Ex-Gather Sous Chef Rolls Out Boffo Cart
We spotted Boffo Cart at the weekly farmers' market at Emeryville's City Hall (Thu., noon-7 p.m.). The tent, named after a 1940s superlative, was selling salads, piadini, panini, and calzones. We ordered the latter ($6) and received something the size of a kid's softball mitt stuffed with chard, caramelized onions, and wild mushrooms. Though the dough looked underdone, it turned out to be an ideal combo of crisp and soft.
The venture is the brainchild of Rhasaan Fernandez, a 15-year restaurant veteran who has been an executive chef for Frank Lloyd Wright resorts, commis at Sonoma's Santi Taverna, and most recently opening sous chef at Berkeley's Gather. He's currently revamping the menu at Sam's Log Cabin, a road house in Albany built in 1939, with house-cured meats and local produce.
"Boffo Cart is all about simple, organic, approachable, real food," said Fernandez. "It is all about full disclosure: the customer sees the cook put the dough on the board, roll it, stuff it, and then onto the grill it goes. I use the best ingredients I can find. I get the best seasonal organic vegetables at the farmers markets then take them back to the restaurant and cook and preserve them for the next market. In this season I make sauerkraut, Bosc pear mostarda, pickles, brandied spiced plums, and all kinds of jams."