Nespresso Grand Chef Rendezvous

When I started this blog eight months ago, it was far from my wildest dreams that it would open up the opportunities that presented itself to me on Friday. I have to say I’m still in a daze.

Let me back track a bit. I was sitting on the subway in New York, heading to JFK so I can catch a flight back home when I opened my e-mail and saw that I was being asked to attend an intimate dinner hosted by the CEO and President of Nespresso USA. The event would feature a six-course meal created by a collection of the world’s top chefs.

Um, yes please! I replied back and we spent the next few weeks getting everything together.

I got in the car a little bit after seven and made it just in time to snag a few hors d’oeuvres before dinner started.


The reception was held in the outside foyer of San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building. It was the perfect place to host the event because Nespresso is actually a partner of America’s Cup and the official sponsor of Emirates Team New Zealand.


This is where I started to learn a little more about Nespresso and I gathered some fun facts I wanted to share with you!

They started the company over 25 years ago in Switzerland and has grown to become one of the most well known manufactures in the world. Their goal was to create the perfect cup of Espresso coffee by using a combination of quality Grands Crus coffee, stylish machines and exceptional customer service. They even use the best percolator for their brews to get the best results ever, some others rather drink the Best Coffee Pods Australia offers and i think you might want to try them.

I can’t remember what each of the appetizers were exactly, but just know that they were amazing and really made me eager to start the dinner cooked by the chefs.



And then my life changed. I got to meet Chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Per Se, ad hoc and Bouchon Bistro and Bakery. He is every foodie’s idol and the only American chef to obtain 2 three-Michelin-stars simultaneously (I’ll toot his horn for him).

I asked him if he would hate me forever if we took a picture together and he was incredibly charming about it. Swoon.


Still floating on clouds, I headed up to the main hall where the dinner was being held. Nespresso did an amazing job arranging the night and I appreciated the meticulous attention they placed to each and every little detail. It was something out of a movie, seriously.


My heart also sings to our live entertainment! They did an amazing job throughout the night playing live jazz and set the mood perfectly.


The night began with an introduction about Nespresso and the event.

The host opened with a great saying, “Without a story, a shark remains a fish. Without a story, Nespresso remains a good coffee”. The chefs combined hold 11 Michelin stars and took part of the ‘Nespresso Chef Academy’, where they mastered the subtleties of each Grand Cru (coffee) and learn about the continued quest for excellence that Nespresso is defined by.

Each chef used coffee some way in their recipes and it was fun trying to pinpoint where the taste was coming from in each dish, but for this they use quality grade coffee , the best from Corporate Coffee Systems that you can find online.

Before we dive into each course, I also wanted to give a great thanks to our Master Sommelier, Andrea Robinson (winner of three James Beard Awards!). Her pairings were so perfect and I couldn’t imagine sipping anything else with the flawless food. Also, she managed to have all the wine come from Napa Valley. So proud to be a Californian!

1. Our first plate was prepared by Chef Marc Forgione of Marc Forgione. He is an Iron Chef and the youngest American Chef/Owner to win consecutive Michelin stars.

Alex’s Swordfish

with Fennel Kraut, Grain Mustard, Nespresso Rosabaya de Columbia, Wild Juniper Smoke

paired with Domaine Carneros Cuvee de la Pompadour Brut Rose Sparkling, Napa Valley NV


Throughout each course, the chefs took a stand and explained their thought process behind each dish.


His inspiration came while he was eating pastrami on rye in NYC. I thought it was interesting because that’s where my mind took me when I bit into the kraut. The Brut brought out the coffee grinds that were in the swordfish’s crust.

Chef Forgione mentioned he loved being apart of Nespresso‘s team because he often uses coffee while cooking.

(**I also wanted to say sorry for the quality of the pictures! The lighting in the room, as intimate as it was, was not the best for taking pictures. I tried to get official pictures e-mailed to me before my post went up but it doesn’t look like it will happen! I will try to update if I can get them in the next few days!) 🙂


As you guys may know, I am not the biggest fan of seafood. However, the swordfish was absolutely phenomenal. If all seafood tasted like this I would have to change sides!

2. Next up was a treat from Josh Emett of Rata in New Zealand. Chef Emett is a MasterChef NZ judge and worked many years alongside Gordon Ramsay.

Seared Venison Loin

with Black Grapes with Nespresso Arpeggio, Celariac, Enoki Mushroom

paired with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon ‘SLV’, Napa Valley 1993


Chef Emett served the venison in a carpaccio style. With his restaurant in New Zealand and Nespresso being the official sponsor of NZ’s team, it only came naturally that he chose venison as his dish for the evening. The grapes were cooked with the Arpeggio coffee that had a certain sweetness then dry taste, which created the perfect earthly palate.

3. The third dish came was designed by Chef Yannick All´eno who runs the kitchen at Le 1947. His mission for the past 25 years has been to reinvent traditional dishes in surprising ways.

Butternut Squash

Flavored with Vanilla and Nespresso Indriya from India, Rye Bread Mousse

paired with Grgich Hills Paris Cuvee Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2010


This dish was a nice sweet intermission from the savory flavors of the first two dishes. He says this dish reminds him of a female, light but complex.

4. Coming in fourth was Thomas Keller, the owner/chef of French Laundry, and this popular Bakery. He is the only American-born chef to hold more than one three star ratings by the Michelin Guide. He was also designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of honor in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the traditions of French cuisine and his role in elevating cooking in America.

Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobsters

with Black Mission Figs, Cipollini Onions and Nespresso Rosabaya de Colombia Chocolate Sauce

paired with Saintsbury Brown Ranch Pinot Noir, Los Carneros-Napa Valley 2005



Chef Keller was extremely humbling, he expressed huge gratitude for the chefs and sous chefs downstairs. The coffee in the chocolate sauce balanced the acidity and the fruit blended well with the figs.

I never thought I would eat lobster and chocolate at the same time, but it worked so well together. He mentioned that this was originally a recipe at The French Laundry many years ago.

5. The penultimate course was prepared by Chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur. His restaurant is located in the French riviera and he’s known for his creative gastronomic cuisines that blend with the best of Mediterranean cooking.

Slow-Cooked Pigeon

with Nespresso Crealto Limited Edition Polenta and Coconut Sauce

paired with Trefethen Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley 2010


This dish was quite the chatter of the night. They raised over 200 hundred pigeons in Northern California for this event and it had to be prepared in such a way that it was brought to the table at the perfect temperate. Magnifique!

6. Last but not least was Chef Michelle Bernstein of Michys. She serves haute cuisine with Latin touches.

Chocolate Chorizo Cremeux

with Cherry-Pedro Ximenez- Nespresso Decaffeinato Intenso Sauce and TCHO Cocoa Nib-Nespresso Ristretto Streusel

paired with Prager Family Royal Escort ‘Port’, Napa Valley 2009



This desert was INCREDIBLE. If I thought lobster and chocolate was unique, then chorizo and chocolate mousse is another category. The chorizo was based on he Latina side and the sauce was derived from fresh pluots grown here in San Francisco. If Chef Bernstein intended the night to finish with a bang, she should give herself a pat on the back because that’s exactly what happened! I couldn’t get enough.

With the dinner ending after midnight, the chefs all came together for a round of applause. It was surreal to be surrounded by so much talent.


The after party offered coffee for all the guests and Nespresso even organized a light show with the Bay Bridge! How cool is that? I managed to take a picture on my way home at a red light.


Breaking Bad is about to come on, so I wanted to give Nespresso another big big thank you for this wonderful opportunity! I hold it close to my heart.

Already have my eye on the Gran Maestra, time to start pinching pennies. 🙂

**Nespreso provided me the dinner, all opinions are proudly my own.

Which dish would you be the most excited to try? Do you have a Nespresso machine? What did you think about Breaking Bad last night?

A Rare Day Off

Sidenote: I noticed how much I have been eating out, so I put together a Restaurants page in the menu. Check it out!

This past Saturday has been very productive (read: expensive). I usually never have a Saturday off, which means I haven’t had the chance to experience the Ferry Plaza’s Farmers Market in the Embarcadero.


Abby and I really got lucky with the weather, it was forecasted to rain but all we got was blue skies and sun! We got there around 10:30a and started our shopping and browsing at the knick-knack section. These flattened alcohol bottles caught my eye and we ended up buying 3 of them for $20. I have no idea what what I’m going to do with mine, or where I will place it; I somehow always manage to impulse buy. Which one do you think I bought? Hint: It’s green!


After dabbling around at the other booths, we walked to the proper Farmers Market in front of the Ferry Building.


The first booth was selling these beautiful tulips. I was going back and forth between picking up a bunch, but decided against it. Abby bought some in a really pretty coral/salmon color.



These colorful bunches of Swiss Chard grabbed my attention, and the price wasn’t too bad either! I bought a head of Swiss Chard and Kale for $2 each. I also bought a pound of Brussel Sprouts for $5 from another vendor.


We were already hungry, so we headed into the Ferry Building in search of something to eat. This trumpet playing boy had so much character! He was wooing the crowd with his dancing.



There wasn’t that many sit down restaurants, but I did spot this mushroom stand. I love mushrooms, so I definitely appreciated all the different ones available. I will come back for the Chanterelles when I have a chance.


Brunch on a Saturday in San Francisco is a dangerous game to play. Everywhere that is worth it or popular has a 40+ minute wait, so it’s hard to make a decision. Based on a friend’s recommendation, we tried out Olea in Nob Hill.


Olea boasts it’s use of local, fresh produce and sustainable meat and I think it really shows in the menu. Yelp’s general consensus was to try the french toast, so we obliged. Their “french toast” is made with challah custard toast, with korintji cinnamon sugar that’s topped with fresh Mc Ginnis Farms apples. It was absolutely divine, possibly the best french toast I ever had.


We also shared the migas con huevos: soft scrambled eggs with roasted pork tenderloin, tortilla chips, swiss chard and a drizzle of pepper/peanuts sauce and sesame seeds with a side of crostini. I found the sauce to be very interesting, more sweet then I thought it would be.


After filling up, we walked across the street to Trader Joe’s and stocked up for the week. These veggies/fruits are included in my stable diet, and I usually buy these every week.


The meats and pasta I get once in a blue moon. The ground beef was for Sunday dinner and I have plans for a eggs and sausage breakfast sometime this week. I also like to get one frozen pizza for my lazy dinner, and add mushrooms or sausages to spice it up.


The blogging world seems to have an obsession with sunflower butter, so I grabbed one to try.


These are the veggies I purchased at the Farmer’s Market (forgot to include the brussel sprouts). I also grabbed a jar of almond butter, it’s going to taste so good on my rice cakes; I can already imagine it.



I finished unpacking around 3:30p, and just relaxed the rest of the day after a short nap. Chi had to work all night, so I stayed home and watched a movie. Now I’m off to find a tasty recipe on how to cook my brussel sprouts. Any suggestions? 🙂

What are your weekly food staples? Are you a peanut butter or almond butter lover?