Best Showman Chef

Executive Chef Devon Boisen

With his disarming wit, unpretentious warmth, and creative uses for kumquats, Spenger's executive chef, Devon Boisen, has been netting a reputation as the East Bay's go-to guy for that rare treat: the themed meal narrated, course by course, with ready-for-prime-time riffs about ingredients, cooking techniques, and the wild adventure that eating can be. One of his favorite things in the world, he declares, "is being able to get the first fish of any season and call dibs on it. Standing over a beastly halibut with the biggest, sharpest knife and claiming the first steak just underneath the collar is sweet visceral heaven." Emceeing the restaurant's annual Crabby Chef competition, he elicits roars. In accordance with the current passion for oxidation, Boisen has been staging monthly "One Fermented Evening" dinners with wine and beer pairings; the menus for such repasts included fusions such as grilled-cheese-and-tomato soup, "bite-sized" cioppino, duck confit, chocolate manicotti with kumquat flambé, and smoked prawns with Parma-ham cracklings. He joshed: "We've done what you're not supposed to do with Parma ham, and that's cook it."
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