Something new is cooking at The Kitchen. The 20th Street business, which offers cooking classes and hosts private parties, has a trio of new owners with a strong culinary pedigree.
Chef Richard Yoshimura and Jeramy Brown have partnered with fellow epicurean Dr. Hemmal Kothary for the next chapter in this downtown business, which was started by Darci Atkinson in 2015.
Inspired by her work as kitchen manager for the Buena Vista Edible Schoolyard — which teaches children to grow and prepare produce — Atkinson opened The Kitchen, offering hands-on classes for children and adults. The business also hosted private dinner events for groups and businesses.
When the business owner decided she wanted a break, she reached out to Brown, with whom she had worked before.
Meanwhile Kothary had been looking for a venture to partner with Brown and Yoshimura, and the three seized the opportunity.
The Kitchen will also continue to offer technique and cooking classes as well as host private parties. Like Atkinson, both Brown and Yoshimura are deeply rooted in the restaurant industry.
Yoshimura, a graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts, began his career at the Patina Restaurant Group, serving as sous chef of the pastry department, which helped cater the Emmy Awards, the Hollywood Bowl and LACMA. He later worked as pastry chef of Cafe Del Rey in Marina Del Rey, served as the opening chef of MILK in Los Angeles and most recently, the co-owner of Moo Creamery in Bakersfield.
For Brown, his passion for restaurants began as a teen while working for his grandmother at Chalet Basque. Since then, he has accrued nearly three decades of experience, serving as manager and wine buyer at McGee’s Restaurant, co-owner of Valentien Wine Bar and Restaurant, and currently the director of food and beverage at The Padre Hotel.
Brown will maintain his role at the Padre while also managing The Kitchen with Yoshimura. Jennifer Sanderson, who owned Valentien with Brown, has also been brought on as an outside consultant to help with strategic planning and marketing.
In terms of vision, the team is excited to become part of the burgeoning scene east of Chester Avenue.
"This is a good place to be, an already growing development," Brown said. "We want to be a part of that."
He also said that although they will host dinner events, they don't intend on competing with existing restaurants.
"What we're trying to do is take that spark that people already have for cooking and take it to a new place," Brown said.
He compares the experience to the difference between following a cookbook and actual instruction, which can teach you the "small, intricate steps that separate a dish from being good to great."
Yoshimura is thrilled to be able to pass on his expertise to those who might be intimidated to venture beyond simple dishes.
He said, "I want to demystify cooking, show some basic techniques — more than just recipes, techniques that will enhance your cooking abilities."
Foremost in those skills are basic knife-handling skills and learning how to approach certain ingredients.
Technique classes will be held Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Upcoming topics include soups and stews (Feb. 24), chicken three ways (March 3), fish basic techniques (April 7) and Japanese home cooking (May 19). The cost is $35 per person.
Unlike Friday dinners, which are 21 and over, the Saturday classes are open to younger chefs — with a certain level of basic skills. Before signing children up, parents should call in advance to set up a skills pre-assessment.
Dinners will be offered on Friday nights. Formerly branded as "date night," the meals are also inviting for groups of friends or family members looking for a more hands-on dining experience.
The next event on tap is a dinner event Jan. 26. The menu consists of a three-course meal of fennel citrus salad, seared salmon with lemongrass ginger broth and bok choy and butterscotch budino for dessert. Cost is $65 per person, not including tax and tip.
As the stakes are a bit higher for Valentine's Day, the menu — which will be offered the week leading up to Feb. 14 — is a four-course adventure, consisting of Champagne with lobster gougeres; asparagus avocado arugula salad; beef tenderloin with a port shallot sauce served with truffled “mac and cheese” and haricot verts with lemon dijon; and a dessert of strawberries and champagne, a strawberry sorbet meringue floating in a chilled strawberry soup spiked with champagne. The menu is $85 per person and also includes a glass of sparkling wine (additional wine will be available for purchase), and a small take-home surprise.
A scaled-down romantic lunch ($90 per couple) will also be offered on Feb. 17 for those who want to celebrate on the weekend. (For the kids, there is a cookie baking/decorating class for parents and little valentines on Feb. 10. The class is $45 for parent and child, $15 for another child, and includes lunch.)
Beyond the current schedule, which extends into May, the team is interested in finding out what people want to explore.
"It's not just dictating what we want to do with people," Yoshimura said. "We'll see what people are interested in learning."
Those interested in what The Kitchen has to offer are encouraged to come out for the February First Friday (Feb. 2). Visitors can samples some dishes, Yoshimura will host small demonstrations on the hour and Brown will discuss wine pairings. There will also be more information about upcoming classes and events, and those who sign up that night can enjoy a 20 percent discount. The fun starts at 6 p.m.
Or head out for Second Saturday on March 10, which will include treats for the kids, Irish cocktail demos and class sign-up discounts.
The Kitchen is at 1317 20th St. Visit thekitchenbakersfield.com or call 827-7811 for more information.
Show support with subs
It's starting out to be a big year for Jersey Mike's Subs franchise owners Stacy Knight and Carrie Asbury. Fresh off opening a Jersey Mike's on Allen Road on Jan. 10, they will open a new location — their fifth — on Coffee Road on Wednesday.
For its grand opening celebration, owners will offer a free sub fundraiser from Wednesday to Jan. 28 to support the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunner Scholarship Fund. The new restaurant, located at 200 Coffee Road, is circulating 5,000 coupons throughout the community offering a free regular sub for a minimum $2 contribution to the scholarship fund. Customers must have a coupon to be eligible.
Make a play for this deal
Watching the NFL Conference Championships on Sunday? No matter who you want to qualify for the Super Bowl, we can all agree we should have a good meal while doing it. Black Angus Steakhouse is serving a steakhouse bacon cheeseburger and 16-ounce Bud Light for $10 while the games air. The deal is available in the restaurant's Bullseye Bar. Sunday is also all-day happy hour at the steakhouse, offering beverage and appetizer deals from $4 to $7. Black Angus is at 3601 Rosedale Highway.
Celebrating the Classics
This week, the James Beard Foundation announced the recipients of its 2018 America's Classics award. The America's Classics award is given to restaurants that have timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food that reflects the character of their community.
Bakersfield's own Noriega Hotel received the honor in 2011.
Sun Wah in Chicago: People travel from across the city for the family-run restaurant's famed three-course Beijing duck feast (so famous that it's not even listed on the menu), carved tableside and served with duck fried rice and duck soup.
Galleria Umberto in Boston: Owners Paul and Ralph Deuterio make arancini and calzones, but the main draw is crisp-edged squares of Sicilian pizza. When the pizza runs out, the North End shop closes for the day.
Los Hernandez in Union Gap, Washington: Owner Felipe Hernandez adapted a family recipe for his hand-made tamales. Chicken and pork tamales are available year-round, but from mid-April to June, production shifts to a pepper jack and asparagus combination, which makes the most of the short-lived crop. (Forty percent of the nation's asparagus is grown in the state.)
El Guero Canelo in Tucson, Arizona:The Arizona city is the American epicenter for Sonoran hot dogs and shop owner and Sonoran, Mexico native Daniel Contreras is the leading hotdoguero. The restaurateur operates three branches in Tucson, one in Phoenix, and a bakery to supply the split-top buns.
Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans: The Vietnamese community in New Orleans dates to the end of the Vietnam War, when refugees moved to Louisiana. De Tran and Huong Tran opened one of the area’s first Vietnamese bakeries in 1982, serving banh mi sandwiches. Along with its regional cuisine, the bakery also supplies dozens of cafes and shops with thin, crackling-crust bread ideal for building the city’s iconic po'boy sandwiches.
This year's winners will be celebrated at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards Gala on May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
If you like multi-course meals with wine pairings, you're in luck this coming week.
On Thursday, the Padre Hotel is hosting a Silver Oak Wine Dinner. A five-course meal prepared by executive chef Chris Sayre will be paired with selections from Silver Oak and Twomey. On the menu are Kumamoto oysters and diver scallop ceviche, oak smoked salmon, braised lamb belly, Creek Stone Farms dry aged ribeye and chocolate espresso tiramisu.
The dinner starts at 7 p.m. in the hotel's Prospect Lounge, 1702 18th St. Admission is $135 (plus fee), including a special pour of 1997 Alexander Valley cabernet, and is available at eventbrite.com.
The Links at RiverLakes Ranch will host a DAOU Wine Dinner on Jan. 26. Wines will be poured by Brandon Shepard from the Paso Robles winery. Dinner will consist of steak Diane, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, Greek salad and fresh garlic bread. Tiramisu will be served for dessert.
Admission is $69 and includes dinner, tasting, tax and tip. The evening starts with cocktails and appetizers at 6 p.m. at the Links, 5201 Riverlakes Drive. Call 587-5465 for reservations, which are required.
New and different
Act quickly to enjoy the big menu at Outback Steakhouse, serving including the big Aussie bloom (a bloomin' onion topped with Aussie cheese fries and center-cut sirloin), an 18-ounce center-cut sirloin, ultimate great barrier combo (steamed lobster tail, two jumbo lump crab cakes and two wood-fire grilled shrimp skewers) and big chocolate cake (six-layer slice topped with chocolate drizzle, whipped cream and chocolate shavings served with raspberry sauce). ... Now through Feb. 18, Applebee's is serving a rosé 'rita cocktail. The cocktail ($10.99) starts with El Jimador Reposado, lime juice and strawberry and is then topped with Martini & Rossi sparkling rosé. Beer drinkers can opt for10-ounce drafts of Blue Moon, which the chain is offering for $2 for a limited time.