Chef Jet Tila makes his Asian-style latke mix with scallions and hoisin sauce.
Chef Jet Tila makes his Asian-style latke mix with scallions and hoisin sauce.

Food Network star loses to hometown faves at Jewish senior home’s latke cook-off

Jet Tila, a Food Network star, came to the Frank Residences, part of the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, to challenge the resident chefs to a latke showdown. Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the residents voted their home team the winners.

Tila, who is also known for popularizing Thai food in America, has appeared on “Iron Chef,” “Chopped,” “Cutthroat Kitchen” and other shows. At the 2nd Annual Latke Cook-Off, he went with an Asian-style latke with scallions and hoisin sauce. Another team from the S.F. Campus for Jewish Living went with a zucchini latke with tzatziki. Ultimately, though, the culinary team from the Frank Residences prevailed.

The winning latkes, which despite their fancy looks were pretty traditional.
The winning latkes, which despite their fancy looks were pretty traditional.

Frank Residences chefs Liz Storm (formerly Ashby) and Don Evans made a traditional latke topped with an apple and currant compote, strands of deep fried onion, a drizzle of sour cream and chopped chives. While the compote and garnishes were thought up by Evans, the latke recipe was Storm’s.

“It was a traditional latke, but elevated,” said Storm, the former owner of the popular but now-closed Paulie’s Pickling in Bernal Heights. Her customers loved her latke recipe there, she said, so she didn’t want to mess with it.

Liz Storm and Don Evans, chefs at the Frank Residences, came up with the winning latkes.
Liz Storm and Don Evans, chefs at the Frank Residences, came up with the winning latkes.

The residents evaluated the latkes on several criteria, like crispiness and presentation.

“My recipe is tried and true,” she said. “Our strategy was to keep it pretty traditional.”

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."