Hello, my friends. Well, how was that for an oddball Mother’s Day? We all did the best we could—I know it was really challenging for some, a heartbreak for others. Sending much love to all! I was so grateful to see my sweet parents for the first time in two months, and to be able to hang out as a family, even if we were 12 feet away. I’m so glad the rents have a backyard where we could have a socially distant brunch and drink some bubbles and hang out with the cat. It was so uplifting. We all needed some family time, although my sister and I looked like bandits. (We just stole mint and arugula and fava beans and roses and irises. Oh, and oregano. Ha!)
As you know, I’ve been busy over here with my new On the Fly podcast, and we’ve had some incredible episodes since I last popped into your inbox! There is a follow-up to Joanna Karlinsky’s episode with Fernando Pujals of the Tenderloin Community Benefit District, who talks about the needs of the neighborhood (and how to support Tenderloin restaurants); and it was amazing timing to have a conversation with Jennifer Bennett, a co-owner of Zazie, on the day they were reopening for daily takeout after receiving a PPP loan. She walks us through the anguishing decisions she has had to make to try to keep this SF Legacy restaurant afloat, and what she sees for the future.
It was also great to speak with Karri Kiyuna of Wildhawk, who shares with us the surreal experience of turning a cozy Mission bar into an e-commerce site, and their collaboration with Hilda and Jesse, a wonderful brunch pop-up on the weekends that isn’t like the others! You’ll want to line up an order for the weekend (there’s even a breakfast Negroni).
In case you don’t hear the update in Fernando’s episode, I want to share the heartening news that Sam Mogannam of the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses listened in to On the Fly, and when he heard about the need for water on the streets of SF, he managed to secure a pallet of water for chef Joanna Karlinsky to give out on her food runs, and has also offered the 18 Reasons kitchen to her so she’d have space to cook and store ingredients (and have room for volunteers to help her!), instead of doing everything out of her home kitchen. Thank you SO MUCH, Sam! What a guy, what a heart.
I also want to do a huge thank you to today’s sponsor, Cheetah, who is not only giving away $100 worth of groceries to three lucky tablehopper winners (they have flour and TP, jus’ sayin’!), but they also donated $100 worth of groceries for Joanna to cook with for her meals for the homeless. I’ll be posting some pics on @tablehopper of what she made with her haul (and what I’ve been making at home). It means so much to me to have such an awesome sponsor right now, so thanks, Cheetah!
I’m so grateful for the press coverage On the Fly continues to receive, it helps immensely to get the word out about all these inspiring people and initiatives we cover! The Mercury News wrote a fantastic piece (thanks so much for listening to the podcast, Jessica Yadegaran!), and this interview with me in 48 Hills just went up last night about the future for bars and restaurants.
We were included in this article in Plate featuring our fellow podcasters currently covering Covid-19 and its impact on the hospitality industry, and we also got a nod in the Taste newsletter (do you subscribe?). So appreciated!
I say “we” because I really couldn’t be doing this without the continued support of my producer extraordinaire, Lola Yen, who has been such a formidable partner in helping me post this podcast twice a week. Thank you, Lola! I just recorded our tenth episode last night, and we’ve had 3,000 downloads since we launched! Thanks to all of you for your posts and shares and support (and contributions to the tip jar, you rock).
Today, I have a quick post about some of our amazing local cooks and bartenders you should be following and learning from. I know everyone is hosting Instagram Live videos with their at-home cooking tips, but these are some real pros who can seriously help you up your game. It’s a special and rare opportunity to have this level of access and be learning so much, I just wish I had the time to watch and cook more. Like my podcast’s name, things are definitely on the fly over here.
One last thing: if you could please read this GoFundMe post about our beloved Cafe Jacqueline—our dear 83-year-old chef-owner Jacqueline Margulis has had some health issues, and her restaurant and family could really use our help.
Thanks for all your support, be well. Marcia Gagliardi
As we’ve been watching our beloved restaurants and food businesses struggle to survive these past two months, I’ve also been concerned for our wonderful cooking schools and many talented teachers who hold cooking classes. It has been an unexpected treat to watch chefs cook at home on Instagram Live and learn some new tricks, but there are some other more-structured classes happening online that do more good than just improve your cooking—they help keep other people afloat.
18 Reasons is Bi-Rite’s nonprofit community cooking school, known for offering all kinds of classes with professional chefs, sommeliers, local makers, and more. One of their most important programs is their free Cooking Matters program, a six-week-long series of cooking and nutrition classes for low-income communities throughout the Bay Area. During pre-Covid times, 18 Reasons gives away 12 meals’ worth of groceries to each of their Cooking Matters students. But based on what they’re hearing from their food-insecure students, they’re really having to step up to continue to increase their food distribution and offer weekly grocery deliveries, meals, and online food education to 300 hungry families until this crisis is over.
You can donate directly to 18 Reasons, become a member, and you can also support their mission by taking one of their almost-daily cooking classes they’re offering online, from dumplings to Hainan chicken rice to pasta-making! They have a variety of class times, structures, cuisines, and price points, and are even offering classes specifically for teens and classes for families. Check it out and do some good!
With so many chefs and cooks and bartenders out of work right now (or with severely diminished hours), you can help them out by taking one of their classes on ChefsFeedExperiences. Some classes are online/livestream, while others are hands-on and interactive. The best part? You can learn from chefs from all over—from Sardinia to Brooklyn—on how to make plant-based sauces or tikka masala! There is also some free programming, along with classes by request, so be sure to check out the entire offering. (Some chefs even donate part of their fee to charities and initiatives.)
Anyone who loves Italian food and cooking and lives in the Bay Area hopefully follows our local cooking goddess, Viola Buitoni. I have loved her classes at Civic Kitchen (they’re launching online classes May 14th!), and she also teaches for 18 Reasons. I’ve been immensely enjoying her nightly Instagram videos of what she’s making for dinner with her husband John AKA “the videographer” (here’s her IGTV channel), but she also offers virtual and interactive cooking classes (two-hour workshops) for up to eight people every Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm-6pm. To give more people access to her classes, she decided to keep them affordable at $45 per spot. Many of us are figuring out what to cook each week from CSA boxes, so be sure to look at her Thursday farm box-to-table cooking adventures inspired by a weekly vegetable delivery from FEED Sonoma, an organization of 80-plus family farms.
Another local chef I follow is James Stolich of Cook With James, who is known for his love of Spanish and Italian cuisines. He normally hosts hands-on cooking classes, but is beginning to host online classes (he recently made carbonara on ChefsFeed), and is also offering dinners-to-go. Follow him on Instagram to keep up with his latest news and classes.
My East Bay chef pal Jesse Bloom from Sacred Kitchen has been bringing people of all stripes together over food for over 20 years. He’s excited to bring his brand of flavor, fun, and connection to your living room during these most-unusual times. He’s starting up a second series of his Foundations of Flavor classes, and this time the four-week culinary odyssey will be inspired by four great food cities: Tijuana, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Fez. Each class highlights three culinary techniques that will elevate your home cooking—you can join for one class or do the entire series (if you do the full tour, you can bring a friend for one class!). Fridays (5:30pm-7pm), May 22nd-June 12th.
I know, many of us are hitting the sauce a bit more at home, so you may as well amp your cocktail game! Bar wizard and cocktail savant Christopher Longoria (Che Fico, 1760, Aziza) has been teaching some customized and highly interactive virtual classes for extremely limited groups (just 1-4 folks) based on your skills and what you have in your liquor stash at home. Message him on Instagram or via email for more, it looks like one of the coolest ways to spice up yet another evening at home.
If you need affordable and/or bulk groceries and supplies, then look no further!
Cheetah is giving three lucky winners a $100 grocery shopping spree! Because of the COVID-19 crisis, Cheetah has opened up their warehouse and launched nine contact-free grocery pickup locations around the Bay Area (and counting!).
Now, communities, families, and individuals can buy much-needed wholesale groceries and supplies from the Cheetah app. Their inventory is loaded with bulk/affordable products like hand sanitizer (must have), flour (unleash your inner-quarantine baker), avocados (Cali resident requirement), TP (AKA gold right now), and one of the best parts is that they have a ton of organic and plant-based options (including Impossible Burgers—YUM!)—enough to keep everybody full!
This is one of the safest and easiest ways to get groceries right now!
To enter to win, all you need to do is:
1) Like this post on Instagram and on Facebook (for a second chance!). 2) Follow @gocheetah on Instagram and their page on Facebook to double your entries! 3) Tag someone who would love to win groceries!
Three lucky winners will be randomly chosen on Monday May 18th (at 10am Pacific): two on Instagram, and one from Facebook. The more people you tag (in separate comments), the more you increase your chance of winning. Good luck!