Tag Archives: Gather Restaurant
This weekend, when around 30,000 students and faculty stroll through Caltopia, browsing the booths of more than 100 exhibitors, Berkeley’s two driving forces, the city and its university, will be pitched in perfect harmony. And Berkeleyside will be there to sing along too.
Caltopia was launched nine years ago as a way for Berkeley businesses to welcome Cal students, both current and new, back to school. The event runs on Sunday and Monday this year, and classes start up … Continue reading »
Tonight the whole foods people at Bauman College get to show off their state-of-the art kitchens with Vulcan ranges (and, presumably, their holistic culinary chops) at the grand opening of their new location on University Avenue near San Pablo.
Visitors can check out the elegant remodel–nod to local architect Charles Kahn–of the 1949 building which once housed the Mobilized Women of Berkeley. (The Mobilized Women’s Cooperative, formed in 1917 in response to World War I, was founded on the principles of service to country and community.) Recently earmarked as a landmark site due to its architectural design and historic status, the building features vaulted ceilings, concrete grid form panels, a unique u-shape design and translucent glass blocks in a diamond pattern.
Why move? The non-profit nutrition and culinary arts program, formerly housed in a rabbit warren of a building on Grayson Street in West Berkeley, simply outgrew the space, said Sitarani Brian, the culinary program director of Bauman’s Berkeley campus, which shifted to its new digs in March.
The natural chef instructor, who specializes in vegetarian, vegan, and raw cuisines, as well as macrobiotic, ayurvedic, and gluten-free diets, grew up in the suburban mid-West, one of seven kids whose parents loved all things Indian (hence Brian’s given name and her vegetarian upbringing.)
Brian, 28, has a marketing background but left corporate America to study at The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City before landing a job at the fancy raw food restaurant Pure Food and Wine. Three years ago she relocated to San Francisco with her ethically omnivorous husband to open her own personal chef business. Her first client, ironically enough, was a chef who was too busy with her own catering business to fix her own food.
Brian missed working in a communal setting, so jumped at the chance to come on board as a natural chef instructor for Bauman College. We spoke yesterday on the eve of preparations for the opening. … Continue reading »
Banks White is the executive chef of Five, which calls itself a modern American bistro. Think comfort food with au courant accents: Macaroni and cheese made with orzo, wild mushrooms, tomato jam, and smoked gouda. Slow braised short rib pot roast with mascarpone polenta. Buttermilk biscuits with white cheddar pimento cheese.
The restaurant (named for the five senses and its 5 o’clock happy hour) is housed in the historic, refurbished Hotel Shattuck Plaza, which looks like it’s been given the Dorothy Draper treatment. (This writer spent some time last fall at the interior designer’s signature space, The Greenbrier in West Virginia.) Swirling black-and-white wallpaper. Ornate red chandelier. Black-and-white marble floors and red wall sconces. Get the picture?
White hails from Texas, land of barbecue and Buds, but is trained in classic French culinary techniques. The 30-year-old has worked for several upscale boutique hotel restaurants including The Driskill in Austin and Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley. … Continue reading »
Wow. Who knew Berkeley residents were so passionate about pizza? It’s right up there with free speech, free love, and free-range eggs — or so it seemed based on readers’ record responses to our request last week for their choice of the best pizza places in town.
Before we announce the winners of our, let’s face it, less-than scientific survey, a few caveats up front. Stunned by the sheer number of votes (over 220 comments including input on Facebook) we realized, after the fact, that we should have employed a poll counter. Next time. And, we’ll be sure to include a category for “other,” so you can weigh in with a pick not mentioned in the post.
Because it turned out, that despite writing in the story and later in the comment thread (several times) that the dozen pizza purveyors listed represented a sample of savory pies on offer here, many of our readers — including one rather irate pizzeria owner — read it as this site’s “best of” picks.
Privately, folks pointed out, too, that businesses left off that list may have been unfairly handicapped, a not unreasonable assumption, and it is duly noted.
So, we didn’t make it easy on you. And you didn’t make it easy on us. Some voted for more than one place. Some voted on Facebook or Twitter but not here. The crack accounting team at Berkeleyside opted to err on the side of generosity in tabulating results, including all favorable mentions in the count.
Many mentioned that a top pizza pick might vary depending on factors such as deep dish versus thin crust, East vs. West style, delivery, location, and omnivore/vegetarian/vegan options. Some argued that the pie produced at Cheese Board isn’t even pizza. (Where is the sauce? Potatoes and kale topping?) As one self-described pizza snob wrote: “While Cheeseboard is undeniably delicious, it’s not pizza.” … Continue reading »
Josh Thomsen knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef and credits his late father, Jerry, for sparking his culinary interest. His dad would put in a long day as a stockbroker, come home, go to the market, and then cook up a storm — making a mess, using every pot in the house, and turning out a delicious dinner.
The Culinary Institute of America grad has done his dad proud. Thomsen’s resumé includes stints at the French Laundry in Yountville, Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. He’s also worked in kitchens in big-buck Las Vegas venues like Tao Restaurant at the Venetian Resort, the Mansion at the MGM Grand Hotel, and the Michael Mina-owned Nobhill Tavern.
These days Thomsen, 40, is the executive chef at local landmark The Claremont Hotel, Club, and Spa, known for its regal white facade and killer views. Until recently, though, the hotel wasn’t exactly known as a destination dining experience. … Continue reading »
Close to 400 people came to Jared and Tracey Brandt’s Donkey and Goat on Saturday to try the urban winery’s new spring releases and taste food prepared by chefs from Gather restaurant. Visitors got the chance to try Prospector, a wine made from Mourvèdre grapes, a 2008 syrah made from the Fenaughty vineyard in El Dorado County, and many other wines. There was grilled calamari, pig’s head cuts, and other delectables to eat.
We live in a place which can rightfully boast of being on the cutting edge in terms of environmental initiatives. But there’s always more to explore and new approaches to discover.
With that in mind, this Saturday evening offers the chance to find out about a range of sustainability efforts going on within our city limits.
Learn, for instance, how the foodie entrepreneurs at Gather put the concept of slow money into practice to get their award-winning restaurant off the block. Get the skinny on energy efficiency rebates — whether you qualify and, if so, what to do next — from Billi Romain, sustainability coordinator at the city of Berkeley. And find out what water conservation strategies the folk at UC Berkeley have up their sleeve from Lisa McNeilly, the university’s director of sustainability. … Continue reading »
A Berkeley restaurant is in the limelight today as its chef has scooped one of the most coveted awards in the food business.
Sean Baker at Gather Restaurant has been named 2010 Chef of the Year by Esquire Magazine which also picks Gather as one of the 20 best new restaurants of the year. The news was broken by Eater SF this morning.
Esquire’s restaurant features writer John Mariani is regarded as one of the pre-eminent American restaurant … Continue reading »
Minh Tsai is on a mission to make tofu the next hip artisanal food. He knows he has a ways to go to get many Americans to even taste tofu, but if anyone can make it cool to eat bean curd, this enthusiastic self-described tofu master is the man for the job.
Tsai grew up eating fresh tofu from street vendors in his native Vietnam. He arrived in the U.S. via Malaysia, part of the so-called boat people exodus. Both … Continue reading »
A Berkeley based film company is in the final stages of making a documentary about the Bay Area’s urban food movement which features several Berkeley faces.
Edible City tells the stories of people responding to the global food crisis in their communities and in their own backyards. It is the work of East Bay Pictures, a production company with an office on Rose Street. Director Andrew Hasse, who founded East Bay Pictures in 2008, is working with … Continue reading »
When he moved to Berkeley for graduate school his culinary world expanded and he became an avid home cook.
Rumminger experimented with Asian flavors, particularly Indian cuisine, and he immersed himself in pressing food issues, including the concept of locavorism.
The Earth Island Institute and VegNews Magazine host a hot-topic debate: “Can You Be a ‘Good Environmentalist’ and Still Eat Meat?” In one corner, Nicolette Hahn Niman, a Marin rancher and author of Righteous Porkchop, who believes there is an ecologically sustainable way to eat animals. Niman’s … Continue reading »
Each Friday in this space food writer Sarah Henry asks a well-known, up-and-coming, or under-the-radar food aficionado about their favorite tastes in town, preferred food purveyors and other local culinary gems worth sharing.
Kyle Cornforth packed up her family last summer and headed to the outskirts of Chiang Mai to spend a year as the director of The Prem Organic Cooking Academy and Farm, which teaches traditional Thai cooking and farming techniques to kids from international schools around the globe, as well as adult travelers.
She wanted to share what she learned about local, sustainable, organic cooking working as the program coordinator for the Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. (Kyle, 30, will return to that position this summer. She met her husband Jay Cohen, a teacher at the school, in the Edible garden. Cue a chorus of awws now.)
She has spent the past year documenting her cross-cultural experiences in often amusing entries that can be found on her blog Cornhens in Thailand. The family, including daughter Zorah, will return to their South Berkeley home in a few months. (Full disclosure: I met Kyle at Edible while lending a hand as a kitchen volunteer.)
1. Can you name some favorite family-friendly eateries in town?
For breakfast we regularly go to The Homemade Cafe. We have been taking Zorah there on the weekends since she was an infant. It isn’t so much that the space is set up for kids, but the staff there has always made us feel welcome and been especially warm to Zorah.
Right around the corner there is a wonderful place for dinner, Digs Bistro, that has a parents night out the first Monday of every month. They have supervised activities for kids two and over — art, dinner, ice cream and a movie — and you can sit in the next room and have a delicious meal in a romantic environment.
2. Do you have a local food hero?
Amy Murray of Venus Restaurant is doing good work with quiet passion. I worked for Amy at Venus for five years. A lot of what I know about food and cooking I learned from her. She has been deeply committed to local food for a long time. I also run into her at the farmers’ market all the time, and I think it is important to see chefs out selecting the produce and ingredients themselves.
I often crave her food; anyone who comes up with the veggie nest is a hero in my book! It’s on the breakfast/brunch menu: Two poached eggs atop a salad of arugula, frisee, wild mushrooms, goat cheese, tomato, and bacon. It’s served with tapenade toast but I always substitute the biscuit. It’s the perfect way to start a weekend day. … Continue reading »