Chef John Gurnee has recently been appointed as Chef de Cuisine for LB Steak in Menlo Park, California. Now 35 years old, the path to his career now was not a simple walk in the park. Born and raised in Sacramento, his love for the culinary arts sparked in the holidays at his grandmother’s house, where he assisted his mother in the kitchen. This early exposure to cooking translated into his passion of finding innovative ways to use quality ingredients and efficiently manage people of the restaurant industry.
He graduated with honors from the California Culinary Academy, and began his career with stints at Jianna and Campton Place, two highly regarded chef-driven restaurants in San Francisco. He then returned to Sacramento and worked with local culinary icon Kurt Spataro and Sammy Chu before joining the acclaimed chef Philip Wang in opening the restaurant Mason’s, where he then became the Executive Chef. He went back to San Francisco to work with Tyler Florence at his flagship restaurant Wayfare Tavern before finally joining the LB Steak team.
We asked Chef Gurnee about his principle in working in the kitchen setting, he responds by saying it is important to have, “a passion for finding innovative ways to use quality ingredients and for the energy of the people who and places that comprise the restaurant industry.”
Today, Chef Gurnee will be sharing his simple yet very enticing recipe for “Roasted Delicata Squash and Persimmon Salad” with spice-whipped Mascarpone, smoked raisin puree, and toasted pepitas.
Roasted Delicata Squash and Persimmon Salad
1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
½ tsp ground Allspice
½ tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp fresh Orange Zest
1 piece Delicata Squash
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 oz fresh squeezed Lemon juice
1 oz fresh squeezed Lemon juice
1 oz toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
1 Chocolate of Hyaicha Persimmon
1 Fuyu Persimmon
1 cup Champagne Vinegar
2 oz Water
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Chile Flake
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp granulated Sugar
1 tbsp Corn Starch
6 oz of your favorite Pale Ale
2 cups raisins
2 cups white wine
1 Tbsp Smoked Olive Oil
1 oz toasted Pepitas
Assorted garden greens, herbs and flowers
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1. For Mascarpone, place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip until the cheese is light and airy.
2. To start Persimmons, first prepare the pickling liquid. Place vinegar, water, salt, sugar and spices in a small sauce pan and bring to boil then remove from heat.
3. Thinly slice the Fuyu persimmon into discs using a mandolin.
4. Cut the other fruit into wedges, approximately 6 pieces and remove seeds. Place cut fruit in a shallow dish and pour pickle liquid over them. Set aside.
5. For Raisin puree, place raisins and wine in a saucepan and gently reduce over medium heat until 50% of the liquid is gone. Pour into a blender, add smoked olive oil and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and refrigerate.
6. Cut squash into finger thick cross sections. Whisk together oil, sugar, lemon juice and seasonings and marinate in a shallow container for 20 minutes. This could also be done ahead and left over night.
7. Remove squash from container and place on a lined baking sheet. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until just cooked through.
8. In a clean mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, sugar and corn starch. Slowly whisk in beer. Mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon.
9. Drain the wedges of persimmons and dust with flour. Dip into beer batter and fry in 350 degree oil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil and season with salt.
10. To plate, smear cheese across the plate and top with squash and fried persimmons.
11. Toss greens and herbs with vinaigrette, sea salt and pepper and scatter around the plate. Spoon small drops of raisin puree over the dish.
12. Place remaining pickled persimmon slices around the dish. Finish by sprinkling toasted pepitas and flowers over the dish. Enjoy!
LB Steak is located at 898 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025.
Hours of Operation
Sunday & Monday 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Tuesday – Thursday 4:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday & Saturday 4:00pm – 11:00pm
Everyday from 4:00pm – 6:30pm