Happy Pride! Celebrate Local LGBT Chefs

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gay prideHappy Pride! The Gay High Holy Days—or week, or month, depending on your stamina and affinity for dance music, tank tops, rainbow balloons, sign-waving, marches, guys in banana thongs, and standing in line, endlessly, for tickets, beer, and/or bathrooms—are coming to their sunny, sweaty close today. Time to get off the Blue Angel-martini-and-popcorn diet and put those silver latex shorts back in the closet, at least til the Folsom Street Fair.

Or that’s how it might be in other cities, where Pride comes around but once a year. Here in our lovely fog-bound burg, though, we can be prideful every day, even if we still-still!-can’t get married in City Hall.

But there is something particularly fabulous in seeing the typical straight-to-gay ratio of just about everything upended this month. I still remember walking into 2223 Market one night near the end of June last year, and feeling like everyone there was gay. Gay couples, gay friends, gay parents–it was just like being in the straight world, except this time it was all ours.

Naming all the LGBT chefs and business owners who have made the SF food scene what it is would turn this column into a faygelah version of Adam Sandler’s Hannukah Song, but still, let’s raise a glass to Traci des Jardins, for running a fancypants place in Hayes Valley and a taqueria with a conscience, and never turning down the chance to help out a good cause; to bad boy Jeremiah Tower, for making Stars sparkle; to Elizabeth Faulkner and her partner Sabrina Riddle, for giving the dyke food mafia an official clubhouse, first at Citizen Cake, now at Orson; and to food photographer Frankie Frankeny, because she shoots what we want to eat, and finds a way to sneak her daschunds into every shoot.

And let’s not forget a toast to vinologist Pamela Busch, of the late Hayes and Vine and the current Cav Wine Bar, and to Absinthe’s Jamie Lauren and her Top Chef Team Rainbow, for making “hot chef” replace “folk singer” as the default lesbian occupation. Also heating up the room is Gialina pizza diva Sharon Ardiana, turning Glen Park into Naples, and Celia Sack of Omnivore Books, for bringing us cookbook-browsing perfection with nary a 30-Minute-Meal or celebrity diet in sight, just up the street from the ever-charming Lovejoy’s Teahouse, run by Muna Nash and Gillian Briley. Were we getting married, we might just drag pastry chef Yigit Pura of Taste Catering out to Iowa with us, just so we could show that corn-fed state just how divine his chocolate-hazelnut daquoise with passion fruit filling wedding cakes can be.

And thank you Rainbow Grocery, for letting us shop for veggie dogs on the 4th of July but closing for Pride Sunday, so your collective members can be out and proud rather than stuck restocking the spirulina. Even Food Not Bombs gets into the spirit now, serving up free eats (in tuxedo shirts and fake mustaches) at their mobile Chez Gay Cafe in Dolores Park before the Trans March. We’re here, we’re queer, let’s eat!

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Category: bay area, Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, chefs, holidays and traditions, local food businesses, restaurants, bars, cafes, san francisco

About the Author ()

Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen is a longtime local food writer, author, and cook. Her books include The Art of Vintage Cocktails (Egg & Dart Press), World of Doughnuts (Egg & Dart Press); Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food (Williams Sonoma); Honey from Flower to Table (Chronicle Books) and The Astrology Cookbook: A Cosmic Guide to Feasts of Love (Manic D Press). She has studied organic farming at UCSC and holds a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. She does frequent cooking demonstrations at local farmers’ markets and has taught food writing at Media Alliance in San Francisco and the Continuing Education program at Stanford University. She has been the lead restaurant critic for the San Francisco Bay Guardian as well as for San Francisco magazine. She has been an assistant chef at the Headlands Center for the Arts, an artists' residency program located in the Marin Headlands, and a production cook at the Marin Sun Farms Cafe in Pt Reyes Station. After some 20 years in San Francisco interspersed with stints in Oakland, Santa Cruz, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, she recently moved to Sonoma county but still writes in San Francisco several days a week.