Chefs keep fine dining afloat at the Alameda Marina, San Francisco Bay


Chef Allan Jiang cups balls of sushi rice in his palm and places a pat of hand-ground wasabi in the center, topping each with a slice of freshly cut fatty tuna and a single drizzle of soy sauce.

His deft hands take only minutes to compose each of the 10 Omakase courses he’s planned on the evening’s menu – all consumed within seconds – for the six guests tucked beside him.

But you won’t find Jiang slicing kampachi or ocean trout in a trendy Cow Hollow or Hayes Valley restaurant. He’s tableside inside the wooden cabin of Good Luck, a 105-year-old restored yacht docked at Alameda’s Grand Marina.

Accompanied by the sound of the wind whipping through nearby sailboats and palm trees, Jiang serves more than authentic Japanese cuisine. The intimate experience allows him to morph from chef to teacher, explaining how the warmth of ginger on his guests’ plates not only cleanses their palates but also balances the cold fish in their bellies.

These private dinner yacht experiences are put on by Xenia International, which Chef Daiji Uehara started with his business partners last year to keep fine dining afloat in Alameda and San Francisco – including on his own 25-foot Sea Ray Sundancer, Nova.

Born during the pandemic from a desire to bring people together over a shared meal, Uehara’s dream is to teach diners to savor and understand the food they eat, while providing an avenue for chefs to escape the heat of a typical kitchen and showcase their creative passions. The creative venue also offers industrious chefs a more flexible alternative to conventional brick-and-mortar restaurants, which have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This creates so much depth in the experience, so the food becomes so much more than just things to put in your mouth and stomach – it’s intimate, unique and personal,” Uehara said. “Chefs are really underrated, in my opinion. They have many great stories to tell, so we are trying to break down that barrier between chefs and diners.”

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA - JULY 8: Chef Daiji Uehara torches the sashimi for private dinners on a yacht in the Alameda marina on Friday, July 8, 2022. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group)
ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – JULY 8: Chef Daiji Uehara torches the sashimi for private diners on a yacht in the Alameda marina on Friday, July 8, 2022. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group) 

These yacht experiences, which also offer French cuisine from Chef Hemant Surendran, run from $140 to $275 per person. Reservations often book out weeks in advance.

“What’s the number one mistake people make eating sushi?” Lexine Kagiyama asked Jiang between courses at a dinner July 8. “Or how do we not look dumb?”

“Ah yes – not everything is soy sauce,” the chef replied. “American people drink soy sauce, but it’s too salty! It’s like a soup. When you come here, you’re in class; there are no secrets. Put it on fish.”

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA - JULY 8: Chef Daiji Uehara and Allan Jiang host private dinners on yachts with Omakase sushi in the Alameda marina on Friday, July 8, 2022. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group)
ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – JULY 8: Chef Daiji Uehara and Allan Jiang host private dinners on yachts with Omakase sushi in the Alameda marina on Friday, July 8, 2022. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group) 


Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/07/17/chefs-keep-fine-dining-afloat-at-the-alameda-marina-san-francisco-bay/

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