Brendy, a graduate of the Hotel and Restaurant Management Program at City College of San Francisco, has a professional background that includes a stint as executive chef for the Cliff House Restaurant, a San Francisco main attraction. He also worked with some of the Bay Area’s well-known chefs including Chef Robert Lam of Butterfly and Chef Thomas Ricci of Lapis in San Francisco and superstar chef Michael Mina’s restaurant Arcadia in San Jose. Left Bank restaurants, including branches in Larkspur, Walnut Creek and San Jose, have mainly French chefs running their kitchens, so I asked Brendy how he landed as chef de cuisine in this very French establishment.
Brendy said, “Well, eight years ago when I moved to the South Bay, I wanted to work closer to home. My co-worker at the San Francisco Cliff House, Sebastian, told me to contact Chef Joël Guillon (culinary director of Left Bank) who was at that time looking for a sous chef. So I contacted him and did a ‘tasting and stage’ [the equivalent of an audition for chefs]. Then they rated me and loved my food, as well as my experiences where I’ve worked.”
The rest is a true story of success. With the guidance of Master Chefs Joël and Roland, Brendy eventually eased into becoming executive chef for Left Bank in Menlo Park.
What makes this job special? The use of local organic farms to bring the best seasonal ingredients available and the focus on Southern French cuisine, that’s what. Brendy also has the opportunity to go beyond the standard French bistro fare and include his own dishes that feature Provencal flavors with California influences.
What advice can Brendy give to aspiring chefs? “Always love what you do and your team no matter what, work hard, do not give up and always pray to our Lord Jesus Christ for help when you need it. Have faith. Soon you'll be rewarded and you'll be amazed!” he said.
What’s amazing in this scenario can only happen in the San Francisco Bay Area: a French dinner menu with touches of flavors that Brendy had grown up with in his own homeland. How many times do we get to experience Filipino cuisine in a French restaurant? That’s definitely Positively Filipino, and Positively French!
Manzel Delacruz is a freelance writer living in San Francisco.
Seared Maple Leaf Farm Duck
Recipe from Brendy Monsada
Ingredients (per individual serving)
Seared Maple leaf farm Duck Breast 1 for each person
Fresh cherry compote 2 oz.
Roasted nectarine wedges 5 pieces
Chicory lettuce 2 oz.
Rocket Arugula 1 oz
Mache lettuce 2 oz.
Volcanic sea salt 1/4 tsp.
Sherry vinaigrette 1 oz.
Duck demi glaze 1 tsp.
On a hot pan, sear duck breast skin side first until crispy for about 3-4 minutes. Then flip on the side and cook for 2 minutes for medium rare. Set aside and let sit for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, cook nectarine wedges in the pan for 1 minute and place in a mixing bowl to cool with mache lettuce, chicory lettuce, and arugula then dress with sherry vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste, and toss. On an oval dinner plate arrange salad mix, five pieces of sliced duck breast and place in center of the plate. Place cherry compote then the sliced duck breast. Drizzle sliced duck with duck demi glaze on the center part and sprinkle with volcanic sea salt.
Left Bank Brasserie on 635 Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park will be hosting a Filipino Franco Dinner with a 3-course prix fixe menu served family style ($45 per person) on July 24, 2014. For reservations, please call (650) 473-6543.
Left Bank Menlo Park
Filipino Franco Dinner
Thursday, July 24th, 2014
3-course prix fixe, hosted “family style”
45.00 per person
Kalamansi Juice and Pineapple Juice
pineapple juice marinated pork belly and pork tenderloin, sweet chili sauce, pickled papaya salad
chicken drummette casserole cooked in soy sauce, sugar cane vinegar, garlic, onions
traditional stir fried noodles, snow peas, soy kalamansi, carrots, celery, green onions
served with garlic steamed rice
slow braised beef short ribs, chef’s special kaldereta spice mix, sweet peas, red pearl onions, bell peppers, pineapple, savory tomato and peanut sauce
deep fried grouper, heirloom tomato salsa, ginger, cilantro, sweet soy and sugar cane vinaigrette dipping sauce
tamarind spiced braised pork in consommé, taro root, Asian long beans, okra, daikon radish, baby bok choy
baked sweet rice, caramelized coconut sauce, roasted coconut flakes, latik
mixed sweetened fruits and vegetables, crushed ice, colored pearls, purple ube yam and buko salad ice cream