Buongiorno! Travel + Leisure magazine is onto us: This month T+L named Cook Here and Now one of its Top 10 "Secret Dining Clubs" in the world, alongside groups from Paris, Buenos Aires, New York, and Vienna. Interesting fact: we're the only group that's completely free and open to everyone - no fees, tickets, or secret passwords here. If you've got the inspiration sign up and you're in.
At Cook Here & Now, the cooking is done not by professional chefs as a profit-making venture, but by people who are simply passionate about food and want to share their seasonal inspiration with fellow foodies. Guess what? It's working -- and as Food & Wine says, the food is fabulous. Thanks, guys.
So who are the people that make Cook Here & Now events so memorable? See for yourself. The shots below are from our November 23rd event at the San Francisco Baking Institute, where 53 of us cooked about three dozen pizzas in a professional wood-fired brick oven using local and seasonal fall vegetables. Thanks to Brian and the SFBI for the hospitality!
Behind the scenes at the pizza event:
Brian and I arrive early to set up and make extra pizza dough just in case anyone has a dough crisis. Brian's at the mixer here, testing the elasticity of the dough.
The brick oven is started at about 9am, so that it can be ready by 4:30pm.
People start arriving at 2:30 and settle in at communal work tables. Here Jumana's already hard at work on her dessert, so it can be done by dinnertime.
Dan's preparing one of his fantastic gumbos, with andouille sausage from Dittmer in Mountain View slowly browning and rendering succulent fat. I can't prove it scientifically, but I suspect that aroma alone may add years to your life.
... and being finished on the stove top.
Erica's preparing to roast her fennel for her caramelized fennel tart with Meyer lemon dressing. Sure would love that recipe ... hint hint. Please post recipes in the CH&N forums, people!
David's been with us since the very beginning and has plenty of reasons to smile: his dishes are formidable. And he's French, so you know as an Italian it's hard for me to admit, but when it's true...
David turning his upside-down apple and persimmon cake.
In all we cooked over 32 pizzas topped with local and seasonal vegetables, cheeses and sustainable meats, plus entrees. Once they hit the tables, the photography stopped. Funny how that happened...
Coming up: Our December Dungeness crab dinner. Finally the season's open, and no oil spills this year. Can't wait.