Located in the heart of San Francisco’s colorful Mission district, Foreign Cinema has become a premier go-to destination for Bay Area residents looking for a lip-smackin’ good meal out in a fun and chic atmosphere. Foreign Cinema chefs and co-owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark took over the restaurant in 2001, teaming up to dish out an ever-changing California-Mediterranean style menu. If it wasn’t enough that Gayle and John own and operate one of the most successful restaurants in the Bay Area, they are also parents, which we all know is another full-time job in itself! The two chefs recently took some time out of their hectic schedules to answer a few of our questions, and they were even gracious enough to share some of their favorite recipes with us. Bon Appetite!

As working parents, do you have a go-to dinner recipe that you make when your prep and evening time is limited?
Our children tend to eat Pasta Carbonara in a pinch.  They like the bacon and Reggiano flavors, and the whole eggs add a good dose of protein. It feels like a rich dish, but the preparation is smooth and ergonomic, involving only a pan to bring it all together. We like it too. Depending on the noodle cook time, the sauce is created while the pasta cooks. So it can be as fast (or slow) as the noodle.

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for incorporating veggies into meals for picky little eaters?
I tend not sneak anything into their meals, but I would say that for picky people, edamame in their pods is a good protein/green source, and also broccoli spears, cooked, or raw,  simply on their own with a small vessel of dressing like, soy, vinaigrette or creamy style dressings can give the child the ability to dip on their own, use their fingers, and taking their time. Or just on their own can be appealing to a child with a simple palette. Just don’t overcook veggies! Who can stand that?

What’s always in your pantry at home?
Kiwis are usually there, berries of all types, tofu, seaweed. They like these things as snacks, along with lots bread like the fougasse & olive loaf from Acme – which are our go-tos. This may sound oh-so-Berkeley, but these are easy to dole out when they are out of their minds hungry. Freshly popped popcorn is a recurring theme, and the kids can design their own flavors. You’d be surprised what they come up with when they are in charge of the seasoning. It’s quite inspiring! Always give children choices and explain healthy choices all the time. Chances are great that as they grow up, they remember this, and build upon it. However, there is no shortage of cookies, a little bit of candy, and organic chocolate around!

Gayle and John have a whole slew of kid-friendly recipes up their sleeve. They’ve kindly agreed to share a few of their favorites, including pasta carbonara, curry fried chicken, stuffed french toast, and lemon pancakes. You’ll definitely want to check them out –believe us, they are deee-licious!

Partners Gayle Pirie and John Clark are two highly original talents who have been deeply involved in the competitive and innovative ferment of the San Francisco restaurant scene for over two decades. Today, Pirie and Clark are the chef talent and owners behind two very popular and exciting dining destinations in San Francisco – Foreign Cinema and Show Dogs. In addition to Foreign Cinema and their new ventures, they have published two cookbooks, Country Egg, City Egg in 2000 and Bride and Groom in 2006.