A fresh focus for the new year

There’s been a quiet revolution happening at the BA over the last four months. New Head Chef Richard Alas-Chavez has been transforming the BA’s dining services and the results have been outstanding.

Chef Richard describes the new menu as ‘New American’–generally a type of fusion cuisine which combines flavors from the melting pot of traditional American cooking mixed with foreign flavor components. For the BA, that means a commitment to fresh, seasonal, scratch-made ingredients with a focus on vegetarian options. 

So just how fresh and made-from-scratch are we talking? On the day we spoke, Chef Richard had just finished making ricotta cheese from scratch for that day’s lasagna. In addition, many salad dressings, sauces, desserts, and breads are house-made. That commitment to quality is just the beginning of the changes he’s brought to the BA Dining Room. 

“We’re bringing an interest in vegetarian main dishes and salads,” says Chef Richard. “Like cauliflower cakes alongside traditional crab cakes.”

Chef Richard notes that while the menu at the BA always includes traditional items, offering expertly crafted vegetarian options makes it fun and easy for diners to try something new. Vegetarian banh mi sandwiches with tofu have been very popular as well as broccoli burgers or mushroom patties with chipotle aioli. 

While Chef Richard is not a vegetarian himself, he became very skilled at preparing vegetarian meals for his son, now 4 ½ years old. 

“For the first two and a half years of his life he would not eat traditional meat proteins,” says Chef Richard. “So we had to get crafty and that forced me to try a lot of vegetarian and protein alternatives.” Chef Richard’s father is from El Salvador and his mother is Irish so experimenting with unique flavor combinations comes naturally.

Favorite Pizza Topping? 

Anything with mushrooms

Anything you don’t like to eat?

I despise mayo

Pro tip for those of us cooking at home?

Always salt your water when cooking pasta—you want it to be as salty as seawater. You’ll be doing the pasta a disservice if you don’t.

The next time you’re visiting the BA, make sure to say hi to Chef Richard!

5 Responses to A fresh focus for the new year

  1. Lynn Mandujano says:

    How about a BA vegetarian cookbook from Chef Richard? I would buy one!

  2. Kate says:

    Yum!! That all sounds delicious!!

  3. Pat Harris says:

    This sounds right and a delicious appropriate and futuristic adventure into 2023. Toasted (air fryer) avocado sandwiches are a nifty breakfast/lunch entree with a nice cup of herbal tea, Chef Richard could enjoy adding. Congratulations on acquiring such a magnificent chef.

  4. Katharina says:

    I definetely will remember Chef Richard next time I cook pasta. What fun post. Thank you.

  5. Mary Langworthy says:

    Sounds intriguing. The pic of the cucumber sandwiches made my heart skip a beat, reminding me of my American mother’s very British afternoon tea party get-togethers with church friends – in West Los Angeles not West Yorkshire. The fresh mint garnish brings them into the 21st century. Beautiful! Looking forward to sampling Chef Richard’s eclectic offerings when I visit in April.

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