We have developed a little bit of ritual for late spring here in San Francisco. Warmer weather brings fresh herbs, which in turn brings on the Wash House. Essentially just a basil gimlet, this little green monster has grown a cult following I am quite proud of.
Well, there has been some other fancy basil stuff going also. Danny Bowien, a young local cook I know from late-night at my bar, was in Genoa last month working out in some bakeries and kitchens with the the Chef from his restaurant Farina. As he related to me last night, he sort of inadvertently got entered in the World Pesto Championship along with his boss and 313 other Pestoiolos (yeah, I just made that word up) from around the world. Against all odds, the kid won! Our boy Danny is the World Pesto Champion for the next 2 years!
All the chefs were supplied with the same 5 ingredients (basil, pecorino, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil) in mortars and pestles. This made the contest one of pure technique rather than creativity or flash which is the best kind if you ask me. I am not sure if Danny made it, but I did have a handkerchief pasta in pesto at Farina a few weeks ago and it was tremendous. Pretty cool.