Foodie Chap With Chef Kory Stewart of Hotel Vitale
KCBS radio “Foodie Chap” and KPIX 5 television “Eye On The Bay” host Liam Mayclem introduces us to the culinary stars behind the food and wine loved by so many in the Bay Area.
KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Kory Stewart grew up on Whidbey Island, Washington, where he was steeped in the wild abundance of the Pacific Northwest. His first job in a professional kitchen was when he was just 12 years old, washing dishes in a small Italian restaurant. For the next 13 years Stewart continued working in professional kitchens, building his culinary skills and developing a passion for cooking that would lead him to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where he studied in 2002.
While at culinary school, Stewart worked at the award-winning Postrio restaurant for chefs Steven and Mitchell Rosenthall, who later recruited Stewart to join the culinary team at their Southern-inspired restaurant, Town Hall.
After completing his studies, Stewart embarked on extensive culinary travels through Southeast Asia – Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos and Japan – and central Mexico. Through these travels, he learned an intensity and range of flavors and styles previously unknown to him. Stewart’s experiences during this period continue to influence his perception of what great food is: intense, dynamic flavors balanced with clean, bright, simple tastes.
Following his globetrotting, Stewart returned to San Francisco and to the kitchens of Michael Mina and Scott Howard, working at both chefs’ acclaimed eponymous restaurants.
Stewart’s next move was to Americano at Hotel Vitale in 2007, where he served as a sous chef before being elevated to executive sous chef in 2008. In 2010, Stewart was named executive chef. One year later, he won 7×7 magazine’s “Your City, Your Chef” readers’ poll award. In 2013, Stewart assumed a dual role at Hotel Vitale, serving as both the Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director.
At Americano, Stewart’s comprehensive “hand-crafted” menu celebrates bold, Italian flavors in a California context, with daily house-made pasta, fresh mozzarella and other fresh Italian cheeses made in house. His menu choices are driven by what is available at the Ferry Building Marketplace, located across the street from his kitchen. A proponent of whole-animal utilization, Stewart also creates bi-annual “wild foods” dinners, which feature chef-foraged local foods including fish, seafood, wild mushrooms, wild flowers, vegetables and fruits. Book early to grab a seat. The next dinner is Thursday June 6th. Grab a seat through opentable.com.
Chef Kory met with me in the Americano kitchen for our Foodie Chap chat. Amidst the lunch service hustle and bustle of we discussed his journey from Washington to the Bay and how he came to be an Executive Chef & Food & Beverage Director at one of San Francisco’s hottest hotels and restaurants, Americano at Hotel Vitale.
Enjoy the chat and the tasty dish.
5 Tasty Questions with Executive Chef Kory Stewart
1) Cooking to you is about?
Connecting with something that seems real, tangible, and that makes people happy.
2) Your fridge at home what is always there?
My wife Abbey makes dinner for me every night so when I come home at midnight in the fridge I can count on something tasty made by her.
3) Desert Island Disc one artist, what would it be?
The Jack Johnson album my wife and I listened to on our trip to South East Asia.
4) In a second life if not a chef what would you be?
I would be a farmer, maybe a professional forager, if someone pays me to hunt and surf all day.
5) Last super a couple of guests dead or alive, famous or not, who will they be and what will you eat?
My beautiful family on a beach in the gulf of Thailand and we would have all my favorite Thai dishes and a big pile of bacon.
Grilled Short Rib with Smoked Onion Soubise, Lacinato Kale and Charred Ramp Pesto and Spring Vegetables
2# Beef short ribs- boneless
Season short ribs with salt & black pepper. Prepare water bath with immersion circulator at 155 Fahrenheit. Seal short ribs using a cryovac machine, food saver, or zip lock bag with all the air forced out. Cook short ribs, submerged in the water for 22 hours.
Kale & Ramp Pesto:
1 Bunch lacinato kale
2 Lemons-Zested & juiced
1 Clove garlic
10 ramps-Charred on the grill
Blanch the kale in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, shock in ice water immediately after. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the kale- Add to food processor along with ramps. Microplane garlic into the mixture and pulse until a course paste is formed- Add the lemon juice, zest & salt to taste.
4 large yellow onions
Cut ends off of the onions, and roast in baking vessel covered with aluminum foil for 3-4 hours at 300 degrees. Onions should be very soft and lightly caramelized. Smoke onions for 10-15 minutes (optional)- Puree onions in blender until smooth, season with salt and black pepper.
Spring Vegetables- Snap peas, baby root vegetables, flowers, English peas
Lightly cook root vegetables and peas if necessary, otherwise keep raw.
Lime Juice & Garum Vinaigrette:
3 limes- juiced
1 Tbsp Garum (or fish sauce)
Prepare a fire. Cook short ribs until nicely caramelized. Swipe some onion soubise on the plate- Place short ribs over onion soubise. Spread pesto over short rib, dress vegetables with vinaigrette and garnish the whole plate with all the pretty spring time goodies.
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