Kevin McKenzie’s isn’t the first crepe stand to hit the local market scene. From elegant French buckwheat to a few missteps that were more reminiscent of funnel cakes than actual, well, crepes, there have been more than a few comers to the party. Consider them a nothing more than a warm-up to the serious flipping and filling skills of one of the county’s best-kept secrets.
Secret because only a handful of insiders have so far discovered McKenzie’s portable creperie at the Saturday (Veteran’s Building) Santa Rosa farm market. And secret because McKenzie isn’t just your average farm stand hand. You’ll get right away that despite the paper plates and t-shirted kids helping him out, it takes a serious chef to pull of cloud-light crepes filled with pulled pork, creamy polenta and doused with bechamel on propane burners. Or slow-cooked apples bathed in vanilla mascarpone from inside a tent.
Despite the market grubs and farm hat, McKenzie’s spent most of his life in chef’s whites, working with some of the best in the biz up and down the West Coast. But the crepes were calling. And so in addition to his consulting work (he’s done recent cooking programs with Relish Cooking School), his food writing and catering, McKenzie mans the crepe stand at the Sebastopol and Santa Rosa (Veteran’s Building) farm markets.
It’s fitting that you’ll find him in Santa Rosa near Mateo Granados’ stand — the former Dry Creek chef who’s made a killing in tamales and haute Mexican catering. Both have elevated market breakfast/brunching to something truly destination worthy. In other words, you’ll be hard-pressed to decide whether to get one of Kevin’s savory crepes or a plate of haute huevos rancheros from Mateo as you fuel up for a long morning of squeezing fruit.
Then again, you could always do both. I would.
Chef Kevin McKenzie, Pan for Hire, Santa Rosa Veteran’s Building, Saturdays until noon.
Chef Mateo Granados, Santa Rosa Veteran’s Building, Saturdays until noon. Elsewhere, check out his site, www.mateogranados.com.