{San Francisco}: Meals on Wheels Gala 2016

Hakkasan macarons

San Francisco is home to so many fantastic food events, and a couple weeks ago I got to attend one of the biggest ones of all: the 29th Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala. This fundraising event has become an annual showcase of some of the biggest names in the food and wine scene in San Francisco and Napa-Sonoma wine country. With Chef Nancy Oakes of San Francisco fixture Boulevard restaurant serving as Gala Chair, the event never has any trouble attracting the best of the best.

Many thanks to Meals on Wheels for extending an invitation to me and my husband to be part of the evening. Below are images from the evening, from the cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, to the three-course dinner, and my favorite part, the dessert reception. Over 200 chefs and vintners contributed their talents to the spectacular spread – hope you enjoy this little taste of what we experienced!

Meals on Wheels Dessert Reception

The interior of the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason where the gala took place.

Belcampo Ham Cracker

From the reception hour: Belcampo ham cracker, peas, ricotta, pickled pepper and kumquat from Belcampo Meat Co.

Paella del Reyes

Paella del Reyes, dishing up servings of paella large enough to be dinner on their own. You had to really avoid overstuffing yourself and having no room left for the actual dinner!

Doc Ricketts Porchetta

Porchetta di Testa, English peas, and buffalo milk ricotta from Doc Ricketts.Parallel 37 Rabbit Sausage

Rabbit sausage with green curry, kumquat, and almond from Parallel 37 at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.Ozumo Hamachi Crudo

So gorgeous: Hamachi crude with edible flower garnishes from Ozumo.

Muganaini Imports Tarts

A savory tart from Mugnaini that had the crispest tart shell I have ever tried.

Cocktails and Nibbles

 

 

Big Whisk Strainer Yosemite Hotel Rabbit Rillettes

Rabbit rilles with strawberry relish and serrano chili from the Majestic Yosemite Hotel.Absinthe Pea Puree

Absinthe captured the essence of spring with a chilled spring pea puree with smoked pork belly and tarragon cream.All Spice

I was so happy to see one of my favorite Peninsula restaurants, All Spice, make an appearance.Meals on Wheels Back of House

I got to peek at the back of the house – a section of the pavilion that was curtained off and transformed into an enormous production space. Here chefs from over 30 restaurants plated ten different three course menus that would be served to guests for dinner.

Meals on Wheels Dinner Prep

 

Chefs hard at work plating dinner.

Meals on Wheels Secret Chef Bar

At the far back of the space there was a hideaway bar for chefs only where they could go relax and celebrate after their work was done. At this moment, still pristine and waiting for the afterparty to begin.

Pabu Sushi Roll

Back at the reception, sushi rolls made to order by Pabu Izakaya.

Pabu Ramen Eggs

They also presented one of my favorite dishes, a ramen deviled egg.

Leo Tuna Carpaccio

On to dinner. The first course was an ahi tuna carpaccio topped with tea leaf salad, sesame, and toasted garlic by Leo’s Oyster Bar.

Progress Pork Shoulder

Second course was grilled pork shoulder with sunflower seed sambal and pickled carrots by Stuart Brioza’s The Progress.

Chaya Wagyu Ochazuke

The third course was an intriguing dish by Chaya: Wagyu ochazuke with mentaiko, yakionigily, broccoli, and dashi. Ochazuke is a Japanese dish traditionally made by pouring green tea over rice and adding savory toppings. I knew nothing about this dish going in and it was delicious, subtle and layered.

Dessert Prep

Although there was a live auction that started during the dinner portion, I ducked out early to get some shots of the dessert reception. The sweets did not disappoint.

Wente Strawberry Panna Cotta

Edible flowers were a theme of the evening – here they are adorning Wente Vineyards‘ strawberry and rhubarb dessert.

Dirty Girl Strawberry Desserts

Strawberry season: chefs setting up for some strawberry themed desserts including strawberry margaritas!

Strawberry Hibiscus Mousse

This strawberry hibiscus mousse with basil cremeux was pretty delicious too.

Boulevard Matcha Tartlet

Vanilla matcha tartlets from Boulevard.Hakkasan macarons

Adorable macaron presentation from Hakkasan. I loved the passion fruit ones.

Recchiuti chocolates

Bonbons and other chocolatey goodies from my favorite SF chocolatier, Recchiuti Confections.

Urbana Strawberry Panna Cotta

Strawberry panna cotta with mango gelee and puffed wild rice from La Urbana.

Keystone Coconut Tartlets

Chef from The Keystone working on coconut and chocolate tartlets.

Mayfield Smores

The most elegant s’mores with graham crackers, chocolate custard, and toasted marshmallow mousse from Mayfield Bakery.

Taste PBJ Lollipops

An edible field of candy: PB&J lollipops by Taste Catering.

Yigit Raspberry Lollipops

More lollipops and petit fours from Tout Sweet Patisserie.Yigit Mini Cakes

Altogether the evening was a gastronomic and charitable tour de force: I haven’t eaten this luxuriously in quite a while, and the evening raised a record-breaking $3.3 million for Meals on Wheels – funds that will help provide meals to homebound seniors in San Francisco. It was truly gratifying to see so much support for such a worthy cause, and it was a treat to mingle and meet with so many of the Bay Area’s star chefs. Visit the Meals on Wheels San Francisco site to learn more about their mission, and thanks again to the organization for their generous invitation to let me share in the gala!

San Francisco Sunset

Sunset behind the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Mason – a beautiful view to cap off an amazing evening.

 

 

 

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