In North America, being a chef is no longer a blue-collar “default job” but a desirable career. Without them, I would not be doing this, and I am incredibly grateful to have met so many talented chefs along the way. Thanks to food media and the rising public interest in food, cooking is no longer just cooking, it’s an expression of creativity as well as a survival skill.
I did not have that toe-curling moment, but the execution, technique and development of each dish was so intense and fine tuned it was admirable. I could almost taste the determination for a third star. The precision, knife skills, and attention to detail at benu I hold high in regard. It wasn’t necessary my favourite movie, but it was mindfully stimulating.
Some of the courses were very homestyle Asian dishes while others were a test of skill. An Asian chef could spend a lifetime mastering some of those dishes, so at times it was ambitious but nonetheless dedicated.
If you are familiar with Chinese cuisine, or even Asian cuisine, meaning you grew up eating food from these cultures, you will experience and relate to benu’s Tasting Menu differently. For me it was personal and at times nostalgic and even challenging. It started off with a modern play on Chinese appetizers and childhood snacks which I found the most fun.
Chef Lee worked under Chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry for 8 years and was chef de cuisine for the latter half. Being classically trained in French cooking, his 2 Michelin Star restaurant benu is an eclectic and creative mix of Asian inspired Californian cuisine expertly executed with French, Asian and New American techniques.
This city is synonymous with food and good restaurants. People visit just to eat and it is truly a treat to be in San Francisco. It is home to some of America’s “Best Restaurants” and my main purpose for this trip was to judge Cathay Pacific’s Noodles of Asia contest, but I couldn’t help but to extend my stay…
Working with the highest quality ingredients is already half his work done, but to be innovative yet respectful of each ingredient is no easy task. Blaine creates a story through presentation, aromas and garnishes, and the menu really sings in tune with the season. He delivers a memorable dining experience.
There is only one Chef’s Tasting Menu and they space out the orders and it feels like they are cooking just for you. This is small scale cooking so there is little room for error. They do have front of the house staff, but often it was the cooks, chefs and Blaine himself coming out to serve dishes.