KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Growing up in California’s fertile central valley, Michel Adams never dreamed of being a chef. That isn’t to say that he didn’t like food and didn’t cook. He just never thought or even knew about a culinary world that didn’t involve tri tip, fast food and ranch dressing.
Putting himself through college in the Sacramento and Bay Areas he picked up a job baking that he became quite fond of. Eventually the fondness wore off, and needing a job, he landed an entry-level kitchen job. Within days, even moments, he was in love. This was what he was meant to do with his life. This was the gift that he could use to make others happy.
He dropped out of college and pursued cooking more than full time splitting shifts between Café Bernardo Davis, Paragary’s Bakery, and the then famed Twenty-Eight in Sacramento under Kurt Spataro. He quickly rose through the ranks to Sous Chef and decided it was time to take the next step – San Francisco. He landed a brief stint at Hawthorne Lane only to leave and become the Chef de Cuisine at the Waterfront’s upstairs dining room where he spent a year. Next, he and a partner opened the well-reviewed LaRue Brasserie in Berkeley only to have the partnership dissolve.
“Keep it simple, keep it fresh and keep it fun.
That’s what food wants to be.”
– Chef Michel Adams
After a short break spent with family, he worked at Rivoli in Berkeley as Wendy Brucker’s Sous Chef. Then, left to become chef for several years at Cozmo’s in the Marina. Upon leaving Cozmo’s he helped open a nightclub at Pier 39 and decided to return to the kitchen as the Sous Chef under Mehrdad Dabir at the Metropolitan Club near Union Square where he spent 6 ½ years honing his craft and developing his own unique style. After meeting Kais Bouzidi through a mutual friend, Adams realized the place for him was with Kais at Sens Restaurant as the Executive Chef where he has been for over two and a half years. Adams’ influences include Thomas Keller, Michel Bras and the fresh seasonal produce that he uses in his cooking. Says Adams, “Keep it simple, keep it fresh and keep it fun. That’s what food wants to be.”
In his “free” time, Adams spends time with his wife Amanda, the Pastry Chef at Café Rouge in Berkeley doing “nothing.”
Chef Michel will be at the helm for the BEATS SF party where people who love good food and music will come together. I am thrilled to play host with the SENS team (Chef Michel & owner Kais) and DJ Frenchy Le Freak.
Meantime please enjoy my chat with this super chilled Chef who offers “good food that makes people happy” at SENS in San Francisco.
Sens Spiced Chicken Meatballs
1 lb. Ground Chicken Thigh Meat
½ cup Chopped Parsley
¼ cup Chopped Mint
1 Tbsp. Syrian Aleppo Pepper
1 tsp. Ground Toasted Cumin
1 tsp. Ground Toasted Coriander
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 cup Crusty Bread
1 cup Milk
½ cup Panko
1 cup Small Diced White Onion
1 ½ Tbsp.Chopped Garlic
2 Tbsp. + extra Olive Oil
1. Sweat onions, garlic and 2 Tbsp. olive oil until soft. Add spices and cook for one minute.
2. Remove from heat and chill.
3. Soak crusty bread in milk for 5 minutes. Remove and squeeze out extra milk from bread.
4. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5. Let chill in refrigerator for one hour, 24 hours maximum.
6. Portion and form meatballs to desired size, preferably no larger than 2 oz.
7. Warm large oven safe sautee pan with enough olive oil to coat bottom.
8. Brown meatballs in small batches on all sides by swirling pan over medium heat.
9. When all meatballs are browned, return to pan and bake in 350° oven until firm to touch.
10. Add meatballs to desired sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Preferably a spicy sauce such as a harissa based sauce or an arrabiata sauce.
11. Remove meatballs from pan and garnish with crème fraiche or yogurt and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper.
At Sens we finish the meatballs in a harissa sauce mounted with butter and serve it over a saffron pearl cous cous garnished with Greek yogurt and micro fennel.
BEATS Grand Launch Party
Sunday, November 10th
2pm – 8pm
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