East Bay Appetizer November 22, 2013

Our Fabulous Female Chefs!

When the print version of Edible East Bay’s Winter Holidays 2013 issue hit the streets last week, there was already quite a buzz surrounding our article on Oakland’s new wave of female chefs, which we released early online. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, the first item below might compel you to do so now.


Females in the House:
Edible East Bay Showcases Local Goddesses of Food


Publishing a quarterly print magazine has many rewards. There’s the time and space to dive deeply into important stories and offer the kind of detail and context often missing in other media. There’s the opportunity to pair talented writers with gifted photographers to conceptualize a story from start to finish. And, of course, there’s the solid feel of the publication in one’s hands.

But putting out a magazine every three months comes with challenges too. Sometimes a story can’t wait that long to be told, or information that was current right up to press time changes just after we come out. Sometimes an article we’ve been working on for months appears elsewhere first.

Happily, this winter issue of Edible East Bay features a story in which the forces of the universe—and some astute planning—combined to bring to our pages an article that is both of the moment and in depth. In our feature, “Any Females in the House?” by Sarah Henry, we highlight the diverse new wave of top female chefs currently cooking in Oakland’s red-hot restaurant scene. It’s especially timely, as food media followers may know, because a hullabaloo raged in media circles recently following the release of Time magazine’s “Gods of Food” cover story, which failed to find one female chef worthy of inclusion. The writer of the story did himself no favors in a follow up interview for the site Eater when asked about the glaring omission of women in multiple places in the magazine package. Local food writer Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper dubbed it “mansplaining at its finest—and worst.”

A brouhaha has ensued, including a skewering story, also on Eater, by New York chef Amanda Cohen, a piece on Grub Street reminding readers of all the talented women chefs across the country, and a series of columns in The New York Times Room for Debate asking: “Why Do Female Chefs Get Overlooked?” Alice Waters, our most prominent local food “goddess” with international influence, weighed in too. “When you see women in the kitchen you think it’s a domestic thing and when you see men you think it’s a creative thing,” Waters told a reporter for Time. “That’s what we need to change. I think it’s a matter of how we go about our reviewing of restaurants. Is it really about three star places and expensive eccentric cuisine? The restaurants that are most celebrated are never the ones that are the simple places. If we celebrated food for what it should be celebrated for, women would just naturally rise to the top.” Sing it sister.

At Edible East Bay, we are honored to be part of the discourse. Our story, which we released online first, spread widely in social media circles, including by editors and writers of The New York Times, CNN, and Food News Journal. In addition, our brethren in local food writing acknowledged the contribution of our piece. Most importantly, we trust that readers will appreciate and value the efforts of the local female cooking talent we profile in our pages as they continue to create exciting dining experiences while making inroads in an industry that has long had a reputations as a boys club.


A Good Meal For All!
Volunteer on Thanksgiving


Dr. Menbe Aklilu at Salute e Vita Ristorante (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Dr. Menbe Aklilu
at Salute e Vita Ristorante
(Photo courtesy of the restaurant)


Looking forward to that feast on Thanksgiving Day? Around 1,000 homeless families, men, and women in the Richmond area are also anticipating a delicious and nourishing meal this year, thanks to the generosity of Menbe Aklilu, owner of Salute e Vita Ristorante at Marina Bay in Richmond, who will be serving them a full turkey dinner. You can help her make this holiday meal an even more joyous occasion by volunteering or donating to the project, which includes 10 vouchers for additional meals for the needy during the season and health services from volunteer physicians, RNs, and counselors out in front of the restaurant that day.

To volunteer or make a donation, visit the restaurant’s website, salutemarinabay.com, or contact the restaurant at salute@salutemarinabay.com or 510.215.0803.





Illustrations by David Ball

Illustrations by
David Ball


Join Edible East Bay at the UC Botanical Garden gift shop for a special holiday shopping party. You’ll find a large array of unusual gift items, plus fun botanical wrappings. Admission is free, and you’ll get a special 10{94d79dd6af1e87a94e700e4c297236468333f22e27ed5757b44711974a9a4b91} discount off your holiday purchases along with the satisfaction of knowing that your holiday shopping dollars directly benefit the Garden!

Also enjoy: live music; tastings by Rachel Saunders of Blue Chair Fruit Company, Steve Gentry of Steve’s Bees, and others; vegetable prints by artist Rigel Stuhmiller; and help from Kitazawa Seed Company in creating your Asian Microgreen and Baby Leaf seed mixes with special seed packets created by Edible East Bay.

Special feature: The Herbal Tea Workshop at 3pm will be a fun and informative hour-long tea-tasting adventure with Nicholas Weinstein, community herbalist and owner of Oakland’s Homestead Apothecary. Learn about the medicinal uses of herbs and how to combine ingredients to make self-care tea blends that make great gifts for friends and family. Gift labels created by Edible East Bay will be available.

There’s a $15 materials fee, and registration is required for the workshop. Call the Garden at 510.664.9841 or click here to reserve your space.




Book Review

By Kristina Sepetys

It Took a Village (of Mostly Women)

Inside the California Food Revolution:
Thirty Years that Changed our Culinary Consciousness
by Joyce Goldstein with Dore Brown
(University of California Press, 2013)

While you might find it any day in the cheese section at Trader Joe’s, Costco, or local supermarkets, that much-loved and lauded Laura Chenel goat cheese was a unique item in the mid-1970s when Chenel began producing it at her small farm in Sebastopol. Today, goat cheese is just another favorite food in the United States, and like organic, locally sourced fruits and vegetables, dishes celebrating farm-to-table partnerships, pasture-raised animals and nose-to-tail eating, foraged foods, and cooking with fire in an open kitchen, has become ubiquitous in Northern California’s trendy restaurants and increasingly throughout the country. But 40 years ago, these trends, which have come to represent “California cuisine,” would have been found revolutionary; a marked departure from the “continental cuisine” typically found on menus at better restaurants.

In her engaging new book, Joyce Goldstein, a former chef and celebrated author of 26 cookbooks, explores the history and development of

Joyce Goldstein

Joyce Goldstein

California cuisine over the 30-year period from the 1970s into the 2000s. She’s particularly well-positioned to tell this story, having herself been a player in that revolution, teaching cooking classes, training at Chez Panisse, and in 1984, opening her own restaurant, Square One, in San Francisco. She received the James Beard Award for Best Chef in California, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.

Through more than 200 interviews and extensive research, Goldstein explores how innovative California chefs, many of whom were women, fundamentally changed how we think about and prepare food. Many of these chefs had little or no formal training. More focused on ingredients than techniques, they brought a collaborative and cooperative, rather than hierarchical, spirit to their kitchens. They emphasized quality, freshness, taste, and authenticity.

The California food revolution of the book’s title was, according to Goldstein, a movement “set in motion by passionate and pioneering chefs,” an unprecedented number of whom were women. They included names like Patricia Unterman of Hayes Street Grill, Catherine Pantsios and Rachel Gardner of Zola, Deborah Madison and Annie Somerville of Greens, Judy Rodgers of Zuni Café, and so many others, including and especially Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. “Without the efforts of so many women chefs,” says Goldstein, “California cuisine would not have evolved as it did.”



Kelsie Kerr Cooks for You!
And shares a recipe if you prefer to DIY

Chef Kelsie Kerr

Chef Kelsie Kerr

In her book, Inside the California Food Revolution, Joyce Goldstein quotes chef Kelsie Kerr’s description of the “culinary camaraderie” that characterized the early days at Chez Panisse. Kerr also cooked at Mudd’s, Square One, Zuni, Kelsie’s Kitchen, and Café Rouge, and continues to be inspired by the collaboration and creativity found in those kitchens. Right now, she’s putting the final touches on a new project of her own, Standard Fare, which will occupy the anchor space on the ground floor of Berkeley Kitchens on 8th and Carleton in West Berkeley. Her commercial kitchen, with tall windows, lots of brickwork, and a comfortable, convivial atmosphere, will offer carefully crafted organic foods like soups and stews packaged in hand-thrown earthenware to be enjoyed at home. Jered Nelson is designing the pottery, which is oven and microwave safe and will be available with a deposit. Standard Fare will give a portion of all sales to local food banks and food justice nonprofits in the community. Stop by or try out delivery in 2014 when Kelsie is open for business, and do good by eating well!


Celery root by Helen Krayenhoff

Celery root
by Helen Krayenhoff

Creamy Potato and Celery Root Gratin
By Kelsie Kerr
Serves 6–8

Thinly sliced potatoes are layered together with sweet celery root in this creamy gratin to make a delicious and warming winter dish. The gratin can be made hours ahead and warmed again just before serving.

3 pounds yellow fleshed potatoes,
such as Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold
1 pound celery root
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups cream

Peel the celery root and potatoes and slice thinly. (A mandoline makes this job easier.) Butter a medium-size baking dish and arrange the slices in alternating layers of potatoes and celery root in the dish, overlapping the rows like shingles on a roof. Salt each layer as you go and make sure you end with a layer of potatoes. Pour the cream and half-and-half into a small saucepan. Gently heat and season lightly with salt. Pour the warmed cream over the potatoes just to the top of the potatoes. Bake at 375° for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The time will vary, depending on the dish you use and how deeply the potatoes are layered. After the gratin has been cooking for about 30 minutes, take a spatula and press the top layer of potatoes under the cream. When done, the potatoes should be very soft, the top golden, and the liquid mostly gone. If the potatoes begin to brown too much before being cooked through, loosely cover the top with a bit of foil.