“5 Questions with Chef Jennifer Puccio”
Jennifer Puccio, native east coaster and executive chef/partner of Park Tavern, Marlowe and The Cavalier restaurants, is a culinary dynamo that knows how to cook delicious food with flavor. Puccio’s culinary credits include working with acclaimed chef, author, and James Beard Award winner Anna Sortun of Oleana (Cambridge, Mass.), where she learned the art of creating balance while working with bold, bright Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. Puccio’s credits include Daniel Patterson’s former restaurant Elisabeth Daniel, Rivoli, famed vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu (Napa, Calif.), Ramblas, and Cortez, where she earned three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, an honor she earned again in April 2010 for Marlowe.
Cavalier is the new kid on the block serving up, located in Hotel Zeta on 5th between Market and Mission Streets in San Francisco. The London inspired Brasserie is the brainchild of Chef Jen and business partners Anna Weinberg & James Nicholas.
The menu serves British pub grub, a British invasion of flavours if you will with Chef Jen’s modern and California twist; Fish & Chips with fresh minted peas – a nice addition. Pies, pies and more pies but each one takes a welcomed healthy turn; The Wild Mushroom pie is served with a removable pastry lid for those watching the calories.
There is a “soldiers” section on the menu and for anyone who grew up a kid in the United Kingdom this is an invitation to became a wee lad once again as the soldiers (finger sized strips of toast) stand at ease and in line awaiting you to dip them into an inviting assortment of eggs; soft cooked hen egg/hen egg hollandaise/welsh rarebit gravy. HEAVEN!! Breakfast is served daily and all day every day from 7am! I enjoyed breakfast in the afternoon at Cavalier recently and it was just as good as if at 7am!
“Cooking is about making people happy.”
– Jennifer Puccio, Executive Chef, The Cavalier
The other British dish I crave more than any other; traditional Sunday roast and joyfully they serve it at Cavalier with creamy horseradish mash potatoes. However I don’t recall Mum’s roast chicken being served with with a bacon-mustard jus, but I am ever so happy it is.
The Cavalier (credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
To eat at Cavalier is for me to enjoy and taste the comfort food of home in a swanky London meets San Francisco setting where the Stones or The Grateful Dead could walk in at any moment and where rock royalty or Windsor royalty could be found at either end of the bar. When you visit be sure to take time out for a stroll around the entire restaurant. If lucky you may find yourself in the “back room” an homage to Marianne Faithfull where cocktails are served in hushed tones, as Mick Jagger and Marianne look on.
And when at the bar order the “Royal G &T” – a massive goblet of Beefeater Gin, Dubbonet blanc & tonic – a right royal treat if ever there was.
Do enjoy my chat with Chef Jen and the lovely Anna Weinberg. And treat yourself to a naughty night out or breakfast or lunch at my new home away from home CAVALIER!
KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Chef Jennifer Puccio’s Wild Mushroom Savory Pie (credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
Wild Mushroom Savory Pie
1½ lbs wild mushrooms, sliced (porcini, morel, chanterelle, or other exciting wild mushrooms)
¼ cup butter
1 lbs cleaned, chopped Swiss chard
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup butter
2 cup water
1 lb diced red kuri squash (cut into ½” squares)
4 cup cremini mushrooms
1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 t vadouvan
1 package of puff pastry
1 egg + 1 t water, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Roast the kuri squash, tossed in olive oil, until just tender, not mushy, roughly 30 minutes.
Saute the mushrooms in butter until soft but not dry. Set aside.
Saute the garlic in the butter until golden brown in a large saute pan. Add the chopped chard and cook until the butter has been absorbed. Then, add 1/2 cup of water and cook until absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup of water and cook under absorbed. Continue doing this until the chard is very tender but the liquid has all been asborbed.
Chop the cremini mushrooms and cook until soft and dry in butter. Remove from the heat. Add the cream & vadouvan. Puree in a blender until smooth.
Combine all cooked ingredients in a large bowl.
Divide the mushroom mixture among 6 5 ½ ovenproof bowls. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut three circles from each, making a round slightly larger than the top of each bowl. Brush the outside rim of bowl with egg wash, place a round of dough over each bowl, fold the dough over the top, and trim the edges about 1 inch below the top. Repeat until all the bowls are covered in dough.
Brush the tops with egg wash; make two or three slits in the top of each with a sharp knife. Sprinkle tops with salt. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. 1 to 1 ¼ hours.