Have “The Whole Beast” this Thanksgiving

                 THE WHOLE BEAST FOR THE 2011 HOLIDAYS

Featuring Farm-Raised Meats and Sustainably Caught Seafood Cooked Over a Flame

Chef John Fink of The Whole Beast branches out this holiday season and will be offering Turkey Cassoulet for the holidays for home dining. The Cassoulet is cooked long and slow, featuring Willie Bird turkey confit, turkey cranberry sausage, braised dark meat, and heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo cooked in a Cassoulet pot. The cost is an affordable $42 for a serving of six and $54 for a serving of ten; additional $200 for a new Le Creusset Cassoulet pot to keep. Pick up locations in San Francisco will be announced; delivery is additional. Additionally, with the Dungeness Crab season is nearly here (November 11th), Chef Fink will again offer his whole crab cooked over fire, as well as a full menu of whole animal dishes for family meals, parties and events.

For those who want to learn how to make Turkey Cassoulet at home, Chef Fink will be teaching free classes at CUESA (at the FerryBuilding Farmer’s Market Kitchen) on Saturday, November 5th, and Saturday, November 26 at Williams-Sonoma on Union Square in San Francisco and December 7, at Williams-Sonoma in Corte Madera.

Chef John Fink launched “The Whole Beast” last fall to offer local meat and seafood lovers a unique feast for their holiday table. The Whole Beast provides the centerpiece to any occasion; a whole animal menu cooked especially for private gatherings. Fink explains, “Heritage meats prepared whole are incredibly flavorful, and each part has it’s own unique taste and tenderness,” and there is no waste as all parts of the animal are cooked and utilized.

The Whole Beast Holiday Menus:

Turkey Cassoulet

Willie Bird turkey confit and turkey cranberry sausage, braised dark meat, and heirloom Christmas Lima Beans and the Snow Cap beans from Rancho Gordo cooked in a Cassoulet pot.  $42 for a serving of six and $54 for a serving of ten; additional $200 for a new Le Creusset Cassoulet pot.

Pick up location in San Francisco for the week of Thanksgiving to be announced; delivery is additional.

Whole Cow, Hog, Lamb and Deer

Baron of Beef with Horseradish Creamed Spinach, Roasted Root Vegetables and Cabernet Beef Jus with Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Rack of Venison with Sun Choke Puree, Braised Spinach, Sangiovese Cranberry Demi with Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Apple Cider Glazed Whole Suckling Pig with Braised Red Cabbage, Caraway & Apples, Roasted Cinnamon Smashed Yams and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Whole Grilled Young Lamb with a Glaze of Honey Lemon, Grilled Winter Squash, Warm Spinach Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Crispy Lamb Sweet Breads and Cranberry, Pistachio Mint Pesto and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Whole Fowl

Grilled Whole Duck Butterflied with Roasted Parsnips & Butternut Squash, Persimmon, Pomegranate & Watercress Salad, Port Duck Jus and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Tandoori Turkey Butterflied with Braised Greens, Basmati Rice with Cardamon & Mustard Seed Caviar, Masala Cream Sauce and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Grilled Guinea Hens Butterflied with Chive Mashed Potatoes, Chiffanade of Brussel Sprouts, Brown Chicken Ver Jus and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Whole Crab and Fish

Chef’s Favorite Deep Fried Crab with Braised Mustard Greens, Shiitake, Scallion Jasmine Rice, Black Pepper Ginger, Soy Glaze and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Dungeness Crab Boil with Boiled Yukon Potatoes, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Avocado & Red Onion Salad, Tarragon Shallot Butter and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet

Whole Grilled Halibut with Fennel Brandade, Green Beans with Nicoise Olives, Salsa Verde and Rancho Gordo Christmas Bean Cassoulet


All turkeys are butterflied and grilled over a variety of hardwoods

Traditional Brined in Juniper, Thyme, Bay-leaf & Lemon Zest, with Butternut Squash Soup finished with Pomegranate seeds Chanterelle, Parsnip & Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Rancho Gordo Bean Cassoulet

Tandoori Turkey

Rubbed with Traditional Tandoori Indian spices and yogurt, Braised Greens Basmati Rice with Cardamon & Mustard Seed Caviar Masala Cream Sauce and Rancho Gordo Bean Cassoulet

Yogurt & Zatar Marinated Turkey

Marinated with Wild Thyme, Oregano & Sumac, Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds & Candied Walnuts, Roasted Yukon Potatoes with Nigella seeds and Rancho Gordo Bean Cassoulet

The Whole Beast Preferred Farmer List (all located in California): Greyson Ranch, Devils Gulch, Saison Valley Farms, Kuleto’s Estate Farms, Hudson Valley Farm, Don Watson Napa Valley Ranch, Bar None Ranch, Bodega Ranch, Mashima Ranch,  Mt. Shasta Farms, Willy Bird, Liberty Farms, Red Hill, Rio Vista Ranch, Long Ranch, Long Meadow Ranch, Walnut Keep Farms and Soul Food Farm.


From pig, lamb and cow, to fish and fowl, chef John Fink will choose the animal based on the number of guests, select the wood and grill, prepare and cook the animal, carve the meat and cook side dishes that best match the flavor profile of the meats. Each Whole Beast animal is raised and prepared in a holistic manner, paying special attention to animal husbandry. Fink says, “I have spent time with each farmer walking side by side to learn and understand their practices—from birth to finish.”

There are several cooking methods The Whole Beast employs (depending on the location and fire regulations) including open flame, Hawaiian imu pit and oven roasting. Pricing is based on the number of guests, menu selection and location. The cost range for ten to three hundred guests for $50 to $75 per person.

Highlights of a Whole Beast feast is the beautiful Maple hardwood cutting board large enough for whole animal preparation, butchering and carving, handmade to specification in North Carolina, and a custom-made whole animal grill rack that turns on an axel over the fire.



 From the farm, to the fire, to the table. Chef John Fink founded The Whole Beast in San Francisco as a way to celebrate the art of cooking over fire a whole animal that has been humanely grown and prepared in a holistic manner, and paying special attention to animal husbandry. The Whole Beast is the centerpiece to any occasion, be it a cow, lamb, goat, fowl or fish.

Chef John Fink is a 43 year-old San Francisco-based chef with over 20 years of experience cooking for top restaurants including Aqua, Postrio, Ondine and Silks Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco to the L’Orangerie at the Arizona Biltmore and Kuleto Estate Winery in Napa. Now as Chef /Proprietor of The Whole Beast John aims to create transformational dining experiences. John is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu in Canada with an undergraduate engineering degree from Embry Riddle in Florida. During college he supported himself by fishing commercially for scallops, tuna and swordfish in the North Atlantic and pursued commercial fishing further in Alaska, obtaining his Able Bodied Seaman license while fishing Alaskan king, tanner and opilio crab.  John loved being a farmer at sea and relished the immediacy of delivering fresh fish to the dinner table.  Drawing on his fishing days, John’s food preparation starts from the very beginning – how the animal is raised. By focusing on animal husbandry, John believes the taste and quality of his food achieve a rarefied character. John personally visits each farmer and tours their facilities, asking how and where the animals spend their day, what they are fed, where they sleep and how they are finished. In the end, John seeks to walk in each farmer’s footsteps in order to bring out the best taste in the meat and influence the flavors that emerge from his dishes.


www.wholebeastsf.com.  Phone: (415) 816-1414 and email: thewholebeast@gmail.com


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