Storytelling and School Lunch Nostalgia

Bud Teasley is an unassuming chef with clear blue eyes, a mild Southern demeanor, and an intricate loom-like tattoo stretched across his forearm. A Georgia bred, Charleston-trained chef, Bud helped found Boccalone, “tasty salted pig parts,” the king of salumi stands at San Francisco’s Ferry Building Farmers Market, and he caters for a mishmash of events on the side. He will sweetly whip up the most complex of meals and act like he hasn’t spent more than five minutes on them.mail1

He has. He doesn’t hesitate to incorporate labor-intensive elements to his creative dishes, such as artisan honey mustard or homemade brioche. At a recent stint at Mission Street Foods, he even created bacon-flavored caramel covered apples to adorn a salad that tempted this mostly vegetarian out of her ascetic pretenses.

So it’s no wonder that 826 Valencia was thrilled to have him cater their storytelling dinner on March 19th. The event demanded a bit of creativity. Hosted by numerous donors and led by the energetic and ever-loquacious Jory John, Storytelling for Adults was a spin on 826’s normal storytelling fieldtrips, usually presented to classes of 3rd to 5th graders on schooldays. In the adult version, tables of eager adults, softened and encouraged by the wine donated by Quivera, got to partake in their own field trip and create a group-story with a chose-your-own ending.

If you haven’t noticed, adults sometimes take a moment to warm up their creative juices. Bud faced a challenge; how to satisfy paying guests with attractive gourmet victuals while also paying homage to the nostalgia for elementary school. And so he took on the device that inevitably ruled the school day for most of us way back when: the school lunch.

Appetizers consisted of bowls made of hollowed-out grapefruit halvesGrapefruit Salads filled with fennel, grapefruit chunks, and a tasty ginger dressing. The next course was ambitious: Bud created his own version of the chicken nuggets and dribbled homemade honey mustard and crème fraîche for dipping beside them. Also on the plate was crisp macaroni and cheese casserole squares, perhaps not the most delicate of dishes but certainly gratifying. 

Gourmet chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese

For the vegetarians in the audience, Bud substituted the nuggets with his version of sloppy joe; made from seitan, slow-cooked vegetables, and seasoned with a delicious combination of spiced tomato and brown sugar, the veggie Sloppy Joe proved mouthwatering and should have been the envy of every carnivore in the room. To accompany dinner, each table also had a large bowl of simple peas and carrots, straight from the cafeteria-style.

Dessert abolished any lingering suspicion of a lack of complexity in the meal. Bud decided to de-create the ever-loved PB and J, taking the staple to a whole new level with his innovation. Starting with a handmade brioche, he then added a layer of peanut butter ice cream, topped it with a level of Welch’s grape jelly, and doused the whole thing with a thin layer of warm milk chocolate.

The story created by the end of the workshop turned out a bit weird: entitled “What We Have and Where We are Going”, it follows a depressed monkey named Ugabuga, his sidekick possum named Slick, and their arch-nemesis Goyal, a shape shifting lizard. The plot eventually devolves into a critical mass ride through the French quarter of New Orleans during Mardi Gras; schemes are hatched, instruments are stolen, and somehow outhouses are overturned. Most adults prove much less creative, open, and naturally funny than kids. But it seemed that attendees enjoyed the lighthearted ambience and stimulating group activity; the chance to be silly and get creative. Though the mood and decor inspired nostalgia for elementary school, the flavors on everyone’s palettes were definitely all grown up.

You can find out more about Boccalone on their website.

Also, check the Mission Street Food Blog for when Bud will be cooking at the England vs. Scotland dinner sometime in May. 

Bud’s (not) Recipe For Vegetarian Sloppy Joe

“I don’t have a recipe, but it went something like this:

  • 1 can whole peeled san marzano tomato 
  • 1/2 can tomato paste 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimenton de la vera) 
  • Salt and Pep TT 
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion 
  • 2 cups TVP
  • splash of soy sauce 
  • splash of crystal… or any other hot sauce 

Method: Dice onion and bell pepper. Sweat in olive oil with a pinch of salt until translucent, then add all remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for about an hour. Mixture is better if allowed to cool overnight in the fridge, then reheat. Serve on garlic onion buns.

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