This month we are thrilled to partner with the team at Outerlands, a restaurant in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, to celebrate the launch of our new Open Kitchen collection. Outerlands is known for its menu of seasonal food and rustic dishes and the strong sense of community created by the space — it’s no surprise the restaurant has become a legend among locals. Read our interviews with the owners, chefs and experts behind Outerlands and try their original recipes here.
As the pastry chef at Outerlands, Brooke Mosley builds the restaurant’s innovative dessert menu, all while remaining true to their philosophy of sustainable, local food and maintaining a casual, inviting atmosphere. Here, we ask her all about her approach to cooking, as well as her favorite dishes to make at home and her best tips for entertaining.
What is your food/cooking philosophy?
Process: When I go to create new menu items, I wipe the slate clean and pick an ingredient I want to use, then just write down everything I can think of that complements the flavor until I’m dry. At this point, I pick four or so flavors and then determine technique and texture. Test. Taste. Tweak. Repeat.
Philosophy: Don’t be anyone else. Be true to yourself. Don’t cut corners. Work with integrity. Respect the food. There is always a way. Find a balance: on your plate and in your life…
The food? Thoughtful. Real. Unpretentious, yet still extraordinary. Unfussy, yet still precise. There is finesse is in everything, but it feels effortless. I love how surprised guests get sometimes, because the vibe is so cozy and relaxed and comfortable. You’d expect short ribs and polenta based on the dining room, and then you get the best meal you’ve eaten in recent history. Brett is the real deal, and Dave and Lana set such an amazingly warm tone. It’s anomalous, and I’m lucky to be a part of it.
What I love the most, though, is that I can be 100% myself for the first time in my career and feel 100% supported for the first time in my career. It inspires me and motivates me every single day.
What is your approach to entertaining? Any strategies you swear by?
I’m a planner by nature and by trade. I like to be organized and set myself up for success in much the same manner and philosophy as I would at work. But once the groceries are purchased and the flowers are in the vases and the wine is chilling or breathing? I pour a glass for myself and I don’t stress. I like to be a relaxed host who can actually enjoy the party. Also, let someone else do the dishes.
What makes a great dinner party?
Wine! No, seriously: being relaxed and making things you love to make. Getting your guests involved, by way of DIY cocktail stations or by serving items that can be garnished many different ways, or in keeping with a theme. For example, a Spanish theme with tapas, paella and sangria, or having a chili cook-off for the Super Bowl. Anything that doesn’t have the guests just waiting to be served.
What are your favorite desserts to make for a crowd?
Oh man. Doughnut Sandwich Bar. Again, getting the guests involved. Providing them with a blank canvas of a perfect brioche doughnut, with anything from compote to creams to fried chicken to put inside that puppy — glazes, sugars, etc. I’ve also done the same with Belgian waffles.
For a crowd being served? I love to make bread pudding with Dave’s levain. The sweet and sour thing going on with the bread alone requires the tiniest amount of effort to taste out-of-this-world amazing. I recently prepared this, pairing it with poached pears, pecan pralines and spiced n’ spiked apple cider…winner!
Aw. I love good eaters. I tend to gravitate towards people who love to share food and try anything. I find pastry chefs are all like this! And there are a few ladies I used to eat with in Los Angeles regularly who I wish were here to consume this city with me!
In a dinner party setting, I love to cook for friends and family alike. I love to be able to feed my parents when I can, and I love to cook for my brother’s family when I’m home so my sister-in-law can breathe for a minute! I’ve enjoyed many dinners with Brett and Hailee since working at Outerlands… eating soulmates!
What are some of your go-to dinner party dishes?
I love themes…Mexican, Italian, Indian. Meatballs — I’m not kidding! For larger groups, I love to make lasagne. Enchiladas and a taco bar. Roasted vegetable salads — I find that things that can be a) made in advance and b) served at room temperature are KEY. A thoughtful relish tray. Shrimp cocktail! Oysters. Meats and cheeses.
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