By Chef Coleen Donnelly
I recently made an appearance as guest chef at a local restaurant I love – Canela Bistro Bar in San Francisco.
The owner, Mat Schuster is the first friend I made when I moved to San Francisco in 2007. Four years ago he said he wanted to open a restaurant and I encouraged him not to. Not only didn’t he listen to me, he wrangled me into helping him do it! Happily, Canela has been a big success and I am extremely proud of him.
It is a Spanish Tapas restaurant, so I had to go in that direction with the dishes I picked for the night. It was a fun challenge because it allowed me to dig deeper into Spanish cuisine while still working with my favorite rice and grains from InHarvest: Red Quinoa Flat Bread with Grilled Vegetables and Goat Cheese Drizzle, Roasted Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Heirloom Red Rice, Amaranth and Multi Colored Peas, Albondiga of Freekeh, Serrano Ham, Garbanzos and Feta and Black Nerone Arroz con Leche. I pulled together a Tuxedo Barley Wild Mushroom Salad that wound up being the crowd favorite. People are crazy for grain salads in San Francisco these days.
One of the best things about stepping in as a guest chef is that it puts you back on the front lines, at least for a night. When I arrived and realized how much work I had to do, it all came back to me! The memory of being the chef in a busy restaurant with only a few hours to go until the doors open washed over me and gave me the adrenaline I needed to be ready. Mat and I had fun and served some nice food that night.