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O Rolls On

By Stett Holbrook

RESTAURANT O is on the move. The popular Campbell restaurant closes the doors of its Winchester Boulevard location on Oct. 30 to concentrate on the opening of a second location sometime next year. Where that will be is something of a secret. Sources will only say it's in the "San Jose area." While the Campbell location is closed, Restaurant O executive chef JUSTIN PEREZ will focus on his expanding catering business. The Campbell location will become office spaces for Perez' culinary ventures, but private dining will be available by reservation.

Top Toques

Meanwhile, Perez joins three other South Bay chefs as inductees into the INTERNATIONAL WHO'S WHO OF CHEFS. In addition to Restaurant O's Perez, VALDET JAKUBOVIC of MARIANI'S INN AND RESTAURANT in Santa Clara and ARVIND BHARGAVA of Sunnyvale's TURMERIK RESTAURANT were selected for the culinary honor.

The three chefs are among almost 3,000 of the best chefs from 70 countries selected for induction into the 2004-2005 edition.

Kuleto Change-Up

KULETO'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT in Los Gatos has named DANIEL PATINO executive chef. Patino has created a new menu that features seasonal, soulful Italian fare. The menu includes many of his signature dishes: dummer vegetable salad of organic baby carrots, haricots verts, roasted peppers and lemon oil; pizza puttanesca of roasted tomato sauce, black olives, Spanish white anchovies, parsley and parmesan; bucatini amatriciana of guanciale (cured pork jowl), onions, roasted tomatoes, chile oil and pecorino romano; and seared ahi with a porcini mushroom and onion sauce, fennel, crispy potatoes and lemon arugula.

Before signing on to Kuleto's, Patino, 30, was executive chef at D'ASARO TRATTORIA in Redwood City. He also worked at STARS RESTAURANT in San Francisco and Seattle under celebrated chef CHRIS FERNANDEZ.

Kuleto's is located in the HOTEL LOS GATOS across from Los Gatos High School. The 144-seat restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating, an exhibition kitchen and a mahogany bar.

Culinary Jobs Are Cooking

Times may be tough for computer programmers, but California's culinary job market is hot. According to the California Projections of Employment, published by the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department, the number of cooks and chefs in California is estimated to reach 106,300 by 2005, an increase in new jobs of 31,120 over the number there were 12 years ago.

The CALIFORNIA CULINARY ACADEMY is one of the main training grounds for new chefs and as evidence of its growth, the school is adding a new 100,000-square-foot campus in the city's Potrero Hill neighborhood this fall.

Baking With Satan

AMUSINGLY enough, it's not the actual flavor of pumpkin that we connect with "pumpkin taste"—it's pumpkin seasonings, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. (Call it the Starbucks Pumpkin Latte Principle, as there's no way in hell to make a latte with puréed squash.) If you want real pumpkin flavor, go buy yourself a nice cheese pumpkin, scoop it out, roast it and make it into a (subtly seasoned) soup or risotto.

If you want nostalgia, however, raid the spice rack. My mom obtained a version of this recipe in the early '80s from a can of Libby's Pumpkin. It yields dozens of gigantic, soft, round cookies that we'd dot with leering candy-corn faces. You can freeze half of the dough, if you like.

Satanic Pumpkin Cookies

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 15-oz. can pumpkin or 2 scant cups puréed cooked pumpkin
2 1/3 c. quick or old-fashioned oats
1 1/3 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/3 c. raisins

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs; beat in the vanilla and pumpkin.

Stir in the flour mixture, then the oats, then nuts and raisins (the dough will be very sticky). Chill overnight or freeze for a few hours, just to firm up the dough.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Drop dough onto greased baking sheets and flatten slightly into circles. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until slightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to cooling racks. Decorate as desired. You can use that shit in a tube from the grocery store, but I'll always be partial to candy corn.

Sara Bir

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From the October 27-November 2, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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