Ferran Adria in Conversation

“If you think well, you’ll cook well.” Ferran Adria

The Bay Area’s food obsessed turned out in droves for last night’s sold-out Ferran Adria event at the Castro Theater. Chef Adria, founder of Spain’s El Bulli and recognized the world over as one of the most, if not THE most, important figure in the culinary world today, charmed the audience of 1,400 rapt enthusiasts as he moved from philosophical quip to video clip all in an effort to set the record straight on creativity and cuisine.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing to come out of Mr. Adria’s presentation was his insistence that he “know[s] nothing about cuisine.” So it comes as little surprise that in the chef’s ethical construct, cooks “have to be humble!” The new book, The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria, while hardly humble, reminds us that creative genius in the kitchen relies heavily on a solid foundation of traditional cooking. Beautifully laid out and organized into three course menus, the photo-intensive work guides the home cook through hundreds of recipes and techniques using tools we’ve all come to recognize as equipment staples. There is no liquid nitrogen or agar agar, no cotton candy or frozen olive oil lollipops here. The recipes in this latest work inspire rather than strike fear in the hearts of the timid home cook. It is a fitting segue to the next iteration of El Bulli and its public mission to educate. We can’t wait to dive in!

A big shout-out to Omnivore Books for hosting and organizing this terrific event and to the folks at Phaidon for supporting the effort. We were inspired!

Bake Sale to Breakers

Here are 18+ Reasons to have your cake and eat it too!

When we awoke Saturday morning Jason still had chocolate frosting to make, and a cake to frost before we headed out the door to this year’s Food Blogger Bake Sale. The Cook’s Illustrated chocolate frosting recipe that accompanies their old-fashioned chocolate cake recipe is amazing and will undoubtedly become part of our culinary repertoire. With no powdered sugar and lots of butter and chocolate, this frosting is similar to a ganache but with a nice caramel touch. We couldn’t stop licking the spoons and bowls this morning, which added a much-needed boost to get us out the door. Our breakfast consisted of frosting and coffee, a perfect start to a bake sale morning.

The sale was hosted by 18 Reasons in the Mission near Bi-Rite and Tartine Bakery. The tables inside this tiny space were already overflowing with wonderful looking cookies, cupcakes, pies, breads, and more when we arrived with our 2 cakes, 6 jars of granola, and 4 loaves of bread. The space was small and cozy and we kept bumping into each other trying to find room for all the goodies.

It's just like riding a bike. The first cake Jason has frosted in years.

The bake sale pulled in $2,400 in support of Share Our Strength’s mission to end childhood hunger in the USA. Yes, it’s a bit ironic to hold a Bake Sale to end hunger. But if we’re going to eat our cake anyway, why not do so in support of those who have nothing. As San Franciscans we know how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful city with all it’s culinary privileges. But the city hasn’t always been so lucky and a hundred years ago, San Francisco was just starting to rebuild after the devastating earthquake of 1906. What a great capstone on a beautiful, if a bit wet, weekend to run Bay to Breakers in celebration of San Francisco’s enduring resilience, as well as to eat a piece of cake or two.

And what better way to burn off all the calories from Saturday’s Bake Sale than to run across the city at 7:00 am? Well, we can think of a lot of better ways, but when the whole city is going to a party so early on a Sunday morning, in this case the 100th running of B2B, we had to join in on the fun with the other 60,000+ revelers. We’re not the costume wearing sort or the nude runner kinds of guys. We wore our typical, boring running shorts, t-shirts, and shoes. But, run we must and run we did.

Of course, it would have been a much better run had we not drunk two bottles of wine the night before and ate dinner so late in the evening that we felt we were on Buenos Aires time. But even with the wine and late night dining our times were respectable. Jason ran the course in 1:00 and 15 seconds (not the under 1 hour he was hoping for) and Steve ran it in 1:06 and 57 seconds. Had we taken the run seriously we could have both finished in under an hour. Something to think about before we run the San Francisco Half Marathon later this summer at – gasp – 5:45 a.m. We must remember: no booze the night before, no midnight dining, and early to bed. Of course, a slice of cake or a croissant will be mandatory before and after the run. The wheels are already turning for the menu planning.