Che Fico, the big new Italian restaurant coming to the Little Star block of Divisadero (834-838 Divis) that we recently got an update on, is still probably six months off, at least. But this week you can sample some of the talents of chef David Nayfield, who's been biding his time prior to the restaurant's debut running a pop-up in the Roosevelt Tamale Parlor space on 24th Street with pastry chef Angela Pinkerton, called Mission D&A. Nayfield is the first in a new series of guest chefs who'll be breaking up the usual menu selections at popular premade-meal delivery app Sprig.
Both Nayfield and Pinkerton have some high-end culinary backgrounds, both coming from the kitchen at Eleven Madison Park in New York and Nayfield having worked at Nobu as well. Nayfield recently toured around Italy doing research for the Che Fico menu, and he says some of the dishes he found, including a classic scaloppine, informed the simple, homestyle dishes that made it into the trio you'll find on the Sprig app through Sunday, July 10. Also, he said, they're inspired by the healthier-style staff meals he and Angela tried to bring into the repertoire at Eleven Madison Park, saying, "Family meal is usually just some rich, fatty casserole of leftovers or, if you're lucky, fried chicken." And he says he tried to add more vegetables to the staff's diet whenever possible.
The dishes are: a farro salad with grilled broccolini, grilled radicchio, marinated beets, castelvetrano olives, and a dijon red wine vinaigrette; lemon-mustard chicken, scaloppine-style, served room temperature with a sun-dried tomato yogurt, arugula, watermelon radish, and shaved parmesan; and chili-rubbed pork loin served with olive oil-poached fennel, sweet and sour grilled apples, rutabaga puree, and a yellow raisin caper relish.
Sprig CEO Gagan Biyani says he was inspired to found the company after working in tech for a years, never having time to find healthy food options or make them for himself, and saying, "I looked in the mirror one day and realized I had to stop making bad food choices and find an easier way to eat healthy."
Sprig previously tried out the guest chef idea in 2014 and early 2015, starting with a wild, sellout night when they debuted a menu from State Bird Provisions chef Stuart Brioza and served over 10,000 dinners in just a couple hours. That was followed by meals created by Bar Tartine's Cortney Burns and Nick Balla, and a trio of dishes last spring by SPQR chef Matt Accarrino.
Biyani says the company's R&D kitchen already has a repertoire of 1400 recipes, has been trying mix up menu options as they've sensed some customer fatigue in their feedback in recent months. "The hardest thing about this business is figuring out what people are going to want when," he says, explaining that they know from their first couple of years in business what types of dishes work best on which nights of the week, and even which SF neighborhoods tend to order what kinds of food allowing them to better stock drivers' cars with the best mix of options so they don't sell out. "If we had 10 years of data, this would be a piece of cake," he said, but, of course, they don't.
Speaking of selling out, the guest-chef options are going to be big with the Sprig faithful, so order early dinner deliveries start at 4 p.m., tonight through Sunday.
Previously: The 6 Best Meal/Food Delivery Services In S.F.