Chris Cosentino - Postcard Communications and Consulting
For more information on Chris Cosentino, please contact
Olga Katsnelson | Postcard Communications
917.698.3192 | [email protected]
Executive Chef, Incanto
Co-Creator, Boccalone Salumeria
Chris Cosentino's passion for food took seed well before he ever donned chef’s whites.
Growing up in Newport, Rhode Island’s Italian-American community, he spent his time
clamming, commercial fishing, and cranking the pasta machine in his grandmother’s
kitchen, developing an early affinity for great ingredients and hard work.
Cosentino graduated from Johnson & Wales then went on to build his culinary résumé by
working at a number of notable restaurants, including Red Sage in Washington, D.C. and
Rubicon, Chez Panisse, Belon, and Redwood Park in the San Francisco Bay Area. His first
executive chef position was at Incanto, which he joined in 2002, and his innovative
interpretations of rustic Italian fare promptly earned the restaurant its first 3-star review from
the San Francisco Chronicle. Since then Cosentino has gained national acclaim as a
leading proponent of offal cookery. His approach is marked by a combination of sheer
gusto, careful research and precise technique, and stems from a belief that no parts of an
animal slaughtered for food should go to waste. From beef tendon to duck tongue to fish
spine, he has demonstrated that the “fifth quarter” offers an untapped array of flavors and
textures, proving that these “lost cuts” can make for elegant and mouthwatering dishes.
Chris has a strong commitment to sustainable principles and humanely raised meats and is
an avid researcher of ancient cooking techniques and culinary lore. His menus at Incanto
serve to uphold respected culinary traditions and socially responsible practices, yet keep
things interesting with adventurous creative meanderings.
In addition to serving as Incanto’s executive chef, Chris is co-creator of Boccalone
(www.boccalone.com), an artisanal salumeria. Additionally, his abiding passion for offal
has led him to work on the definitive cookbook on the subject, aimed at providing essential
instruction on the preparation of offal for both professional and home cooks.
Chris Cosentino’s Site: www.offalgood.com
CONTACT: Olga Katsnelson
Postcard Communications | 917.698.3192 | [email protected] | www.postcardcomm.com
Italy, By Way of the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA -- “Authentic Italian food comes from staying true to a philosophy, not just
recreating a specific dish 7,000 miles from its home”, says restaurateur Mark Pastore, describing the
culinary approach at his Noe Valley restaurant, Incanto [1550 Church Street; San Francisco, CA;
www.incanto.biz]. For Pastore and executive chef Chris Cosentino, the charms of Italian cuisine
emerge when local ingredients express the distinct personality of a locale. At Incanto, the colorful array
of all that is cultivated or raised in Northern California is presented anew in Cosentino’s innovative
interpretations of rustic Italian cooking.
Inspired by the conviviality and simple elegance of the Italian meal Mark Pastore left a successful
Silicon Valley career to open his dream neighborhood restaurant, one where every detail was thoughtout, customers were warmly greeted, and expertly prepared dishes could be had at a good value. Yet
as word has spread about Incanto, destination diners now commingle with neighborhood regulars
Pastore has found in Chris Cosentino a chef who shares his quest for culinary excellence and stops at
nothing – from tirelessly researching ancient culinary techniques to insisting that everything, including
the lauded charcuterie selection, is prepared in house – to ensure this. Pastore’s philosophical,
academic approach to dining finds the ideal foil in Cosentino’s energetic and boisterous one, and these
two personalities are the yin and yang that makes a meal at Incanto so distinct.
Incanto’s high gastronomic goals share a place with the restaurant’s strong adherence to principles of
sustainability, recognized with a Santé Culinary Hospitality Award in the “Sustainable” category
(November 2006). Water is quadruple filtered and carbonated on premises and served in reusable
carafes to avoid the waste of transporting and discarding glass bottles. Ingredients are sourced as
locally as possible with many herbs harvested from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. Incanto is
committed to reducing waste, whether through the re-use of old menus as plate liners, or the return of
boxes, plastic bags, and even twist ties to the farmers from whom they buy produce. In support of
humane and thoughtful animal husbandry, in 2005 Incanto was the first California restaurant to receive
the “Certified Humane” designation from Humane Farm Animal Care and one of the first in the Bay
Area to use cage free eggs through a campaign with the Humane Society. Indeed, the preponderance
of variety meats on the menu is inspired both by a desire to showcase the flavor and beauty of these
increasingly overlooked “lesser” cuts, while highlighting issues of compassionate omnivorism and
respect for the whole animal.
Cosentino’s enthusiasm for offal is evident in a rich and zesty appetizer of Grilled Prather Ranch beef
heart with pickled green walnut & shaved asparagus salad. Other selections from the springtime menu
include Quail in Saor, with the sweet and sour Venetian mixture of pine nuts, wine, and raisins giving a
piquant counterpoint to the buttery bird. A second course features pasatelli, a forgotten peasant food
consisting of dumplings made from leftover breadcrumbs and spices, floating in a rich broth enlivened
by young fava beans. Cosentino tames nature’s most irascible greens, wild nettles, by incorporating
them into pappardelle that get an earthy accompaniment of chiodini and maitake mushrooms. A
signature entrée, the Braised Pork Shoulder is slowly simmered with cerignola olive juice, chosen in
lieu of wine to imbue the succulent meat with herbaceous and fruity inflections, and nestled alongside
potatoes crisped in olive oil. Skate’s seductive qualities emerge in a deft preparation in which a golden
crispy crust yields to tender meat, the fish floating atop a parsley-green garlic sauce dotted with clams
and tender baby artichokes.
Two of Incanto’s new dining options include a four-course Whole Beast Dinner, in which a lamb,
suckling pig or baby goat is served to a large group, and carved tableside; and the Quarto Quinto, or
“fifth quarter” menu, comprising an inventive tasting of offal.
Incanto’s award-winning wine program, overseen by Larry Stone protégé beverage director Edward
Ruiz, features an unusual all-Italian list of 200 labels, representing the renaissance in high-quality
winemaking that has occurred throughout Italy over the past two decades. The program appeals to
both wine connoisseurs seeking to explore Italy’s lesser-known corners and novice drinkers taking their
first sips of Verdicchio, Lagrein, or Nero d’Avola. Incanto’s 20+ wines by the glass come with paper
“collars,” printed with the wine name, producer name, vintage, and varietal. In addition, there are
typically five different wine flights offered nightly, and on weekends Incanto features wine classes
taught by Ruiz.
Throughout the year, the restaurant hosts several specialty dinners. Cosentino shares his passion for
offal in an annual Head to Tail Dinner. In June the Sicilian Mattanza dinner celebrates the ancient
tuna fishing ritual with a feast created from one entire tuna. The Farmer Appreciation Dinner brings
together the local community responsible for the produce and livestock that are the cornerstones of
Incanto’s menu. The Summer Sagra Dinners take their cue from the Italian tradition of celebrating
one seasonal ingredient, giving pride of place on the menu to anything from basil to peppers to figs.
Incanto’s design reflects a collaboration between two architecture firms, Robert Sauvageau of RYS
Architects in San Francisco, and Stefano Tarchiani of Studio Technico in Florence, Italy. The décor
blends the antique and the new, the local and the far-flung to create an elegantly casual atmosphere
marked by character and warmth. Two heavy chestnut doors created in the Tuscan town of Dama open
to reveal a rotunda entrance inlaid with smoky Carrara marble. The dining room has arched ceilings
and soaring windows that look out to the bustling pedestrian traffic beyond, and there is seating for 75
at rough-hewn wooden tables designed and built in San Francisco by Tony Cowan of the Cottage Table
Company. Original 16-century liturgical manuscripts hang in archways between the dining room and
16-seat bar area. A dramatic mural by San Francisco artist Tom Morgensen of scenes from the Divine
Comedy presides over the Dante Room, which has private dining for up to 20 people. Additional
decorations include the framed full text of the Divine Comedy, marble busts of Dante and Beatrice, as
well as a floor-to-ceiling wall of wine bottles.
If the benchmark of Italian cuisine is the showcasing of gorgeous ingredients through skilled, unfussy
preparation in a welcoming setting then indeed, Incanto offers a bit of Italy by the Bay.
Boccalone Salumeria to be the Newest Addition to the San Francisco Ferry Building
Locally produced artisanal meats from the Incanto team have found the ideal retail location
San Francisco, CA -- The first retail location of Boccalone Salumeria, the artisanal salumi venture
from Chris Cosentino and Mark Pastore of Incanto, is now open at the San Francisco Ferry Building
Marketplace. Located along the main corridor of the food shoppers’ paradise, Boccalone Salumeria
features more than 20 varieties of Boccalone’s handmade cured meats. Customers can purchase
salumi sliced to order, in hot and cold panini, on a variety of salumi platters or in portable paper salumi
cones, along with a selection of condiments, apparel and gifts.
Boccalone’s 300 square-foot store is cast in a modern, clean aesthetic, its inspiration part Moto Guzzi,
part Bologna’s Tamburini. A Ferrari red vintage-style Italian slicer, seated upon a white Carrara marble
pedestal, is the centerpiece of attention. Additional visual flourishes include an eight-by-eight foot glass
refrigerator housing a variety of hanging meats including capocollo, lonza, salami, and a soon-to-beavailable Boccalone prosciutto as well as extensive natural wood finishes throughout the shop
constructed in old-growth yellow cedar, reclaimed from a dismantled pier just down the Bay from the
historic Ferry Building’s own waterfront location.
Boccalone Salumeria tempts Embarcadero lunch-goers with a changing selection of hot and cold
panini, such as Lonza with peach and mint; Pate di Campagna with butter lettuce, Boccalone mustard
and cornichons; and Salame Pepato with mozzarella, basil and roasted peppers. Additionally, olives,
breadsticks and side salads are available. In addition to the panini and aforementioned hand-held
paper cones other take-out options include picnic platters, gift boxes and airplane-friendly packages.
Boccalone items will soon be available for delivery in the downtown area, courtesy of a customdesigned bright red “salumi-cycle,” designed and built by Sycip Designs of Santa Rosa.
Boccalone’s salumi are handcrafted in small batches in Oakland, using sustainably raised heritagebreed pork and the highest-quality spices from Jing Tio’s Le Sanctuaire. Until now, a selection of
Boccalone products have been available by mail order, on select restaurant menus, in a handful of Bay
Area retail shops, and through the innovative CSA-inspired Boccalone Salumi Society. Society
members will now be able to retrieve their “sacchetti,” or boxes, at the Ferry Plaza retail location.
“We’re bringing the modern Italian salumeria to America, using locally-produced meats,” says Chris
Cosentino, “and what better place to do this than the Ferry Building Marketplace?”
Ferry Building Marketplace, Shop 21, San Francisco, CA 94111
9:00 am – 7:00 pm Mon – Fri; 8:00 am – 6:00 pm Sat; 11:00 am – 5:00 pm Sun
Boccalone’s selection of meats includes:
Cured Meats: Capocollo (cured pork shoulder), Guanciale (cured pork jowl), Lardo (cured fatback),
Pancetta (cured pork belly), Pancetta Piana (flat dry-cured pork belly), Salted Pork Liver, Brown Sugar
& Fennel Salame, Orange & Wild Fennel Salame, Soppressata di Calabria, Salame Pepato
Cooked Meats: Nduja, Ciccioli (pork terrine), Coppa di Testa (head cheese), Mortadella, Mortadella
with Black Truffles, Paté de Campagna (country style terrine), Porchetta di Testa (porchetta-style head
meat), Prosciutto Cotto, Sanguinaccio (blood sausage)
Fresh Sausage: Easton’s Breakfast Sausage, Italian Sausage, Spicy Italian Sausage
Chris Cosentino, chef of Incanto, San Francisco
It doesn’t matter how tough you are: when you slaughter a
35-pound baby goat, it’s not easy, it’s not pretty. Slaughter
is a mix of many things: love, hate, joy, disgust—you’re
horrified with yourself, but you know it needs to be done.
No words can convey the experience. Not many people
are willing to go out there and kill an animal. Did you know
I get death threats weekly? On my site, at my home…
Everyone talks about doing the right thing, being
“sustainable,” but can we really confront our food? It was
the last step: after everything else I had done, I hadn’t
slaughtered an animal. It was a key component to learning
for me—I felt like a hypocrite otherwise. It gives you an
intense understanding. www.incanto.biz
The Meat Issue, Winter 2009
MY DAY ON A PLATE: CHRIS COSENTINO
On a recent spring day we asked Chris Cosentino—the offal-loving chef behind
San Francisco!s Incanto restaurant and Boccalone Salumeria—to tell us every
single thing he ate and drank over the previous 24 hours. In the first installment of
our My Day on a Plate series, Cosentino reveals there!s more to his free-ranging,
nonstop appetite—and his cooking—than coxcombs, pig!s heads, and tripe. Fourteen
double espressos, anyone?
Incanto!s Chris Cosentino (right) and Mark Pastore examine the
wares at their Boccalone salumi factory in Oakland, California.
I have a four-year-old son, and you wake up pretty early when there!s a kid in the house. I like to start
my day with an espresso made from Blue Bottle coffee. We have a Rancilio Silvio, which is a dynamite
little machine, all stainless steel. James Freeman from Blue Bottle—our sons like to play together—set
up a proper grinder in our house yesterday, which was a birthday present from my wife.
I got to Incanto yesterday at 8:15 in the morning; we were in full-on Sunday brunch mode. I cured
Arctic char in grappa and fennel, since wild salmon isn!t available right now, so I was slicing that and
tasting away. And then there was all the other brunch stuff—the blood sausage, the Easton!s sausage,
about 30 pieces of pancetta. I was tasting everything all morning.
Did I do lunch? Not really. I eat staff meals occasionally, but for me there!s never much of a sit-downand-eat lunch. We did whole roasted lamb neck yesterday with baby fava beans, so I did eat a bunch
of those, along with some house-ground whole-wheat polenta, and then I just kept grazing all
afternoon. I knocked back about 14 double espressos, which is typical. Our coffee comes from Mr.
Espresso, a great wood-fire roaster over in Oakland. I drank lots and lots of sparkling water (we have
our own filtration system here), and I ate three hot-cross buns, which we make in-house, with
strawberry jam. And then I drank a strawberry Italian soda we make here, too. Way too much sweet
stuff–my gut hurts from all that shit!
Then I ate some ham with mint salsa, which we presented for lunch and dinner yesterday, some sliced
leg of spring lamb, and some peas with honey and a knife. You know what that is, right? It!s from the
first chapter of Winnie the Pooh:
I eat my peas with honey
I!ve done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on the knife!
We serve them at Incanto with a honeycomb. I had a bowl of those.
Finally, at 8 o!clock, I actually sat down and ate with my family. I had two glasses of Bortolomiol, a brut
Prosecco, and then I had a glass of white from Ravello on the Amalfi Coast, and I ended up having our
mint malfatti, which we serve with beef brasato—beef braised with tomato, red wine, and mint stems.
You fold the mint into it at the end. People don!t know this, but mint is the number-one-used herb in Italy.
My son made the malfatti with Hector, my prep guy. He wanted to eat what he made. What else did I
have? Not much. Oh, I had an Anchor Steam.
I didn!t get home so late last night, maybe around 10:30. Sunday is usually my family day, but I pulled a
good 14 at the restaurant. I had another beer when I got home, a Lagunitas IPA. I!ve stopped eating
anything super late at night. I!m going to do a 60-mile ride on my bike next week, so I!ve been trying to
get back into shape.
So what did I have this morning? More Blue Bottle coffee, but this time it was from the new grinder.
Pretty great. Then I took my son to school, and came to work. I!m always the first cut on our focaccia,
so I had that. And two more espressos. And since I!ve been on the phone with you, I!ve tasted pickling
liquid, lamb fat, and two kinds of crostini, and I!ve had a lavender-brittle-and-chocolate cookie. Manfred
here called me fat and that!s why I had to let out my girdle. That!s also why you can!t hear me half the
time we!re talking. I!m always chewing.
As told to Mark Rozzo
Photograph by Craig Lee/San Francisco Chronicle
A Guide to New Food Sites
March 12, 2009
By PERVAIZ SHALLWANI
With the economy in a tailspin, many people are turning to the comfort of food -- not to mention
the cost-saving advantages of home cooking -- and the Web as an eating resource.
The number of visitors to the top 35 food sites in December grew 14% percent from a year ago,
while the number of people who visited the Internet as a whole increased just 4% in the same
time period, according to comScore, an Internet data provider.
Likewise, the number of food Web sites is increasing. According to Hitwise, another online data
provider, more than 300 food and beverage sites have launched in the past year.
Allrecipes.com and the Food Network's Web site, which both launched in 1997, are the overall
top-trafficked food sites. Here are a few of the newer ones, all launched in the past year or so,
that have caught our eye:
A Chef's Favorite Food Sites
Head-to-tail cooking guru Chris Cosentino, who champions using all
parts of an animal, is an avid reader of food news on the Web. He's the
executive chef at San Francisco's Incanto restaurant, and blogs about
his own creations at www.offalgood.com. Here are five of his favorite
Ideas in Food: People will probably find this kind of ironic because it's
the polar opposite of what I do. [Ideas in Food's Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot
are known for cooking with modern techniques and ingredients.] But at the same time
they have sound practices. A lot of chefs I know go to this site to look things up.
Curious Cook: It gives you a direct link to the genius himself [Harold McGee, a food
chemist and author of "On Food and Cooking"]. You can send Harold an e-mail and he
will respond to you. Everybody looks up to Harold, but who knew you could contact him
and he would write back?
Serious Eats: It has very serious content and then some fun stuff. They have a good
staff that finds a ton of stuff that shows there is an obscure side to food.
Eater: It's the gossip hound of the industry. They tell you what's opening and what deals
are happening [in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco].
River Cottage: That is the sh--. It has bunch of great information. [Chef Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall] has great videos and posters that I hang up for my cooks to learn from. He
owns a farm, he lives on it. He is the real deal.
944: DO YOU HAVE A CULINARY
CHRIS COSENTINO: If you’re willing to
1550 CHURCH STREET, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
kill it, be willing to eat all of it.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST MENTOR?
I was fortunate to spend time
FERRY BUILDING MARKETPLACE SHOP #21
with Jean-Louis Palladin before
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
he died. Without using a single
diagram, Palladin taught me
how to slaughter a pig. It was
Executive Chef Chris Cosentino
an amazing conversation about
of Incanto climbed aboard the
how to take an animal from farm
offal train long before guts went
to plate in a way that respected
glam. (Offal is the entrails and
tradition and the animal itself.
internal organs of a butchered
WHAT’S THE MOST BIZARRE FOOD YOU’VE
animal.) In fact, he is currently
working on a cookbook on that
Balut. It’s a fertilized egg with a
very subject. At Incanto, he
nearly developed embryo inside
features offal on his daily menu,
that is boiled and eaten in the
as well as in an annual “Head to
shell. It’s a Phillipino delicacy.
Tail Dinner.” A chance encounter
with the legendary Chef JeanLouis Palladin led to a friendship
that lasted until Palladin’s death.
Cosentino credits Palladin for
passing along his respect for
animals in their entirety — from
delicious tip to tasty tail.
READER ’S CHOICE
944 ASKED IT’S DOT.COM VISITORS TO NOMINATE
THEIR FAVORITE HOMETOWN CHEFS. HERE ARE SOME
FOOD! June 12, 2009
The Concierge | A Gift for the Host
By CHRISTINE MUHLKE
Christine Muhlke, T Magazine!s food editor and de facto concierge, is at your service.
Have a dining or imbibing quandary for her? Leave your question in the comments section below.
Our foodie friends have invited us to their country house this weekend. What treats can
we bring them to show them how grateful we are for getting us out of the city? We can spend
about $50. — L.E.S.
Lucky you! Trust me: they"ll be happy if you just show up with a decent bottle of wine and offer
to do the dishes.
If you"re willing to brave the food route, think about things your friends can"t always get on
weekends: good bread, snobby chocolate, crazy cheese. Show up with a big loaf of Balthazar"s pain
de seigle and some extra-creamy Lescure butter from Murray"s Cheese and they"ll be happy for
months. (The country bread, if cut into quarters and double-wrapped in plastic, will keep frozen for
ages.) For a spicy snack, you can also pick up Boccalone!s Nduja, a kind of spreadable
salami that!s great on toast.