On an October night that was balmy, not stormy,
Three chefs who were all certifiably gourmet
Helmed a benefit in San Francisco: Lo,
A sumptuous three-course feast, but know
That every component of every dish,
From the miniature meatloaves to the Gullah Island Fish
Filets, had to be something found in the kitchen
Of an average McDonald’s restaurant. “Bitchin’,”
You might say. “Bring on the fries!” Hark:
This was not a no-brainer, nor a walk in the park.
Chefs Ryan Scott, Beverlie Terra, and Sophina Uong
(Of Market & Rye, Chaminade, and Picán, home of strong
Espresso cocktails) became alchemists that night, unveiling
Hash-brown gnocchi, pickled berries, with sharp sticks impaling
Chicken roulade. Coffee soda, cheese pudding, beignets,
And chocolate-hazelnut chess pie earned our hoorays.
Served with wine on white linen, gently candle-lit,
This repast rewarded whomever could handle it,
Raised money for Ronald McDonald House, and
Revealed how much more McDonald’s serves than sand-
Wiches. The chefs could add non-McD’s herbs and spices, but
Nothing else to the meats, cheeses, produce, buns and what-
Ever else they morphed into onion soup and apple tart,
And bacon vinaigrette, three-cheese panini with a gooey heart.
Surprises everywhere! Those days are gone
When fast-food restaurants served no Parmesan.
— Anneli Rufus