Califonia Bountiful

Mushrooms: A chef's best friend

Nov./Dec. 2010 California Country magazine

Recipes from two chefs at the Mission Beach Café.

Chef Trevor Ogden

No matter what city we live in, we all have our favorite corner restaurant—that welcoming spot where we know we'll get incredible food, friendly service and a delicious reason to come back for more. For some folks in San Francisco's Mission District, one of those restaurants is the Mission Beach Café (or "MBC" to its regulars). Small, warm and inviting, the place has a quaint, upscale café vibe to it, thanks to the men in charge.

Newly named Executive Chef Trevor Ogden has been inspired by the many cooking styles he's learned since beginning his career in the kitchen. From French, American and Japanese to Spanish, Southern soul food and New England-style seafood, he weaves traces of each into his globally influenced, seasonal, Northern California menus.

Chef Alan Carter

"I love mixing different cooking techniques and ingredients to create what I consider to be the next generation of 'California cuisine,'" he said. "I'm a creative person by nature, which is why I like to experiment with new flavors and combinations."

Ogden has teamed up with Mission Beach Café Executive Pastry Chef Alan Carter to develop a menu that incorporates fresh, flavorful fruits and vegetables into classic recipes. And mushrooms is one of their mainstays.

"Mushrooms are great," Carter said. "Their versatility makes them tasty for breakfast, lunch, dinner or in appetizers, sides and main dishes. So for a café that is open most of the day, they work out great for us."

"They really are a favorite of ours because they infuse flavor into sauces, stocks and soups," added Ogden. "It sounds cliché, but they truly are a chef's best friend."

Chefs' tips

Mission Beach Café chefs Trevor Ogden and Alan Carter offer these tips on how to make the most of your mushrooms:

  • In general, mushrooms that look fresh when you buy them will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator in their original plastic box.
  • Keep mushrooms dry. If you've brought them home in a plastic bag from the store, transfer them to a porous paper bag, which will help absorb some of the moisture that the plastic bag traps.
  • Avoid cleaning your mushrooms until you're ready to use them.
  • There is no need to peel mushrooms. The only trimming they may need is the stem end, if it's dry, or the tough stem portion of shiitakes or the root of the portabella. All other mushroom stems may be prepared along with the caps.
  • Mushrooms can be sliced thick or thin, cut in quarters or coarsely or finely chopped using a sharp knife. For slicing or chopping large quantities, use a food processor with the slicing or wing blade attachment. If a recipe calls for just caps, twist stems loose or separate them from the caps with the tip of a knife.


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