The Daily Meal caught up with chef Jay Abrams to learn about how his travels have influenced his work. Abrams is the chef de cuisine at Presidio Social Club in San Francisco and has worked in several kitchens in and around the city including Brix Restaurant in Napa and Trace in San Francisco. At Presidio Social Club, Abrams' menu seeks to serve a "classic Northern California vibe" with a locally sourced and seasonal menu.
The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Jay Abrams: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. More specifically Petit Saint Vincent. It is an island down near South America, with 22 cabins and a main house in the middle. Meals are served only three times a day or you can have it brought to your cabin. There are a few ladies that come in each day by boat from other islands. They bring what they are going to cook for the day: fruit straight from trees, fish only from the sea and caught only that day, Callalloo soup (made with leaves from a plant similar to amaranth made into a soup — it's unreal), fresh conch, rice that I cannot explain. It was slow food at its best. Things don't get fresher than that. All the flavors speak for themselves... which is unique because a lot of these ingredients you don't really see very often, and if you do they certainly are not this fresh.
TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
JA: I have two little ivory spoons from Kenya. I hardly ever use them but they are great for scooping caviar and other small items.
TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
JA: China. There are so many different areas with such different flavors and so many different styles. I am only used to American Chinese, and the few things that Ray (Presidio Social Club founding chef Ray Tang) has made me. Everyone I have ever talked to said that China is the place to go to eat.