Last night, chef Joshua Skenes learned the limits of the new open hearth he has for cooking on the patio of the recently remodeled Saison (2124 Folsom). During a special “fire dinner” featuring guest chef Jeremy Fox, Fox got the fire roaring to the point that a ten-foot-wide shower of sparks started shooting out of the chimney and set off an alarm at the building next door. “Six firemen stormed in with axes,” Skenes tells Grub Street. “It was kind of awesome.” Wine director Mark Bright said, “The first guy came up to the door [of the back patio], and we’re expecting him to ask for our permits, but he just looked in at the hearth and goes, ‘Wow. Cool.’” [Ed Note: They have the proper permits.] Ultimately, they had to tame the fire down a bit.
The meal, nevertheless, came off without a hitch. OpEdible caught a pic of the SFFD outside the restaurant and posted it on Twitter, and Feast has a photo slideshow of the whole meal, which despite their description was actually a collaborative effort between Fox and Skenes.
Fox declined to confirm (or deny) a rumor that his upcoming restaurant venture will be in Napa, but says he has a “few things in the works” and nothing is certain just yet. He did say, though, that cooking with Josh was “the most fun I’ve had since I cooked with Stuart Brioza… one of those magical nights when where things fall into place organically, not forced.”
And in a semi-celebrity sidenote: In attendance at the last seating of the night, sitting at a counter seat in front of the hearth, was Alice Waters’s daughter Fanny Singer, age 26, who chatted with Skenes about her recent time in England and about the roots of wood-fired cooking vis-a-vis Chez Panisse.
Earlier: Joshua Skenes, ‘Modern-Day Forager’ [Grub Street]
Breaking: Jeremy Fox Quits Plum Project, Opening His Own Place Instead [Grub Street]
Take a Look Inside (and Outside) Saison, Reopening Today [Grub Street]