on the range

Mixing It Up at Foreign & Domestic

Indie chefs dinners continue with Bill Corbett

By Rachel Feit, 1:30PM, Fri. Jun. 20

What does it take to be an indie chef? Are you willing to work long hours for low pay? Is your dream vacation one where you intern for someone else to improve your craft? Does the idea of a mushroom flavored s’more appeal to your taste? If, like Bill Corbett, you answered yes to these questions, you may just have the chops.

Bill Corbett (left) and Ned Elliot (second from left) oversee plating in the F&D kitchen.

This past Monday, Foreign & Domestic hosted Corbett, executive pastry chef of San Francisco’s The Absinthe Group, to another Indie Chefs dinner, where he talked about his philosophy in the kitchen, his culinary influences, and how he went from washing dishes to overseeing dessert menus at four Bay Area restaurants. Although named one of the food industry’s rising stars in 2007 and Best Pastry Chef of 2011 by San Francisco Magazine, Corbett’s name is still relatively obscure in the contemporary culinary pantheon. For a little while at least, he can still lay claim to indie cred.

Corbett is a vegetarian, so Monday night’s dinner was a meatless meal, and a departure from F&D’s usual organ-heavy ensembles. Dinner clocked in at ten courses — six of them created by Corbett, with the remainder concocted by F&D staff. Corbett, whose own training is entirely OTJ, demonstrated how delightful the liminal spaces between sweet and savory can be. The highlights included an artichoke confit accented by black garlic purée, lemon aioli, and brioche croutons; and a dessert of lemon cake topped with ricotta mousse, celery sorbet, and roasted strawberries. The juxtaposition of flavors, textures, and techniques was truly inspiring.

Artichoke confit with black garlic and aioli

F&D’s own staff jumped right in with a few jewels of their own. My favorite was the fresh, homemade ricotta with dill pollen, stewed peaches, and pickled green beans.

F&D will continue its Monday night Indie Chefs dinners next month. Dinners are $100 per person for table seats and $125 per person for counter seats. Look for updates about them on their website.

Foreign & Domestic

306 East 53rd 512/459-1010

Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday, 5:30-9:30pm; Friday & Saturday, 5:30-11pm


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