if you saw any of the photos from the recent iron chef bacon smackdown, you’d know that my friend kwame is a redonkulously good cook. he possesses a unique and extremely rewarding combination of an all-consuming love for food, a willingness to experiment, a natural curiosity for processes and flavors, a desire to search for the best ingredients, and the commitment to wake up at 7am to check on his slow-roasting oxtail when he went to bed drunk at 3am. now that is some serious dedication, and some crazy good luck for those of us fortunate enough to attend the four course dinner extravaganza at his place last night.
i really enjoy kwame’s style of cooking – he’s focused and clearly following a grand plan in his head, but simultaneously manages to be laidback, engaging, and a great host. he’ll have five burners going while he sticks two pans in the oven and juggles a cheese grater and a juicer and dude still looks relaxed.
this lovely bowl of upland cress (the spicier, more pungent cousin of watercress), butter lettuce, mint, and sage sitting in a few inches of water signaled that there would be some delicious fresh ingredients coming our way.
last week, i went on a shopping trip to the produce heaven berkeley bowl with kwame, jess, and annie. i bet it’s the first time the butcher has had anyone buy him out of oxtail, which is why it is nonstop entertainment to roll with kwame at grocery stores. he turned this ginormous bag o’tail into a phenomenal saffron risotto with slow-roasted oxtail, topped by a sprinkle of pecorino and parmesan cheese. BOOYAH.