Chef Luca Crestanelli was born and raised in Verona, Italy where he received his Gastronomy and Culinary Arts degree. He came to the United States in 2002 to work under renowned Chef Nicola Mastronardi at Vincenti in Brentwood. He then worked as a private chef until 2010, when he began his collaboration with the Gordon family, owners of Brentwood’s famed Toscana (and now partners in S.Y. Kitchen). Together they launched Bar Toscana, with Crestanelli as executive chef, creating an inspired menu for a restaurant/bar concept to complement their innovative craft cocktail and wine program.
When Crestanelli later learned about an old farmhouse/restaurant that was available in downtown Santa Ynez, he pitched the Gordon’s with the idea of a rustic restaurant infusing Italian style with a rural sensibility, using products from local fisherman, ranchers, farmers and vintners. Already residents of Santa Ynez, they enthusiastically embraced the idea and partnered with him to create S.Y. Kitchen, which opened in 2013 to rave reviews.
CRISPY POACHED EGG With Cheese Fondue, Red Endive, Green Onion and Asparagus. Serves 1.
For fried egg
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups canola oil for frying
1 red endive, thinly sliced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
3 spears asparagus
2 oz. Teleggio
2 oz. Gorgonzola
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons milk
Maldon salt to finish
Clean, trim and blanch asparagus. Set aside.
Poach one egg, making sure that the yolk is soft and whites are just set. Remove from poaching water and chill in ice bath. Reserve.
Whisk remaining egg in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Place bread crumbs in a small plate or bowl. Place flour in a second small plate or bowl. Gently coat poached egg with flour, then dip into the egg mixture and coat with breadcrumbs.
Place sliced onion and endive in a mixing bowl; season to taste with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Arrange a bain-marie or double boiler on the stove with water in lower section. Place Teleggio and Gorgonzola cheeses in upper section; add milk and cream. Heat on medium and cook until cheeses melt; stir regularly to blend together. Keep warm on low heat.
Place canola oil in a saucepan and heat to medium high. When hot, gently add battered poached egg and fry just until golden brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel to remove excess oil. In another sauté pan, gently roast asparagus with some olive oil for a minute until heated through. Remove and cut diagonally into 2–3” pieces.
To plate, spoon hot cheese onto a serving plate. Place egg over the fondue and arrange endive salad around the side of the egg. Finish with roasted asparagus tips as desired and a sprinkling of Maldon salt on the egg before serving.
This story was originally published in the spring 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.