The Bon Appétit team at Foundry & Lux at The Cove biotech campus in South San Francisco, CA, is always looking for new ways to engage their on-campus tenants. In addition to their amenities (a two-lane bowling alley, pool table, and ping-pong), they host regular tenant appreciation events that have included tastings with partners such as Equator Coffee and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The events are an opportunity for guests to mix, mingle, get to know the Foundry & Lux team, and explore the various event spaces.
But to really connect with their guests, they wanted to share what makes Foundry & Lux so special: the beautiful food made with ingredients grown in the on-site garden. That’s how the idea for an immersive chef demonstration was born. Executive Chef Darryl Bell would take guests on a tour of the labyrinth garden, from which they could harvest ingredients to be cooked in a dish that they would then enjoy together.
The team wanted to keep the class size intimate in order to foster an environment where guests could interact with the chef as he taught classic culinary techniques, ask questions, and learn. The seven guests in attendance were welcomed with a glass of wine and the opportunity to chat with Darryl before the serious cooking began. Each guest was given a notebook that included printed recipe cards and space for note taking. Then they headed to the garden, where they harvested fennel fronds, edible flowers, artichokes, and herbs as Darryl talked through the best timing and methods for harvesting the various ingredients.
With their ingredients in hand, they returned to the kitchen, where Darryl showed them how to skin, clean, and portion salmon for the dish they were preparing: pan-seared salmon with Foundry & Lux garden artichokes and vegetable ragoût, finished with a barigoule emulsion (a sauce made from the artichoke cooking liquid, lemon juice, cooking fat, and Dijon mustard).
Guests asked questions throughout as Darryl demonstrated various techniques for preparing the vegetables, steaming the artichokes, and emulsifying the sauce. Then it was time to taste the finished dish.
“It was exciting to interact with our guests in a new way and to really be able to show off the garden, the effort we put into creating each dish, and to watch them enjoy the end result,” said Darryl.
The event was such a success that the team plans to host quarterly culinary workshops to keep guests learning about how the garden and menus change throughout the seasons.