Team building, cooking events, catering, parties, and classes in the San Francisco Bay Area

November in the Kitchen

November 5, 2014

A Busy Season!

As I write this, we are down to only a few remaining open dates before the holidays! Amazing to be this busy. I credit the accumulation of great reviews we’ve gotten online, great word of mouth among our clients, and our publicist’s hard work getting my recipes and interviews all over the internet, which has dramatically increased our visibility and website rank. Here’s a quote from the organizer of a recent group, from Samuel Merritt University. It just arrived in my in-box this morning, and as you can see, the group had fun making some stellar food!

“I had been pushing and recommending the place for many years and it came to pass.  It was worth the wait! Everybody liked the place – well organized, easy to find utensils, very clean and we were on time from preparing up to dining.  We received good feedback from the rest of the division employees and most especially from the Vice President.  He himself has a son who is a chef.  The speakers liked the place as well…as soon as we came back the following Monday, we talked about it and employees from another division couldn’t wait for our stories and feedback.  One of the committee members emailed your contact information (website, phone number, etc.) to them.  The dishes were served perfect just like we’re dining in a restaurant.

“My favorite: we also cooked the dish that will be donated for the senior citizens… a good cause.”

-Mary Grefal


Booking Your Event

If by chance you want to book your group in for a cooking event, do think about January. In past years, we’ve had a lot of “post holiday” celebrations, and we make them just as delicious and festive as the ones during our crazy time! Just fill out the handy Schedule an Event form to your right, to get started.

Cook! Programs Summer Camp News

Tracy is hard at work on next summer’s schedule. She’s hoping to have it out before the winter break, and highly recommends that you sign up for her newsletter, where it will be announced first. To whet your appetite, check out this Mr. Dad Blog entry from last summer!

Request from A Camper

One of our Cook! Camp alumni, Elazar Sontag, has started a project called Flavors of Oakland. This project is a photo-cooking collaboration. Elazar and a friend will find local home cooks who have a background in the Bay Area and do an interview with them. The interview will focus on the person’s history in the Bay Area and something they love to cook. The interviewee will get a chance to help write a story of the East Bay Area and have a recipe published. The final products will be compiled into a cookbook and an event will be hosted to show off the book and the people who helped write it. 

Are you an amazing cook? Fill out the form. Do you know someone who makes amazing food? Have them fill out the form!  All ingredient costs are covered. Want to be invited to the final event but you aren't interested in being in the book? Have questions? Contact Elazar directly


Rosetta Costantino has a bunch of sold-out classes, but A Night in a Neapolitan Pizzeria, on November 21st, still has some space. 

Eric E. Weiss has his quarterly Knife Sharpening Class on Monday evening, December 8th. This small-group, intensive class, where you get expert instruction, a stone and oil, is one I highly recommend.

In the Market

Persimmons, pomegranates, apples and pears are in the market, and even some wonderful quince, which are purported to be the actual “apple” from the garden of eden, although I question that — you have to poach them before you can consume them, and somehow I can’t imagine Adam and Eve with a cooking pot in hand, at the campfire…There are still plenty of sweet, delicious grapes too, and strawberries and raspberries, although both lack their high-summer ambrosial sweetness now that the weather’s cooling. My all-time favorite apple, the Pink Lady, is in, and will be around for a good long time. My Satsuma mandarin tree is really early this year. It produces bi-annually, and is laden with almost-ripe fruit. I have not seen ripe Satsumas before December in past years, so I’m surprised. I wonder if it means a cold winter to come? The fruit is also all over the market now, so my tree is not alone in its early production.

Cauliflower, broccoli, and greens are getting really good. Excellent spinach, arugula and lettuce, and the chicories are great too. Crisp radishes, dry-farmed potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, too. Brussels sprouts have shown up and are tender and delicious. Peas and green beans are still good, and will last till there’s (yes, we need it!) too much rain. There are still summer squashes—but the winter squash like kabocha and butternut are now in as well. Peppers are marvelous right now, but not for much longer; they’re lush, red and ripe, packed with flavor and nutrients. Harvest season is still on, and it’s worth a trip to the market. While you’re there get some farm eggs, some free range meat, a good cheese, some luscious olives or olive oil, a vinegar or two. Think about gifts from the market, too. There are a lot of lovingly crafted items for sale.

Sport fishing for crab is open, but the commercial season starts the 15th of this month — I, for one, am excited about that! Last year when season opened, some of the best crabs were found at the Berkeley Tuesday farmer’s market, to my surprise. I hope the enterprising crabbers come back!

Recipe of the Month

The recipe archives is packed with good ideas, just search by key word. For a special Harvest Salad, very seasonal and delicious, try this one — with a fresh pomegranate vinaigrette, diced Fuyu persimmons, and just to bring it around to a full-autumn theme, some toasted pumpkin seeds. It’s definitely a favorite of mine — and you’ll have a lot of fun with the pomegranate prep, too!

Pass the Newsletter Around

You know we love new readers! I run into people everywhere who tell me they enjoy reading the newsletter, so maybe you know someone who will.