One night last December, tucked into a caramel-colored wood booth with a view of the wood-burning oven, I ate my first meal at Chez Panisse. Not only was it memorable for being my first taste of the farm-to-table restaurant that has influenced much of what I cook, it was also my first time eating with a very special group of people: six of my fellow writers for The Kitchn, most of whom I had never met in person before.
The meal had many highlights, not all of them easy to reproduce. How do you write a recipe for a perfect Fuyu persimmon served whole with a knife in a small footed copper bowl? But one stand-out dish — an unassuming plate of battered and fried rockfish with a side of gingery cabbage — I knew I could try at home.