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Chef Alejandro Abad by Robert Barbutti Photography

After more than 17 years of accomplished culinary experience, Chef Alejandro Abad was recently named Executive Chef at Bay 223. Chef Abad, a Spanish native from Barcelona, began at an early age by preparing meals at home with his father. He fine-tuned his culinary experience training in molecular cuisine, learned wines and spices and worked fine dining establishments throughout Europe, including five years in Barcelona, and Michelin-rated Restaurant Christophe and Restaurant Vermeer, in Holland.

His mantra is a single word: fresh. And the location here is so very conducive to “ fresh.” Enjoying a recent dinner at Bay 223 we wanted to know learn more. Here in part is Luxe Beat Magazine’s interview with this busy executive chef and one of his best lavender recipes.

CT: Chef Abad as  executive chef what is your vision for the restaurant Bay 223 ? And your inspiration behind the menu?

Chef Abad: “My vision for this restaurant is not greater than the vision of the all the dedicated ambassadors of this hotel. My goal is to reach our guests and community with honest, well made and delicious food. All of us work hard to become worthy ambassadors of the French culture and it is the perfect blend with the quality of products you can find in the Bay Area.

The new menu is based on the change of season. Autumn is for food romantics, like me, the season has the best products for cooking, the sweet roots, the aromatic mushrooms, the glorious truffles, and the seafood in particular, One of my favorites this autumn is the rich flavors of the lobster bisque.”

CT: One last question. We love the idea of combining French and Northern California flavors. Will you elaborate on how you marry the two in the menu?

‘To pair Californian cuisine and French cuisine is the fundamental ideology of the French Gastronomy. Including some of the best of SF Bay’s rich wines into our recipes, organic produce and local cheese can easily elevate the experience. I love to incorporate the grill technique with organic vegetables, along with the freshest local seafood and salmon pairing, and goat cheese are the perfect marriage. Utilizing the best products this region has to offer with French techniques to create a simple dishes with very sophisticated flavors.“

Executive Chef Abad has generously provided his Bay 223’s Lavender and Herbes de Provence Crusted Lamb Chops recipe for you. Served in a rosemary-truffle sauce with root vegetable quinoa, this dish blends seasonal ingredients with the aromas and flavors of France by utilizing lavender. C’est magnifique!CTsofitellavlamb-300x225

Lavender and Herbes de Provence Crusted Lamb Chops

(with rosemary-truffle sauce and root vegetable quinoa)

Serves: 4

Executive Chef Alejandro Abad, Bay 223 at Sofitel San Francisco Bay

Crusted Lamb Rack

4- 10 oz Sonoma Rambouillet rack of Lamb French cut

2 oz Herbes de Provence

1 oz fresh chopped lavender

4 oz bread crumbs

7 oz unsalted butter

A pinch of salt and pepper

1 garlic clove whole

1 spring of thyme and rosemary
1. Preheat an oven at 360 F
2. Rinse the rack of lamb and trim some of the excess fat. Rinse, pat dry
3. Heat a heavy bottom skillet with some olive oil, add thyme rosemary and garlic
4. Sear the rack at high temperature, eventually remove the garlic and herbs to avoid burning, let cool a few minutes

4 oz bread crumbs

7 oz unsalted butter

A pinch of salt and pepper

1 garlic clove whole

1 spring of thyme and rosemary
1. Preheat an oven at 360 F
2. Rinse the rack of lamb and trim some of the excess fat. Rinse, pat dry
3. Heat a heavy bottom skillet with some olive oil, add thyme rosemary and garlic
4. Sear the rack at high temperature, eventually remove the garlic and herbs to avoid burning, let cool a few minutes

5. In a separate bowl, mix the Herbes de Provence, lavender, butter, bread crumbs salt and pepper until a fondant texture
6. Place the paste on the loin at the rack. Bake for approx. 15 minutes for a medium rare temperature. Let cool for two minutes before cutting.

Herb Quinoa

1 lb quinoa

½ bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ bunch of chives chopped

4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

2 bay leaf

2 springs of thyme

1 lb toy box carrots cooked

1 lb organic parsnip

7 oz organic baby turnip
1. Bring water to boil with salt. Add thyme and bay leaves. Pour in quinoa and cook until tender. Drain.
2. In another pot, cook the carrots, parsnip and turnip in salted water until tender
3. In a hot skillet sauté the vegetables, add the quinoa, parsley, chives and season to taste.

Truffle Rosemary Sauce

1 qt DEMI GLACE (a beef and red wine sauce base that can be purchased at market or specialty store)

4 oz chopped carrots

8 oz chopped yellow onions

4 oz chopped celery

1 garlic clove

1 litter Sonoma red wine

2 bay leaf

2 black peppercorns

1 bunch of rosemary

3 tablespoons of white truffle oil

1. In a heavy bottom pot caramelize the onions, carrots, celery and garlic.

2. Pour in red wine, add rosemary and reduce by 2/3.

3. Add the demi-glace sauce and reduce by 1/2.

4. Pass through a sieve and add the white Truffle oil.

To plate, slice and divide the rack between four dinner plates. Serve with the quinoa on the plate or on the side. Spoon Truffle Sauce on the meat and some on the plate. Top with sprigs of fresh lavender and serve immediately