Stephen Gibbs

I've been in and around the food industry since I was 16. I left it briefly to become a millionaire; after striking out at that dream I came back home to the kitchen. My first kitchen job was at a hotel on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach making meatballs and washing dishes. The following summer I graduated to working a raw bar on the inlet where I shucked oysters and cleaned fish for the smoker. Before diving back into the pool of stock pots I went to Hollywood to be discovered as an actor; was kind of discovered but then got lost quickly. I'm part of an interactive cooking business called Hands On Gourmet where our Chefs cook side by side with guests. I also write the H.O.G. blog. I've been a professional cook in the Bay Area for the past 15 years. My back and feet hurt on a regular basis but I still smile when I cook or dream about food. I'm a big believer in narrowing the food divide by patient kind education and not being cynical. I'm less into the politics of food and more into culture. I'm fascinated by the economics, practicality and the sociology of cuisine. I eat still Fritos and an occasional chili dog, and not just on a road trip. I have absolutely no guilt. In my life I have a wonderful father, brilliant sister, magnificent girlfriend and a mischievous cat; and I now contribute to Bay Area Bites! Life is pretty great!

Two Unique Yet Familiar Holiday Side Dishes

Here we are again, the holidays… gastronomy’s ultimate do over time of the year. Everyone’s getting fired up about brining birds, smoking hogs, roasting vegetables, buttering breads and sampling sweets. But it’s the same old tired stuff as last year… and the year before that. So you might be asking the question “What can I do to change it up a bit...add some sass to the meal without everyone screaming foul?” How about making a few changes to your side dishes. Here are two easy-to-make dishes that will add unique yet familiar flavors to the holiday meal.

Slow Roasted Strawberry Milkshake with Crushed Malt Balls

Like clockwork, as local strawberries start to trickle in, so do the slew of seasonal recipes that appear in print and in tons of blogs. Timeless dishes such as trifle, shortcakes, pie, creams and custards consume the majority of the recipes indexes. Yes, of course, they all have merit and nothing beats a perfectly ripe strawberry, but what drives my imagination as a cook is coming up with something new and innovative. This concoction came to my mind while recently looking over an image for a strawberry milkshake.