A Way of Life, Not a Culinary Style

Chef David Lawrence, executive chef and managing partner of 1300 on Fillmore, approaches cooking as way of life. According to his website, “Truly great food has a way of transforming people’s realities…it brings them around a table to taste and laugh and share”. This philosophy was evident on Sept. 12 at Fresh Starts Chef Events, where he delighted a sold-out crowd with a variety of ‘soulful American’ dishes from his repertoire.

David Lawrence

David Lawrence

Inspired by his father and Graham Kerr of the Galloping Gourmet fame, Chef David knew from an early age he wanted to pursue a culinary career. Raised in England and of Jamaican heritage, he trained at Westminster College and apprenticed under Albert and Michael Roux, the same famous chefs under whom Gordon Ramsey trained. Chef David brought his passion, energy and unique style to America in the ’80’s and in 2007 opened 1300 on Fillmore with his wife, Monetta White.

David Lawrence

David Lawrence is chef/owner at 1300 on Fillmore

With Fresh Starts Culinary Academy students, Chef David presented a menu that started with Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk Dressing. He changed up a classic croquette recipe by using panko bread crumbs and a savory blend of fresh herbs in his Panko- and Herb-Crusted Goat Cheese Croquettes. Panzanella is traditionally a tomato and bread salad served in the summer. In his version – Cornbread Panzanella Salad – he combined tomatoes with cornbread for a southern twist.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Arugula and Herb-Crusted Goat Cheese Croquette from Chef David Lawrence with Jacella

First course from Chef David Lawrence

Featured main dishes included both an Andouille Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya and a Black Skillet-Roasted Catfish. To get the best flavor in his jambalaya, Chef uses dark chicken broth rather than light. The difference, he explains, is that dark stock is made with roasted bones.

He also shared his secret on how to best season a black skillet: cover the bottom of a hot skillet with salt, cook until the salt forms a crust and then throw out the salt. Once seasoned in this way, the pan should not be washed; wipe it with a rag after each use. Heating the pan before you use it again will kill any bacteria. And this seasoning method has one more benefit. The salt acts as a kind of ‘teflon’, creating a non-stick surface.

Rounding out the meal was a heavenly Peach Cobbler. Using fresh yellow peaches, this cobbler features a hint of cinnamon. The recipe used for the dough is the same one used for the popular biscuits served with black skillet fried chicken at 1300 on Fillmore.

Peach Cobbler from 1300 on Fillmore

Peach Cobbler for dessert!

Three wines, a 2010 Dry Riesling, a 2011 Carneros Chardonnay and a 2011 Pinot Noir were served by Jacella Wines. All three were outstanding and complimented the fare perfectly.

According to one participant, “And I can’t wait to try 1300 Fillmore! David was terrific – always engaged, and passionate about what he was doing…his enthusiasm was contagious.” We agree. — Contributed by Gary Lam with photos courtesy of Neely Wang.

Try out the delicious catfish recipe below:

Black Skillet-Roasted Catfish

Ingredients:
4 skinless catfish fillets, 6 to 8 oz. each
1 cup olive/canola oil (pre-mixed or mix your own half and half)
4 cloves sliced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
1.Combine oil, sliced garlic, chopped cilantro and smoked paprika together to make a marinade for the catfish.
2.Cover catfish with marinade and leave in refrigerator for 2 hours.
3.Heat a black skillet pan until smoking. Season catfish with salt and black pepper.  Allow excess oil to drip from the catfish, then place in hot skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side and cooked through.

Chef David plated his catish with jambalaya and cornbread panzanella salad

Catfish from 1300 on Fillmore

Black Skillet-Roasted Catfish by David Lawrence

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About Fresh Starts Chef Events

Fresh Starts Chef Events offers a parade of presentations by celebrity chefs, cookbook authors and artisan producers in The Key Room. Visit the online calendar at http://bit.ly/FSchefevents for upcoming events. Our list of presenters includes luminaries from the worlds of food, wine and restaurants who share stories, demonstrate techniques and offer tips on making the most of our local bounty. You can register online for upcoming classes or call us for more details at 415-382-3363 x243. Proceeds from our events support shelter and job-training programs at Homeward Bound of Marin; learn more at www.hbofm.org and www.thekeyroom.com.
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