What do you do when your 15 minutes of Top Chef fame have ended and the latest crop of cheftestants are the talk of the town? Well, you take a tip from season 4's Jen Biesty and go back to the kitchen. Not just any kitchen, but a well regarded kitchen in one of the busiest parts of town. Chef Biesty is currently the executive chef at San Francisco's Scala's Bistro. Located off of the bustling Union Square, Scala's Bistro has been catering to tourists for the past 14 years. Biesty took over the kitchen in October and recently debuted a new menu. Last week I dined at the classic San Francisco bistro. It's not a hotspot or overly trendy, but an old time San Francisco place with dusty rose lighting and a welcoming atmosphere. To find more out about the experience, read more.
When I spoke with Jen she was wonderfully polite and somewhat reserved. The powerful personality that was portrayed on Bravo's culinary competition was replaced with a quiet focus on the food. She explained that although Scala's is a bistro, the cuisine is mostly Italian with subtle French influences. Like most chefs in the city by the bay, Biesty's menu is based on seasonal, local ingredients.
While she did not comment on the current season of Top Chef, the chef, who is no longer romantically involved with fellow TC 4 contestant Zoi, mentioned that she's reading "a cookbook about culinary gastronomy by that famous French guy."
When my sister proudly told Biesty that her food "inspired her to be a better chef," Biesty modestly nodded, said a courteous "thanks," and turned to resume her post in the kitchen. It was clear that Biesty wanted the food to do the talking — proving that she's ready to shed her image as reality TV competitor and assume her rightful role as respected chef.
Wondering what Chef Biesty's food is like? Click on one of the images below to find out more about her unique, delicious dishes.
- The menu at Scala's Bistro.
- The menu at Scala's Bistro.
- Scala's Bistro.
- One of the superb wine's I tasted at Scala's Bistro.
- A beautiful porcelain plate at Scala's Bistro.
- The Z.D Pinot Noir.
- Bruschetta: The buttery housemade duck prosciutto highlight's Biesty's experimental creativity.
- Moules Frites: The licorice flavor of the pastis lingers on the palette while enhancing the natural brininess of the shellfish.
- Dungeness Crab: Delicate, fruity, crisp, light, flaky, crunchy, fresh — this dish is texturally perfect.
- Proscuitto Pizzetta: Taleggio, though potent, is actually mild, deliciously creamy and pairs nicely with the salty proscuitto.
- Mezzaluna Agrodolce: This thick cut pasta is stuffed with a rich mixture of cheese and lamb.
- Pappardelle: Spicy, thick, rich — this phenomenal (fresh made) pasta has the unmistakable taste of a dish that was slow cooked.
- Day Boat Scallops: Complex and intriguing, this was my favorite dish.
- Rack of Lamb: The crispy skin, tender meat and pure flavor of lamb lingers long after this dish is consumed.
- Panna Cotta: Creamy and rich with a strong vanilla flavor and intensely silky texture. The kumquats burst in the mouth.
- Chef Jen Biesty