On the Road: "Yes, Chef" in San Francisco

With a stop at Google headquarters, the Gavin Newsom show and a guest chef dinner at Camino in Oakland (and that was just the first day), a look at Marcus's sprint through the Bay, as told to FoodRepublic.com

For more pictures of Marcus and behind-the-scenes of the Yes, Chef tour, follow YesChefMemoir on Instagram or click here for his Travelogues from LA.

To read more about the tour, see the articles below:


Bon Appetit! California Meets France at Jardiniere

James Beard award winner Traci Des Jardins’ Jardinière restaurant is one of San Francisco’s finest fusion dining experiences that marries quintessential Californian and French flavors; paying homage to Chef Des Jardins' Mexican and Louisianian-French Acadian heritage. After dabbling with the top chefs in Europe, stopping over in Manhattan and finally returning to California to follow her culinary dream, she opened Jardiniere in 1997.

The menu rides the wave of the freshest seasonal ingredients and allows guests to test the innovation that comes from the kitchen on a daily basis. Yes, Chef and Marcus will be coming to Des Jardins' legendary spot to host a demo lunch tomorrow, so be sure to stay tuned for behind-the-scenes pictures and updates from the city by the bay!

In the meantime, check out the Jardiniere Warm Bread Salad Recipe.

Photo courtesy of Frankie Frankeny

Free Summer Activities Around the Country

This summer, take a break from working and go enjoy so fun in the sun. There are a lot of great activities happening all the time in cities all over the country. Here's just a taste of what's going on.  NYC Midsummer - NYC Midsummer is a Swedish midsummer celebration co-hosted by the Swedish consulate and the Parks department of New York City to celebrate the Midsummer holiday, a very popular event in the Scandinavian countries. The event will be held in Battery Park City, where it has been since its New York inception in 1996, and will offer a Swedish smorgasbord of traditional offerings including herring and new potatoes.

San Francisco Thursday Lunchtime Concerts - Operated by the Yerba Beuna Garden Festival, the Thursday Lunchtime Concert series offers various bands from around the world to offer eclectic music like you've never heard. This would be a great opportunity to pack a picnic and relax for an afternoon.

Taste of Chicago - Running from June 24 to July 3, Taste of Chicago is an outdoor food festival showcasing almost 60 Chicago area restaurants and their diverse food offerings. Located in Grant Park in the heart of the city, free admission gets event-goers access to live music and various activities to keep them busy all day while taking breaks to sample food from places like Garrett's Popcorn Shops, Vee-Vee's African Restaurant, and Vienna Beef/Gold Coast Dogs.

Chowderfest - Boston is known for a lot of great things, including its famous chowder. On Sunday, July 3rd, the 30th annual Chowderfest will bring together various Boston area restaurants to duke it out to decide who has the best chowder. Tickets are required for attendance, but admission is cheap and will guarantee you a taste of a variety of great chowders.

Taste of Philadelphia - From Friday, June 24th to the 26th, Penn's Landing in Philadelphia will host live jazz and blues and a sampling of some of Philadelphia's best and most popular dishes. Although admission and entertainment is free and open to all, tasting the food will not be free, but will be very cheap so that everyone can have a bite. Saturday night will also showcase a fireworks display over the Delaware River.

What are your favorite summertime activities?

Interview with Chef Jeff Banker of Baker & Banker Restaurant in San Francisco, CA

The Casual Vegetarian By Madeleine Ignon

Baker & Banker is a neighborhood restaurant and bakery in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. It is set off on its own, away from the busy upper Fillmore district in a distinctly San Francisco building built in 1882 that was originally an apothecary. Husband and wife Lori Baker and Jeff Banker started the restaurant together in 2009 with a commitment to sustainability and an emphasis on creating a warm, inviting environment for diners. It is technically fine dining, with a menu of sophisticated and inventive California dishes and an extensive wine list, but when you walk in, you feel like you have come into someone's home.

I interviewed Head Chef Jeff Banker about running a restaurant and how he approaches cooking for a city known for its huge population of vegetarians.

When and how did you become a chef?

I realized I wanted to be a chef when I was 12 or 13. I used to cook for my parents a lot; my mom was a really good cook and we used to watch cooking shows together. I realized that I loved watching chefs and cooking and I knew that's what I wanted to do. I took my first restaurant job when I was 16, pulling vegetables. I was really young. I just started working though good restaurants. I decided to move to San Francisco when I was 23 to really pursue it-that was 12 years ago.

What was your philosophy going into starting a restaurant?

We wanted a neighborhood restaurant, something that wasn't super formal. Something that was very approachable for people, that they could come to often, not just for special occasions. We were committed to using seasonal and local produce and ingredients.

As a non-vegetarian, how do you approach making food for vegetarians, especially in a city where there are so many vegetarians and vegans? Is thinking of vegetarian entrees harder?

I always like keeping in minds vegetarians, as they are definitely a demographic. My wife was a vegetarian when I met her. The key is great produce-it's not hard. It's not hard to make things that center on the vegetables and highlight the vegetables. It's not hard to cook vegetarian at all, actually.

Do your prefer cooking non-vegetarian?

I like doing a mix; I think it's a challenge. It's exciting to do both.

Your proudest dish of late?

The cod dish [soy and mirin braised black cod, foie gras-shitake sticky rice, charred bok choy]; it has been very well received.

What do you find is the hardest thing about running a restaurant?

Dealing with people. Customers and staff.

Do you cook differently at home and at the restaurant?

I cook more simply at home, things that people can do themselves. I definitely try to cook at home very simple and easy with the fewest dishes possible.

Are you cooking differently now that you guys have a son?

I don't cook enough at home anymore, but when I do I really like going to the farmers' market and getting vegetables. I want to get him involved with cooking as soon as he's old enough. I definitely want him to gain an appreciation for food. I have already seen him start to get an appreciation for food and noticing us being happy when were around it.