Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski have wowed the world at San Francisco's State Bird Provisions—and now they're sharing the secrets to their success
At their Michelin-starred restaurant State Bird Provisions, chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski have made dim-sum-style carts and small plates their serving format of choice to rewrite the book on adventurous, innovative cooking—a book you can now read yourself with the release of State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook. For the first time ever, Brioza and Krasinski are sharing the recipes and tips behind their restaurant that will help home cooks recreate some of the magic outside of State Bird's doors.
Recently, Brioza stopped by the Food & Wine Test Kitchen to make one of his favorites: a bowl of Clam Kimchi Stew with Pork Belly and Tofu that offers the perfect amoung of warmth for the winter. He also shared five kitchen provisions he swears by to make his beloved, boundary-pushing food.
State Bird Provisions' number one tool, says Brioza, is a variety of microplanes, which the chefs use for grating hard cheeses, ginger, garlic, jalapeños, spices, nuts and even cured eggs. He's especially a fan of this kind, which he's nicknamed "The Wood Chipper," to create shavings of cheese that, thanks to the large, staggered blades, are a unique aesthetic delight.
At home, Brioza and Krasinski use multiple donabe, Japanese clay pots. One is a steamer, used for veggies, mushrooms, meats, fish and dumplings, but the other is designed just for rice. Brioza describes how the extra thick walls and double lid keep the steam in to make "the most incredible rice"—a strong recommendation indeed.
Like many chefs, Brioza and Krasinski have their own favorite form of red pepper: the Japanese seven-pepper blend known as togarashi. They find its sweet, clean heat works wonderfully without being "vegetal sweet," and the addition of citrus rind and the numbing sansho pepper gives it "just a slight numb to it that's really beautiful."
But that's not State Bird Provisions' only peppery favorite. While not exactly a chili pepper, yuzukosho is a fermented paste made from the rind of yuzu citrus fruits, along with chili (usually serrano) that Krasinksi especially loves. "It's citrusy, a little bit spicy and kind of fermented," she says of the combination. "It just adds that je ne sais quois."
And finally, while it may not sound particularly adventurous, Brioza says that as far as incorporating new ingredients into your cooking goes, tofu is one "you can really get to know a little bit." The State Bird Provisions team loves to eat it at home in dishes like the aforementioned stew, but "if you're looking for tofu 101," Brioza says, "do something with tofu and pork belly, and it'll change your views on tofu."