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Eat your veggies! Cauliflower in a cast-iron pot

Napa’s Ubuntu offers a curry-spiced, garden-fresh vegetable dish

Courtesy Ubuntu

By Phil Lempert Food editor TODAY
Updated: Oct 14, 2008

Bringing together sustainable practices with high-end design is the utopia that is Ubuntu. Comprising of three parts — restaurant, yoga studio and biodynamic garden — the vision became a reality in Napa in August 2007.

Showcasing an entirely vegetarian cuisine with a selection of wines from earth-friendly vineyards, Ubuntu’s take on vegetarianism offers a philosophy of the celebration of the earth’s natural organic produce, rather than the “no meat” stigma that is sometimes understood.

This recipe calls for vadouvan, a French spice blend which is an interpretation of Indian curry and is available online from

About the chef: Executive chef of Ubuntu Jeremy Fox was recently named a “Best New Chef” 2008 by Food & Wine magazine and a “Rising Star” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Fox, who originally trained at the prestigious Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C., began working in his first kitchen at the five-star restaurant Anson in Charleston. After graduation he quickly ascended the ranks to become chef de cuisine at the popular Mumbo Jumbo restaurant in his hometown of Atlanta. Traveling to Europe, he accepted a stage position at the Michelin two-star De Snippe in Belgium and after a year, returned to the United States and cooked in top restaurants Rubicon and the four-star Charles Nob Hill in San Francisco.

In 2003, Jeremy made a fresh start in his culinary career by accepting a position in the kitchen at Manresa, and dedicated himself to learning from chef David Kinch. In 2004, he took a leave from Manresa and traveled to London to accept stage positions at the Michelin three-star Gordon Ramsay restaurant and the widely acclaimed St. John, one of his favorite restaurants. With this valuable experience abroad, he returned to Manresa to become chef de cuisine.

Fox states, “At Ubuntu, I am very excited to have the chance to do something that hasn't been done before — this project has the distinction of being of a vegetable restaurant rather than a vegetarian restaurant. We're not offering a philosophy of ‘no meat,’ rather we are celebrating what comes from the gardens, what shows up at the door and our relationships with farms in Napa.”

Fox enjoys music, baseball and reading in his spare time. He lives in Napa with his wife Deanie and their two cats.

Ubuntu Napa 1140 Main Street Napa, CA 94558 707.251.5656

Cauliflower in a cast-iron pot is served at Ubuntu for $13. This recipe makes four restaurant servings.

Recipe: Cauliflower in a cast-iron pot
by Jeremy Fox, executive chef of Ubuntu



Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions: Slice the cauliflower about 1/8 of an inch thick. Season 1 and ¼ of cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt to taste. Roast in a 350-degree oven until slightly charred and tender.

Start the butter in a cold sauce pot and place on medium heat. Allow the butter to melt, become foamy and turn golden brown. Remove the brown butter from heat and add the vadouvan. Let the vadouvan and butter sit for an hour.

Add all but 1/4 of the remaining raw cauliflower to a sauce pot. Add the milk and just enough water to cover cauliflower. Add a teaspoon of sea salt and cook on low-medium heat until cauliflower is completely soft. Puree this mixture and strain through a fine sieve.

Slice the day-old bread as thick as you want and brush lightly with the vadouvan butter. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 5-6 minutes. (At this time correct your seasoning on the roasted and pureed cauliflower.)

Season the remaining raw cauliflower with a touch of the vadouvan, parsley and sea salt.

On top, add the raw cauliflower and the dish is ready to serve with the toasted bread.


To create four individual servings, have 4 small serving pots, such as mini cast-iron pots. Layer the roasted and pureed cauliflower and then the vadouvan butter continuously until the pot is filled. Serving Size

Serves 4