Chef’s Cart, San Francisco, CA
Photo via Chef’s Cart
We had the pleasure to connect with Chef Ali Hooke on IG Live to hear how she is supporting restaurant supply chains and connecting her experience to at-home cooks in San Francisco, California with Chef’s Cart. Ali, along with two other Bay Area chefs, created Chef’s Cart in response to the current climate, which is a contact-less, seasonal produce delivery service. They use their experience in sourcing to provide a combination of high-quality, California-grown fruit and vegetables from their favorite farmers paired with new weekly recipes, as well as locally-sourced sourdough bread, eggs, handmade pasta and other rotating products. Thank you, Ali, for sharing your ideas with us!
Here are a few of Ali’s tips:
- Use olive oil for finishing to add depth and appeal in both flavor AND in photos.
Beyond adding fresh flavor, olive oil catches light and adds shine in particular to herbs and meats, making a finished dish look more appealing.
- Choose substitutions for ingredients based on the core attributes and function in a dish.
Ali shared the recipe for a stand-by salad that typically relies on peak summer produce: corn and tomatoes. She found perfect substitutions in using strawberries in place of the tomato (adding sweetness and a bit of acid) and radish in place of corn (for texture).
- Talk to the farmers at your local market for inspiration about what's in season, and what's tasting best right now.
Ali prioritizes the freshness of ingredients and collaborates closely with local farmers at the market to get the inside scoop on what to feature each week.
- Keep ingredients in a dish or recipe simple, focus more on the quality of those ingredients and the preparation.
Ali emphasized that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated — finding the freshest ingredients and using smart pairings will let natural flavors and qualities shine. Check out Chef’s Cart and some of Ali’s weekly recipes here!
Watch the full interview for even more inspiration and actionable ideas.