Our foods tell us who we are.
These two beautiful dishes were still on my mind a week after I tasted them at this summer’s Lamb Jam San Francisco. It was not just the excellent presentations and satisfying flavors, but also how they seemed to express something of who we are in the Bay Area and how we like to regard ourselves. As people who value innovation and expression, we embrace our diverse and multicultural society and we stand up for the rights of people of all genders, abilities, and places of origin to thrive.
The chefs who created these dishes are graduates of San Francisco’s La Cocina, a nonprofit incubator kitchen working to solve problems of equity in business ownership for women, immigrants, and people of color. You can read about the organization here, where you’ll also hear the story of Lamees Dahbour, whose traditional Middle Eastern mansaf below is one I truly savored. I hope it might show up on the menu as Dahbour’s Mama Lamees pops up in the kiosk at the Emeryville Public Market where other La Cocina graduates (like James Beard Award winner Nite Yun of Nyum Bai) have gotten an East Bay start.
The Southern Thai–style dry-curry lamb rib dish above is by chef Kitty Ditpare. It took Best in Show, Best Asian, and People’s Choice at Lamb Jam San Francisco. Truly an innovator, this Thai immigrant was thinking outside the box when she melded her home cuisine with the taco, a favorite Latin element she found on the wide table that’s set for all here in her adopted Bay Area home. She named her catering company TacoThai to celebrate that union, and she specifically credits the Bay Area’s openness for her success.
As you turn the pages of our Fall Harvest issue, you’ll read about more Bay Area people paving a way toward a more healthy, just, and sustainable world. Check out the story on nonprofit gender rights innovator Frailty Myths, and don’t miss several stories on far-reaching efforts toward protecting our imperiled environment. These include ideas on how we can step up to participate, even if it’s only taking that first step to become better informed.
As always in Edible East Bay, we include lots of information on how to become an active part of the story, whether it’s wine tasting, hunting down your favorite noodles, or learning to make mochi. Our events listings offer plenty of fun and interesting things to do, and our map series is always looking for your involvement. You can participate in our upcoming map of Favorite East Bay Places to Eat Out with Your Dog by contacting us at info(at)edibleeastbay.com to give us your ideas on what to include. We’ll reply with our thanks plus a few questions for you.
So eat up and get out to enjoy our beautiful Bay Area as summer turns into fall.
Cheryl Angelina Koehler
publisher and editor
Edible East Bay