Select Recipes from the San Diego Jewish Food Festival

Saffron Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Baby Artichokes by Chef Jeffrey Strauss

Chef Jeffrey Strauss Ingredients

  • 2 tbls butter
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 finely diced small onion
  • 3 cloves finely diced garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 tbls butter to finish
  • 2 tbls white truffle oil to finish (avail at specialty markets)
  • Salt and pepper to season
Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy bottom pan. Sweat onions until transparent, and then add Arborio rice. Toast rice in pan by stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add stock (only a little at a time) while constantly stirring. Continue until the rice is just about done, then add cheese and butter. Salt and pepper to taste.

Finish with white truffle oil.


Fold in your mushrooms and artichoke before adding the cheese and the finishing butter.

Prepare mushrooms and artichokes ahead of time.


Use any combo of mushrooms. For the demo, we used Shitake, Oyster and Crimini Mushrooms. Clean and sauté w. brandy and a little salt and pepper. Set aside.


Peel and julienne artichokes. Sauté w. butter and olive oil. Add a splash of white wine. Cook until tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Jeffrey Strauss, Owner/Executive Chef at Pamplemousse Grill

Chef/Owner Jeffrey Strauss has a flair for presentation and an unquestionable talent for taste that has delighted the palates of the world's most powerful business brokers, socialites, United States Presidents and both American and foreign dignitaries. He has turned from the world of "Chef to the Stars" to creating food that's more personal and serving his family and friends.

East Coast-bred, Strauss was among the nine out of 800 applicants to receive a Culinary Apprenticeship at the Greenbriar Hotel Culinary Education Program in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia where he earned the Gold Medal for Culinary Showmanship.

At age 23, Strauss became the executive chef of the Glorious Café in Washington D.C. His patience and perseverance allowed Glorious Café to begin strongly and quickly gain respect throughout the Beltway. Shortly after, he was persuaded to relocate to New York City to join Glorious Food's legendary catering operation.

It is in New York where Jeff met what he describes as his 'professional father,' Chef Jean-Claude Nedelec at Glorious Food, New York City's preeminent caterer. "Jean-Claude taught me the power and art of food presentation", Strauss recalls. Jeff continues by adding that the renowned Chef Roger Verge at Le Moulin de Mougins and Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in London "taught me the beauty of food."

Throughout his nine years at Glorious Food (1985-1993), Strauss took leaves of absence to concentrate on higher learning in some of Europe's finest Michelin-rated restaurants. Upon his return, armed with big and fresh ideas, Jeffrey applied many of the newly acquired creative techniques by teaching the staff at Glorious Food what he had learned. The culture of sharing knowledge and inspiration at Glorious Food is one of the reason's that the highly regarded catering company has maintained a competitive advantage for such a long period of time.

Strauss spent a year with chef Albert, serving as saucier and chef tourant of the latter's Michelin 3 Star-rated restaurant. To enhance the young chef's knowledge, Chef Albert arranged two-week observational stays for his protégé in such renowned restaurants as Marchesi in Italy, and France's acclaimed Charcuterie Matu, Restaurant Guy Savoy, Vonnas-George Blanc, Restaurant Troisgros and Restaurant Bocuse.

Strauss' eclectic inspirations for Pamplemousse Grille are drawn from the New Jersey farm of his grandparents, where he visited frequently as a child. He brought these inspirations to the prime Solana Beach location of the restaurant, just moments from the Pacific Ocean, across the street from the Del Mar Racetrack and down the road from acclaimed produce farms, nature preserves and polo grounds.

When he opened Pamplemousse Grille in 1996, Strauss made a personal statement with the casual yet elegant atmosphere, and inspired yet straightforward food that delights all the senses. His menu at Pamplemousse Grille melds his many creations and inspirations from his tenure as Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef at Glorious Food, and his many travels to Europe.

In 2008 Jeffrey was honored to accept the 2008 'Nice Guy of the Year' award from the very generous San Diego charitable foundation known as the 'Nice Guys'. This organization's focus is to empower struggling local families. This honor has been one of his more meaningful achievements due to its profound effect on the community he calls home.

Since its debut, Pamplemousse Grille has received many local and national awards including: "Best Restaurant, People's Choice" San Diego Home & Gardens, "Best New Restaurant" "Best Caterer" and "San Diego's Best Chef" San Diego Magazine, Zagat Rated #1 Restaurant in San Diego for three consecutive years.

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