Chef Ari Weiswasser and his wife Erinn Benzinger-Weiswasser opened their restaurant Glenn Ellen Star in the small town of Glen Ellen nestled in the Sonoma Valley wine region of California. Ari has worked at the New York Restaurant Daniel, Picholine and Paul Liebrandt’s restaurant Corton, where he served as Chef de Cuisine. After moving to California, Ari worked at The French Laundry restaurant in Yountville before opening his establishment. Inspired by local, seasonal ingredients, Chef Ari marries California ingredients with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Glen Ellen Star resembles a quaint farmhouse that invokes the rural and rustic feeling of the California wine country. This charming restaurant has an inviting, neighborhood-friendly feel that consistently exceeds expectations. Food & Wine magazine named Ari it’s 2015 “The Peoples Best New Chef” for California.
Glen Ellen Star is open for dinner Sunday – Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Why do you prefer dry beans?
Bean quality cost, flexibility, etc. They lend great flavor and we can capitalize on those flavors once the beans may not be the best of the season.
How do you use dry beans?
Soups, salads, main dishes, etc. We feature them prominently in many of our dishes.
How did you become a chef?
I worked in restaurants growing up and then went to college to study business. However, I made the change to attend culinary school following graduation to fulfill a life long dream of becoming a chef.
Culinary school or apprentice?
Culinary School – Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY
What do you love about cooking?
I love going to the farmer’s market to see what’s the best of the season and being able to use it on my menu that night.
What is your favorite recipe that is made using dry beans?
I make a BBQ Baked Bean dish featuring delicious pinto beans from Rancho Gordo to accompany the BBQ and smoked meats from our catering trailer. (see recipe below)
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BBQ Baked Beans
Chef Ari Weiswasser
Glen Ellen Star
- 400g Bacon Diced, Rendered
- 2 Onion Diced, Sweat
- 700g Beans, Add To Above
- 1 liter Chicken Stock
- 1 liter Water
- 75g Molasses
- 20g Salt
- 5g Pepper
- 10g Coleman’s Mustard Powder
- 200g Ketchup
- 75g Worchestershire
- 60g Brown Sugar
Soak beans overnight
Render bacon, set aside
Sweat onions, set aside
Add beans, chicken stock, water, bacon and onions and bring to up to a simmer.
Combine remaining ingredients and bake for 4 hours at 325 degrees or in a slow cooker.
Cooking tip from Chef Ari:
Add a pinch baking soda while cooking. Canneries use it to help keep the beans from bursting during the cooking process.