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Chef's Kitchen

Each month, a guest chef gives us a tip that elevates their cooking or simplifies things in the kitchen; something a home cook might not know. They also provide a recipe that uses the tip, so you can practice at home. Our guest chef this month is the Fiction @ J. Bookwalter Winery Executive Chef Francisco Mendoza. The restaurant has become "one of the nation's best winery restaurants" according to the likes of Food & Wine, USA Today, and the Zagat Guide. Sourcing ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, including produce from the farmlands surrounding the Tri-Cities and micro-greens from the organic beds surrounding the winery, Chef Mendoza's results are amazing and pair perfectly with the line-up of J. Bookwalter wines. Along with the wines, the restaurant also offers craft cocktails. It's a not-to-be-missed experience.

Growing up in a big family, Francisco would watch his mom cook for him and his 10 brothers and sisters; it inspired him to become a chef. He does not want to take food for granted, creating new, fresh, and unique food that is different from every other place. Wanting to gain as much culinary knowledge as possible, he attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland studying French Culinary Cuisine. That led to an externship in Bilboa, Spain, cooking alongside some of the best chefs in the world. He returned to the area he grew up in to use that knowledge and live his dream. The new and vast world of food continues to inspire him. He loves to create meals from ingredients he grew himself or has sourced locally.

How to make a Foam, by Executive Chef Francisco Mendoza

A foam is a substance in which air is suspended to create a lighter, more delicate texture. A stabilizing agent like gelatin powder, gelatin sheets, or agar agar is needed to create a stable foam. The difference between the two agents is gelatin that comes from animal collagen, and agar agar that comes from plant protein. The proteins form a film around the air bubbles, giving the foam support and keeping the air bubbles from merging and creating giant bubbles. To get a thick foam, you need 2.5 percent of gelatin per total base weight; to get a medium foam, you use 1.5 percent, and to get a light foam, you use 0.03 percent. To complete the process, you would pour your base into an ISI dispenser, seal it, and charge it with three nitrous charges.

I love using foams because you can add multiple layers of complexity to a dish, from creating a simple sauce to an elaborate presentation, delighting your guests.

Chevre Foam



  • 16 oz crumbled chèvre
  • 16 oz heavy cream
  • 16 oz buttermilk
  • 6 gelatin sheets
  • 3 nitrous charges


  1. Combine chèvre, heavy cream, and buttermilk in a pot, cook mixture to a simmer, remove from heat.
  2. Soak gelatin sheets in cold water to activate.
  3. Pull gelatin sheets out of the water, squeezing as much of the water out of the sheets. Add gelatin to the chèvre base and blend until emulsified.
  4. Cool mixture to room temperature and add to an ISI dispenser. Seal the dispenser and use three nitrous charges, making sure to shake well in between charges.
  5. Disperse into a silicone mold (for ease of removal) and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to set.

Plating Recommendation

Fresh oregano
Grilled bread

Remove the chèvre foam from the mold and serve with a drizzle of honey, fresh oregano, and grilled bread.

Fiction @ J. Bookwalter winery
894 Tulip Lane
Richland, WA 99352

September 2022

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