Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Sri of Taj Campton PlaceThereís something wonderful about traveling through a farmers market with a chef. You can almost see the little gears ticking as they make their way through the produce stands making decisions for that nightís menu. A few weeks ago, I got that chance at the farmers market held each Saturday morning at the Ferry Building in San Francisco (already a great hub for artisanal products) with Chef Srijith Gopinathan (left) of the Taj Campton Place San Francisco. Chef Sri hit at least a dozen stands for everything from baby beets to stone fruit. Some of the lessons learned: greens that will be used raw need to be more perfect looking than those that will be cooked, and borage flowers make a beautiful edible garnish.

Chef Sriís Campton Place Restaurant recently received a Michelin star and itís easy to see why -- the farm-fresh food is expertly prepared and the service is impeccable. Not to mention civilized: The meal starts with Master Sommelier Richard Dean coming by the table with a cart filled with a choice of four types of champagne as an aperitif. The spring tasting menu we enjoyed brought to life everything weíd seen at the market, including a baby beet salad with fennel ice, Andante Dairy goat cheese and lemon-infused olive oil; maine lobster butter poached with coconut curry, green peas and cilantro; sous-vide Angus beef with wild morels, cippolini onions and petit bok-choi; and caramelized chocolate cake with yogurt, pear and blood orange sorbet.

But the highlight (at least for me) was an amuse-bouche made with apple, avocado and arugula, not flavors I would think of putting together but blended in a way that was simply amazing, with each sip bringing out the best flavors of each. Chef Sri was kind enough to share the recipe. Now, many of you may not have N2O chargers and syphons (I know I donít) but Iím sure itís just as tasty as a gazpacho-style cold soup. Enjoy!

Apple, Avocado and Arugula Amuse

Arugula from Ferry Building Farmers Market By Chef Sri Gopinathan

Yield Ė1/2 liter

1 medium-sized ripe avocado
1 Granny Smith apple
small hand full Arugula
1 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
Apple juice - as required
Salt/pepper - to taste†
lemon juice optional
N2O syphon
N2O chargers- 2 ea


Peel and slice the avocado, slice the unpeeled apples. Blend first four ingredients together with required amount of apple juice to bring to a gazpacho soup consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice if you like more acidity.

*pour the finished apple soup into a† syphon and charge it with 2 each N2o chargers, chill it enough and dispense it out into glasses.