This past week, I had the pleasure of attending a Fresh Starts Chef Event at The Key Room, which supports the homeless through Homeward Bound of Marin. The guest chef of the evening was Chef David Lawrence of 1300 on Fillmore, a restaurant and lounge in San Francisco that serves soulful american cuisine and a killer gospel brunch. Although I’ve been to a handful of these wonderful chef events, this one was especially fun because of the live jazz music and the dynamic, yet gracious personality of Chef Lawrence. I especially appreciate how he visited each table throughout the evening to chat with guests as well as spent the afternoon personally teaching the students at the culinary school. Plus, Chef Lawrence’s Jamaican and English roots, mixed with his French Culinary training and Southern influence made for truly flavourful and innovative food.
The dinner began with Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk Dressing (which I’ve never had before and loved!) and Panko- and Herb-Crusted Goat Cheese Croquettes. The secret ingredient, Lavender Honey, added just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the savoury fried tomatoes and goat cheese. Being Asian, I didn’t grow up eating much Soul Food, but there is something so tasty and approachable about Chef Lawrence’s food — comforting and sophisticated all at the same time!
The main course was Black Skillet Roasted Catfish atop an Andouille Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya with Cornbread Panzanella Salad. The whole dish was excellent, and I especially enjoyed the jambalaya — so creamy almost like a risotto.
For dessert, we were served a delicious peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Chef Lawrence taught us how to seal the cobbler crust on top, which made for a beautiful presentation. I do love when you get your own personal dessert — like a little present!
It was a wonderful evening, and I hope to try the other dishes at 1300 on Fillmore soon, especially Chef David Lawrence’s recommended dish, Barbecue Shrimp N’ Grits!