Bruce Aidell, the sausage maker extraordinaire of Aidell Sausage Company, and his wife, Nancy Oakes, hosted eleven of us for a dim sum lunch at Yank Sing, my favorite Chinese restaurant. We had an extraordinary array of dim sum. Bruce imperiously vetoed one after the other of the serving carts and chose instead to have the manager fill our table with various dim sum of his selection off the menu. They were too numerous to remember and we were far to busy grabbing with our chopsticks and eating to list them all. Favorites were the Peking Duck, Pork and Shrimp Siu Mye, Seafood Basil Dumplings, and Pork Buns. The one that intrigued me the most was a super flaky lard pastry turnover filled with chicken curry. Our food fest continued with dinner, interrupted only by another cappuccino at Blue Bottle in the late afternoon. Nathan "Mr. Vancouver" Fong took over the annual intimate friends' dinner from me 18 conferences ago, and it's grown so much it's become a conference within the conference. This year's dinner was at the Perbacco Ristorante. We were happy to be seated next to our friends Hayley and Michael Matson Mathes from Hawaii. Hayley had arranged our baking demonstration and accommodations this past December. Tuesday's breakfast at Boulettes Larder in the Ferry Building, with fellow bakers Caitlin Williams Freeman and Liz Prueitt, was another "old home week." We ran into several friends including beloved photographer Ben Fink and dear friend Corby Kummer, who writes for the Atlantic Monthly, and whose two page feature on the Cake Bible almost 25 years ago launched 18,500 copies in one day! Caitlin's new book, Modern Art Desserts, featuring renditions of iconic works of art, was coming out the following week.(I posted my foreword and also the spectacular book signing on the pub date titled: A Very Special Baking Book.) Liz, pastry chef/co-owner of Tartine Bakery & Café in the Mission district has contributed a wonderful lemon curd to our next book, using an unusual technique. Boulette's is a deliciously informal meeting place with its main community table situated right next to the open kitchen. I ordered the Poached Eggs served over Middle Eastern greens and chickpeas, in browned butter. Liz had a delightfully impromptu first meeting with Corby who is a dedicated dessert fan. We bakers three then strolled to the other end of the Ferry Building for some of Caitlin's Blue Bottle Coffee. Our afternoon seminar was Techniques from TV Pros for Producing Top Quality Food Videos. Ben Fink was one of the presenters and his video of me, "A Moment with Rose," his very first video was part of the presentation. We were delighted to run into Rachelino, one of my favorite bloggers and member of the Beta Bakers Team for the upcoming "Baking Bible." She was a volunteer on the San Francisco host committee, for this seminar. This was the first time that Woody and I had seen my eating a delicious bite of my "Deep Passion Cake" on the big screen. (You can view this video by clicking on "A Moment with Rose" in the upper left hand corner of this blog). Seeing my eating the cake prompted a return to Blue Bottle Coffee for a dish of their Affogato - with Humphry Slocombe Brown Butter ice cream and espresso. The evening was the event most anticipated by authors and publishers alike--the Awards. The award categories keep increasing yearly. There are now over forty-three, with digital technology and the web having become a major resource for foodies to writers to restaurant owners. The Best Baking Book Award went to "Flour Salt Water Yeast " by Ken Forkish. The Cookbook of the Year went to "Jerusalem: a Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. (Although, I was nominated to the Culinary Classics Award, I still have a few years to wait as this year's inductees were published at least ten years before "The Cake Bible.") Natalie Chapman, GM of cookbooks at Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, invited us and several associates and writers to a late evening of conversation and treats at the new Prospect Restaurant. Bruce Aidell was again our host. Chef owner Nancy Oakes, arranged for her staff to serve us wonderful appetizers and this divine banana, chocolate, and caramel Ice Cream Sundae. I was happy to learn from Nathan Fong, long time executive member of IACP, that our organization is growing stronger every year. There will be hundreds of new connections, new authors, and new winners taking their walk to the podium in the upcoming years. Stay tuned for more on the S.F. adventure with friends and family in two weeks!
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