads feature ingredients like crunchy roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, and crispy beans and seeds. Not the delicate salads of your neighborhood cafe, these are hearty, sumptuous dishes that can pull their weight as entrees. The popular tea leaf salad is named for its pickled tea leaves or “lahpet,” an ingredient that is not only unique to Burma but its beloved national delicacy. Even the serving style is unique – traditionally the lahpet is placed in the center and surrounded by piles of the other ingredients, with diners hand-tossing it as they eat. In San Francisco you’re more likely to find the local additions of lettuce and tomato, which Chef Ma incorporates into her tea leaf salad along with jalapeños and red onion. But salad is just one component of Burmese cuisine. Heavier …

Chickpea-Smuggling Burmese Chef Brings Flavor to the Kitchen

Ma’s manner is muted as she serves us plates of her traditional Burmese food, so we’re all floored when she confesses to being both an international food smuggler and Muni driver. With a little prodding, she reenacts how she challenges the bribe-seeking Burmese officials when she returns to the US with suitcases full of specialty peanuts and legumes. “I show them my American passport and ask to speak to their supervisor and they leave me alone,” she laughs, “I’m not smuggling jade, it’s just chickpeas!” Ma is used to serving her native cuisine to wide-eyed newcomers, in fact she was doing it long before people started lining up to join the Burma Superstar craze. After working there for years, she delights in getting to know her “Feastly Friends” over intimate meals. Ma learned about Feastly through a facebook friend, giving her the perfect opportunity to find a community to nourish. She lives with just her husband, so cooking for her “Feastly Family,” as she calls it, has allowed her to take on the larger-scale, labor-intensive …

Behind the Feast: Malaysian-Australian Expat & Cook Tracy Goh

As a fourth generation Malaysian, Tracy was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, where her Chinese great-grandparents settled in 1930. After 23 years in Malaysia, Tracy spent more than 5 years honing her cooking skills in Australia before bringing them to San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood. Like her great-grandparents, she has spent much of her life living abroad, recreating foods and flavors she grew up with and misses from home. Tracy started cooking and hosting Malaysian dinner parties with Feastly because of requests she received (and still does) from curious followers on her Instagram, where she curates and posts photos of her culinary creations and food adventures. When asked about her cooking style and inspiration, she told us, “I don’t cook a dish the same way every time. Home cooking is about improvising and trusting your palate to find the right balance.” “I never use the word ‘authentic’ because Malaysian food is multicultural,” she explained, “so every cook has a different recipe for the same dish, depending on their regional and ethnicity influences. I just try …

Behind the Feast: Meet St. Croix-Native Chef Ralph Motta

Hailing from his native island of St. Croix, self-taught chef Ralph Motta has been passionate about food since he grew up as a child on his family’s goat farm. His Feastly menus showcase the unique flavors of St. Croix, using local ingredients sourced from neighborhoods around his home in Manhattan, New York. Guests at his supperclubs (aptly named Motta Cuisine) enjoy artistically prepared dishes stemming from a history that dates back five centuries. Growing up speaking St. Croix’s native Crucian dialect, Ralph’s come a long way to share his story and cuisine with NYC’s hungriest eaters. 1. What is food to you? Food to me is a whole body experience. While growing up I lived on a small farm where we raised goats for their meat as well as grew local produce for the house. This practice of farming shaped my ideas of food consumption and understanding how the animals were raised and where the produce came from at a very young age. 2. How and when did cooking come into your life? It wasn’t …

Behind the Feast: Meet Filipino-Hawaiian Chef Eric Pascual

California East Bay native Eric Pascual has had a burning passion for food since he was a child. Every summer, he’d fly to Oahu, Hawaii to stay with his aunt in the small town of Moanalua Valley. It was there that he would spend hours shadowing his grandparents in the kitchen, watching them cook and prepare rich, aromatic feasts for the family. His grandfather, who migrated from the Philippines to Hawaii to work on a sugar cane plantation, grew up hunting fresh game to use in his traditional Filipino recipes. Eric’s early exposure to all things food has only fueled his passion today in San Francisco, where he spends his days tasting and creating unique menus to share at his Feastly events. 1. What is food to you? Food a way to stay healthy and create memories with friends, family, and new acquaintances. It has not only been an outlet for me to relieve stress, but also to express my creative side. 2. How and when did cooking come into your life? Cooking came into my life as far …