Alison McQuade at the Clift Hotel
McQuade’s Celtic Chutneys are made by the San Francisco-based “Chutney Chef” Alison McQuade. This writer has seen McQuade’s chutneys used for private and catered events, as accoutrements with cheese and meat platters…and more. McQuade hails from Glasgow, Scotland, and has lived in the U.S. for the past thirty years. BAB contributor Amy Sherman reported in 2005 how McQuade got her start:
“One year I made chutney to give away as Christmas presents. It was my grandmother's recipe and I went online to make labels and get jars. I gave some to my hairdresser and she asked me to bring some more over for one of her customers--I thought that was a wee bit cheeky! This was a gift after all. But it turned out she had a tasting going on and her customer was one of the owners of Cowgirl Creamery. My first paying customer, she said she wanted 60 of each flavor.”
Consumers can find the chutneys locally at Cowgirl, Irish Castle Gift Shop, Falletti Foods, Cheese Plus, and Whole Foods SOMA. This growing chutney business is the winner of a 2006 Independent Food Festival & Awards. McQuade shared with BAB some recent product developments: “I'm currently introducing a new line of jellies -- pomegranate habanero, serrano pepper, pear chocolate jalapeno, zinfandel chocolate and pinot noir.”
McQuade: “I have lived in ‘Tenderloin Heights’ for years and love this area with its proximity to shops, restaurants and the park at Grace Cathedral … only two blocks away!” She’s hoping “at some point in the very near future to start a little soup kitchen with the help of some local neighbors. There are so many aging and sick people around us here in San Francisco. I'd like to pitch in and help a little more. I work with Dinner With Grace, [which is] a Grace Cathedral run service where volunteers cook food on Tuesday night twice a month. On the Wednesday, we deliver the food and eat with the residents of nearby SRO hotels.”
Here are McQuade’s favorite food and drink spots:
I love the Shakshuka from Cafe Zitouna (North African) on Polk Street. It's generally breakfast food, but they serve it all day with lamb sausage and it's just amazing!