“A Delicious Meeting Menu in San Francisco” 

by Robert W. Bone

Nearly 40 members and guests learned what some Bay Area top chefs are thinking about during the innovative January 21st meeting of BATW.

The informative — and dare we say “delicious” — session was held on Martin Luther King Junior day at Maybeck’s Restaurant at the corner of Scott and Lombard Streets in San Francisco.

Maybeck’s Chef Erik Lowe and other top chefs found themselves answering burning or at least simmering questions from an eager audience of food-conscious travel writers on the restaurant’s Marina District premises.

Others weighing in included Chef Andrei Bushuev, Executive Sous Chef and Pastry Chef Evan Brittell from Cafe Boho on Steiner Street, Cultivar Restaurant owner Jody Harris, Chef Matthew Woods, a “consulting chef” for Scopo Divino, and similar experts in the field.

The revealing session was prodded by BATW member Barbara Barrielle, a well-known travel, wine, food and entertainment writer, who served as moderator.

Members learned that there are more trends toward casual dining today rather than the stuffier “Michelin” approaches in the past. Lowe said he now creates almost everything by hand.

“We believe in giving expert treatment to traditional favorites,” he said.

The panel also lauded the effectiveness of “happy hour” for drinks, pointing out that patrons will often decide to stay and order dinner afterward.

With tongues in cheeks, some travel writers cheerfully brought up the subject of bringing their dog along with them to the restaurant. All on the panel seemed to agree that as long as sidewalk tables or an open-air patio are available, their well-behaved four-footed companions would be welcome.

The group also expressed genuine appreciation for women chefs in the business today. “My wife is inside cooking now!” Chef Erik said with a smile.

A light lunch with wine tastings followed the program, featuring among others Cultivar’s spinach salad, Maybeck’s Lobster Bisque, and Chef Evan’s delicate apple tart.

Prior to the main program, members received a brief welcome from Heather Seliga, president of the Marina Merchants Association, who described some popular attractions in the neighborhood.