The San Francisco Diet

Top Chef Alum Jen Biesty Breaks Her Carb Fast, Falls Hard for a Pistachio Truffle

Jennifer Biesty has been the executive chef at Scala’s Bistro since 2008, after Top Chef season 4 had aired (on which she appeared alongside two other S.F. chefs, Ryan Scott and her then girlfriend Zoi Antonitsas) and she left her post at Coco500. This winter she’s been on an actual diet, so when we asked her to submit her San Francisco Diet for Grub Street, we figured it would include a lot of protein shakes. And it does! But she also breaks her carb fast once or twice, and occasionally she has a beer or two at the Homestead in the Mission. Tell us the rest of your food diary, Jen.

Thursday, March 10
I started off my day with a good work out, which included an eight-mile run. After that, my girlfriend Sara and I went to lunch. We hit up Lotus Garden, one of our favorite spots. We shared BBQ pork rolls and I also had a spicy beef and chicken pho. I broke my carb fast with this meal. It was my first time eating carbs in more than two weeks. Sigh. Off to work.

I tasted/ate while cooking, and ended up eating some of these braised beef cheek. It’s cooked in red wine, chili and chocolate, and delicious. I also ate half of one of the carrots that it was in the braise. For lunch, I ate a double green salad. It’s a standard lunch for me at work. I use Star Route greens, and throw in some Cara Cara oranges and pomegranates. That was it for the day. Went to bed when I got home.

Friday, March 11
I drank half a pot of coffee at home and also made a whey protein shake. This was Day One of my protein shake diet. Then I headed into work.

I had my standard protein salad for lunch. This time it was with a small piece of wild stripped bass, and a quarter of an avocado. Oh yeah, there were Cara Cara oranges in there again, and I also had a handful of olives.

My dinner was a small piece of grilled beef filet, and I also ate four stalks of blanched asparagus. Spring is in the air! I made a pit stop at the Homestead bar and had two Amstel lights with some friends before heading home.

Saturday, March 12
It was a friend’s 40th birthday in Bolinas, so I had the weekend off!
Sara and I woke up, had a pot of coffee at home and packed up the car and got ready to head out of town.

We made a pit stop first and had lunch at Nopalito. It was so good! We had the totopos con chili — they’re basically like chilaquiles without the egg. We also had some ceviche, and the grapefruit and orange salad. I think I’m mildly obsessed with Cara Cara oranges right now, they’re so sweet and so good! We also had the machaca de camaron con huevo, and Micheladas (one each). And of course those fried chick peas, so good.

We headed out of town after that. We got to this gorgeous house on the beach in Bolinas, and started hanging out with everyone and bbq’ing. The night before, I had prepared some braised ribs, and sous vided a tri-pepper-crusted filet mignon. I also made a poblano, cabbage, celeriac slaw with cilantro, rice vinegar, lime, and oil. It was really good. I ate lots of BBQ ribs, filet, slaw and potato salad. Had to wash it down with something…had some whiskey and wine. I ended the night with birthday cake and Miller Lights. Needless to say, we stayed the night there and did not drive home.

Sunday, March 13
We woke up, had some coffee, and headed into town. We went to a cute little spot, I think it was called Coast Café. I had some fish tacos made with local rock cod, black beans and avocado. I needed a little Hair of the Dog, and had a Boone Amber.
Then we headed back to the house and took a quick nap. We got up and went for a short hike in the rain after that.

Then the group decided to head to dinner. We went to the Olema Tavern, and started off with a ton of Drake’s Bay oysters. So good. I had an asparagus and egg salad, and then some cioppino. It was really good cioppino. I had wine with my dinner.
We headed back to the beach house after that and hit the hot tub with some whiskey and ginger ale. I passed out after that.

Monday, March 14
We drove home early in the morning—oh, after some coffee.
We made a stop at the Dipsea Café, right there off Highway 1. I had a Reuben sandwich and Diet Coke. Not very exciting.

We got take out that night, from Spicy Bite, an Indian restaurant nearby. We had tandoori chicken, gobi aloo and an eggplant dish. I had tea and water with dinner—time to rehydrate.

Tuesday, March 15
Back to work. Started the morning off with a protein shake at home, and a quick stop at Dynamo Donuts for coffee on my way in.

I had family meal for lunch—which today was a Mexican braised chicken with black beans. I also had broccoli with mine. Oh. And some salsa. Casa de Scala’s salsa. I went to the gym after work, and just had some mint tea when I got home. Went to bed hungry. I was too tired to eat.

Wednesday, March 16
Protein shake at home (noticing a trend here?) and then headed to work.
I had a veggie bowl at work, which I made up and included spigarello (flowering kale tops), roasted cauliflower and Calabrian chilies.

Then all day, as I was walking into the walk-in, I kept seeing this one chocolate pistachio truffle that was sitting there. It was just staring at me, begging to be eaten. Our pastry chef Tim Nugent had made it…and so finally I ate it. I couldn’t help myself and it was so good.

My snack included two Arkansas apples and half a pineapple. I went to the gym after work, and then had a head of broccoli and half a bunch of asparagus that I cooked with a little bit of this yuzu chili sauce. I watched Top Chef All-Stars (and had two gin and tonics while watching) and then headed to bed!

Top Chef Alum Jen Biesty Breaks Her Carb Fast, Falls Hard for a