SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A native of Dallas, Texas, Chef Blake Askew developed his love of cooking from an early age. Growing up, he was always the cook in the household,whether baking cakes and cookies or putting together elaborate meals using his mother’s copies of Mastering the Art of French cooking and The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. His family moved between the Chicago area and Texas throughout his childhood, rooting him in the Midwestern American traditions of food as comfort and celebration.
Chef Blake attended college at The University of North Texas as a music major focusing in vocal performance. While working his way through school in a variety of different restaurant positions, his connection with the service industry really started to grow. After college, he worked some small-time gigs as a singer, but continued working in restaurants as a server, and eventually afront of house manager. All the while, the allure of the kitchen grew until eventually in 2005 he devoted his attention full time to pursuing a career in cooking. It was at this point that he landed his first serious kitchen job at Shinsei in Dallas. Here, he worked with Chef Casey Thompson learning the ropes, beginning as a pastry prep cook, then eventually learning and working every station on the line.
After a number of years gaining as much experience as possible in various Dallas restaurants including Abacus and Hattie’s, in 2010 he landed at Five Sixty by Wolfgang puck. Then, Sous Chef at The Source in Washington, DC as well as Specialty Sous Chef for Wolfgang Puck Steak at the MGM Grand in Detroit, Michigan.
In 2014, Chef Blake answered the call of his old friend from Dallas, Casey Thompson for Executive Sous Chef to partner with her in opening Aveline in San Francisco’s Union Square. After eventually becoming the Executive Chef of Aveline, Blake moved on to work under Dominique Crenn to open Petit Crenn, the follow up to her two Michelin starred Atelier Crenn.
In 2016 he took his current position as Chef De Cuisine at Maybeck’s in San Francisco. At Maybeck’s he has seamlessly combined his knowledge of French techniques with his love of classic American comfort food. Chef Blake has had an integral roll in defining the style and direction of the menu. Above all, Maybeck’s allows him to take full advantage of the bounty of ingredients available in the Bay Area as well as continue to cultivate and grow relationships with local purveyors and farmers. He feels his job is only done when he has properly showcased all of their hard work on the plate.
We met recently for a Foodie Chap chat and the focus of our conversation “WELLY WEDNESDAYS”. This is indeed music to this Irish-Brit’s ears – an entire dining experience focused on that classic British fare “Beef Wellington”. The juicy hunk of beef wrapped in flaky, crunchy pastry is an instant trip back home evoking memories of my youth when this was indeed regarded as a rare but warmly received treat. The Wellington is carved promptly at 7pm on Wednesdays at the Marina based restaurant.
Do yourself a favor and book your seat at a table at Maybeck’s for this weekly British feast. You will be jolly happy you did and tell them the Duke sent you.
My top hat is raised to Blake a super talented Chef making his mark at Maybeck’s in San Francisco.
- 1 each Beef filet, cleaned
- 1 full sheet Puff pastry, ready to use
- 5 # Cremini mushrooms, washed
- ¼ cup Garlic, minced
- 3 each Eggs
- ¼ cup Whole milk
- 2 T Maldon Salt
- To taste Kosher Salt
- To taste Black pepper, finely ground
- Season the filet well with kosher salt and black pepper and let stand for at least 2 hours.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, or on a griddle on high heat, sear all sides of the filet then immediately chill.
- Roughly chop the mushrooms, then puree in a food processer in small batches.
- In a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat with no oil or butter, place the pureed mushrooms. Stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, cook until most of the water is reduced out (about 40 minutes)
- Add the minced garlic and turn the heat up to medium high, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes dry and has a paste-like consistency.
- Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste, then thoroughly chill.
- On a clean work surface, lay a sheet of plastic wrap that is big enough to fully cover the beef filet.
- Spread the mushroom duxelle mixture out on the plastic wrap to a thickness of about ½ inch.
- Place the seared and chilled filet in the center of the duxelle, then carefully pull the plastic wrap over and around the filet to completely coat the meat.
- Wrap at least two more times tightly in plastic wrap, then chill overnight.
- Using an appropriately sized piece of puff pastry sheet (depending on the size of filet you are working with), place the pastry down on a floured surface.
- Whisk the milk and eggs together to create an egg wash.
- Carefully unwrap and place the filet (now coated with duxelle) on the center of pastry.
- Brush the edges of the puff pastry thoroughly with egg wash.
- Bring the long sides of the puff pastry to the center of the wrapped fillet and press carefully to seal the seam.
- Then (like a burrito) fold, egg wash and press the sides of the pastry to create a clean cylinder, then flip over the entire thing to hide the seam.
- At this point the Wellington can be wrapped and chilled until ready to bake.
- When ready to bake, place the wellington onto a silpat on a sheet tray.
- Thoroughly brush the entire wellington liberally with egg wash and then sprinkle with maldon salt.
- Bake at 425 degrees F (on high fan if available) for 20 minutes.
- Rotate the pan completely, then continue to bake for an addition 15 minutes.
- Using a meat thermometer, take the internal temperature of the meat. When puff pastry is golden brown and the internal temperature of the filet reaches 115 degrees F, remove from the oven to rest.
- Allow to rest a full 20 minutes at which point the meat should carry over the 130 degrees.
- Slice, sauce and enjoy.
Charred Shallot-Black Truffle Sauce
- 8 each Large shallots, sliced thick
- ¼ cup Dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
- 3 quarts Veal Stock
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 3 T Black truffle butter, room temperature
- To taste Kosher salt
- To taste Black pepper, coarsely ground
- To Taste Sherry Vinegar
- Season the sliced shallots with kosher salt.
- Combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a bowl with a whisk.
- Toss the seasoned shallots in the vinegar and sugar mixture.
- Remove the shallots from the bowl and place onto an oiled sheet tray.
- In a 450 degree oven, cook the shallots until the sugar starts to burn and they are heavily charred on both sides.
- In a sauce pot, bring the veal stock to a boil, add the charred shallots and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Carefully puree this mixture, while hot in a blender until completely smooth. (Do not strain.)
- Transfer the pureed sauce back to a pot and bring to a simmer.
- Add the heavy cream and allow to simmer until the desired consistency is reached. (Nape, or when the sauce fully coats the back of a spoon.)
- Whisk in the black truffle butter a little bit at a time.
- Season to taste with kosher salt, black pepper, and sherry vinegar.
For more information, visit:
3213 Scott Street
San Francisco, CA 94123