California: A Lesson in Eating Locally

If I needed a reason to move to San Francisco, I found it this past holiday weekend. The motive? Food, of course.

It all started at Beretta for dinner on a Saturday night in the Mission District. A friend and I wanted to sample the contemporary Italian comfort food there based on a few trusted recommendations.

This eatery's use of fresh, seasonal ingredients was better than any recent dining experience I've had in a long time. A simple broccolini dish with peppers and garlic was the perfect bridge between the summer-to-fall handoff. The greens were perfectly cooked and tender while the peppers and garlic gave it a good punch but just enough — just like they taught us in school. It didn't stop there, though.

I've consumed a lot of Neopolitan pizzas in New York since it's one of the latest crazes here. None of those thin-crusted pies stood close to the one topped with spicy Italian sausage and onions I devoured at Beretta that night. The crust was perfectly crunchy, almost like a thin cracker. I'm not sure I want to eat another pizza anytime soon to spoil my memory of this one.

But a quick trip out to Yountville in Napa Valley called for more eating. I passed (gawked really) at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry but had to settle for walking through the restaurant's garden that included everything from tomatoes and egg plants to green beans and sweet corn. A friend and I ended up dining at Michael Chiarello's Bottega.

It's here that I'm convinced California's access to fresh produce is unparalleled elsewhere in the United States. An avid meat eater, I couldn't get enough vegetables. A sugar snap pea and raw sweet corn salad with almonds, a sieved egg, pecorino and a citrus vinaigrette put a big smile on my face. It tasted pure and not too dressed up. I could've converted to vegetarianism at that moment.

So I'm back in New York going through the grind but these meals have me inspired to cook with the best local ingredients. Until then, I'll keep dreaming of that perfect pizza and all that alluring produce across the country.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits