SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – As a child, Chef Srijith Gopinathan grew up being influenced by the exotic spices of Southern India that filled the air of his childhood home. His backyard blossomed with ginger and turmeric and he was often tasked by his grandmother to collect these culinary treasures and bring them in to the family kitchen where he observed lessons on utilizing every part of an ingredient and spice.
If his grandmother were alive today, she would be proud to know that he just earned two Michelin stars as the Executive Chef at San Francisco’s Campton Place and is the only Indian Chef in the nation to receive such distinction.
His journey from the perfumed kitchen of his family to culinary school and beyond is proof that early lessons on the importance of flavor and spice are the building blocks to the precise execution of great cuisine.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Srijith worked in the illustrious kitchen of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at the Michelin two-starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in England, where he honed his extensive repertoire of classical European techniques.
Chef Srijith also spent time in upscale hotels in India before taking the helm at Taj Exotica in the Maldives.
For the past eight years, Chef Srijith has used his unique skill set to create the most refined version of contemporary Cal-Indian cuisine at Campton Place. For seven years in a row, Chef Srijith earned a Michelin star for this landmark San Francisco dining establishment and in the last two years was bestowed two Michelin stars.
In addition to the Michelin accolades, Chef Srijith and Campton Place were awarded 3.5 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle for his food.
His regular forays to Bay Area farmers markets inspire him to combine peak-season ingredients with spice route flourishes that enhance, but never overwhelm. His nuanced palate enables him to create balanced flavors in dishes that surprise and delight. Chef Srijith’s versatility and depth of knowledge are such that he regularly enters the pastry realm, creating the restaurant’s elegant desserts.
Chef Srijith truly values his time in San Francisco, a city he believes affords chefs and diners the best ingredients on the planet.
We met at the two Michelin starred Taj Campton Place for our Foodie Chap chat. Chef’s Indian roots and his California food sensibility inspire his thoughtful and pioneering Cal-Indian cuisine. Surely Michelin star number three is on the horizon for this rock star chef, with talent and a smile as big as the Golden Gate Bridge.
Enjoy our tasty talk and Chef’s super sexy Shrimp & Endive salad recipe. Treat yourself to lunch or dinner at one of San Francisco’s finest restaurants, a Michelin starred gem in the heart of the city, a mere block from Union Square.
Warm Pepper Shrimp Salad
- 2 tbsp of corn oil
- 2 tbsp of Virgin Coconut oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 cup of red onion brunoise
- 1 tbsp of ginger and garlic ground (equal quantities)
- 1 tbsp of shredded curry leaves
- 1/2 tsp of red powder
- 1tsp of coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp of garam masala powder
- 1 large tomato diced very small with no skin or seeds
- 1 tsp of cilantro chopped
- * green chilies finely chopped (optional) if u like it hot
- Fresh shrimp sliced into two length wise (16-20size) no tail or shells
- Lemon juice to taste
- Salt to taste
- Tiny pinch of salt
- 1 tspLemon olive oil
- Meyer / regular lemon zest 3 pinches
Bring the oils to a smoke and add mustard. Once the mustard crackles add ur onion and sauté until light brown. Add ur ginger garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes and add your powder spices , cook until raw flavor is gone. Now add curry leaves and cilantro and tomatoes. Season with salt sugar and add shrimp. Sauté until cooked. Feel free to add a spoon of moisture ( stock or water ) if it is too dry. Adjust the seasoning s along with lemon juice, zest and lemon olive oil.
Feel free to serve this on a romaine heart scooped out or in endive leaves or even in a little gem lettuce cup. Serve with a homemade lemon yogurt dressing
- Half cup thick yogurt
- 2 tbsp chilled water
- 2 tbsp lemon olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Mustard paste
- 1tsp Finely chopped cilantro
- Salt and lemon juice to taste and half lemon zest.
- Whisk all these together and dress the leaves and serve shrimp on the leaves.
- Makes a good lunch or healthy snack or a S/W alternative.
- No gluten / dairy / carbs
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