Just north of San Francisco in the wildly beautiful interim between the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito lies historic Fort Baker. This former U.S. Army post is now home to Cavallo Point, known for its world class lodging, restaurant, spa, and grounds. It is also known for its award winning Cooking School, which recently joined forces with nearby legendary independent bookstore Book Passage, known for being the “Liveliest Bookstore in the Bay Area!” Together they are launching a new culinary program aptly titled Books and Bites.Wedding books with food and wine is not something new to Book Passage. Marguerita Castanera, Director of Cooks with Books began partnering restaurants and cookbook authors about 20 years ago. “We started out working with the Island Café, which was located next door to us at the time,” Marguerita explains, “and then branched out from there, matching cookbooks with restaurants with similar culinary perspectives.”
To date Book Passage has worked with an incredibly variety of distinguished Bay Area restaurants pairing them with talented chefs. Bouchon has been paired with Thomas Keller, Greens with Mollie Katzen, Insalatas with Paula Wolfert and Ruth Reichl, Marinitas with Rick Bayless, Mario Batali with Il Fornaio, and Left Bank Larkspur with Jacques Pepin, Elizabeth Gilbert, Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, Tyler Florence, and Alton Brown, to name a few.
Needless to say, the program has been enthusiastically received and has become a cherished and important part of Book Passage and the foodie community.
Its success inspired the creation of the Books and Bites program and the resultant partnership with Cavallo Point Cooking School.
Seeing a growing trend toward, and interest in, food related literature, memoir and history Elaine Petrocelli, owner of Book Passage, along with Marguerita, saw an opportunity to feed the area’s growing interest in a new, more flexible way.
Enter Cavallo Point and Books and Bites.
“The whole idea behind the Books and Bites program,” explains Marguerita, “is to create an atmosphere in which chefs and their audience can interact in a more hands on and interactive way.”
The classroom has limited capacity seating perfectly suited to these cozier gatherings. Located on the top floor of the main Lodge, the room is bright and open, with stunning views. The kitchen has four workstations with state of the art equipment. Wooden tables run the length of the dining space creating a convivial dining experience. The whole area is about 1200sq ft. and can accommodate about 26 people.
The Cooking School relies on the abundance of local farms, artisan producers and local vineyards to guide their menus. Director of the Cooking School, chef Jayne Reichert, grew up on a farm where everything was grown fresh, procured locally, and made from scratch. She works closely with the author to develop a menu inspired by their book, as well as the season. Her flexibility of visioning new possibilities within the cooking school environment was essential to the partnering with Book Passage.
Both Marguerita and Jayne shared a desire to bring books, food, and people together in a less formal, more fun and relaxed way, allowing authors to talk, cook and dine with their culinary clientele.
Luke Barr was first to launch the program with his book, an ode to his great aunt M.F.K. Fisher, Provence, 1970. Its second function hosted the iconic Joyce Goldstein and her encyclopedic culinary history, Inside the California Food Revolution. Both events launched to sold out audiences complete with waiting lists, an auspicious beginning for Books and Bites.
Events includes dinner with the author, hands on cooking instruction, a signed copy of the featured book, all in a friendly, small class setting.
The next event is slated for June 26th and will feature BBQ guru Steven Raichlen and his book Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys. Women are allowed to attend.
For more information contact Book Passage at 415.927.0960 or to reserve online go to www.bookpassage.com