After growing up in San Jose, California and graduating from High school in 2016, Chef Bryan Thuerk immediately entered culinary school not knowing what to he had gotten himself into. While attending the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute (OCCI), Chef Bryan met his mentor Randy Torres who instilled in him discipline, hard work, and the importance of practicing and perfecting your craft. Bryan joined their culinary competition team, earning 3 gold medals and an International Team Championship title in the Western Region ACF (American Culinary Federation) competition. Graduating from OCCI in 2017, Bryan earned his Associates of Science in Culinary Arts.
After leaving culinary school, Bryan took his first professional culinary position as an intern at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco. Working under Certified Master Chef Robert Mancuso, he then worked his way up the ladder. Initially starting as an intern, he progressed to Lead Banquette cook, then to Lead Grill cook at the Bohemian Grove location in Sonoma, and then to their Lead Line cook in charge of lunch service at the San Francisco club location. After two years at the Bohemian Club, Chef Bryan then took on a Sous Chef Position at Flea Street in Menlo Park, California. Shortly after joining the team at Flea Street, Bryan was offered the position of Chef de Cuisine where he continues in that role today. Following the strong ethics established by Flea Street’s owner Jesse Ziff Cool, Chef Bryan focuses on sourcing products from local farmer’s markets and organic farms in the San Francisco Peninsula and South Bay areas.
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Smoked Peeking Duck:
1 cup Juniper
1 cup Cloves
2 cup Star Anise
3 stick Cinnamon
1 cup Black Peppercorn
1 bunch thyme
1 qt Sugar
1 ½ qt Salt
5 large peeled shallots
3 cloves garlic
2 gal water
Add all ingredients into large stock pot
Boil for 3 min, then allow to chill in fridge
Once cool, add in whole duck; allow to sit fully submerged in brine for 24 hours
After 24 hours, remove duck from brine and hang dry for 3 days to allow the water in skin and fat to escape. This process insures a crispy golden skin.
On an open wood fire, use hickory and alder wood for optimal smoke flavor without full encapsulating the duck and brine. (if alder wood is not available, oak wood shall suffice)
On the cool side of smoker, place duck and with a thermometer ensure temperature is 275˚ F
Cook for 3.5 hours indirectly tending to the fire making sure duck is getting plenty of smoke
Allow duck to rest for 30 minutes
Place duck in fryer for 2 minutes to tighten skin and render out the remaining fat under skin
Place over a bed of roasted root vegetables
1 bottle tawny port
2 cup pitted fresh red cherries (or amarena cherries)
Blend in VitaMix
Simmer on stove until 50% reduced