It’s been almost two years since Monsieur Benjamin chef George Dingle and Irish bar Casements teamed up to bring “proper British-style pies” to San Francisco, and now the event that brought together expats and locals alike returns Monday, August 8. This time around, along with the beloved beef pies, Dingle is bringing sous chef Yeoh Chee into the fold. Chee will debut a dish for the event: stuffed chicken wings. “We’ve finally got in a position where we have a really good team of people for the first time in a long time since COVID — and it’s almost given me this ability to take a tiny little step back and lift my head above the war and think that maybe we could do something creative,” Dingle says.
Much like the pies from the first event, which came from Dingle making the dish for the downsized staff during the pandemic, Chee’s wings were also borne out of Monsieur Benjamin’s family meal. This is Chee’s second stint at Monsieur Benjamin; he first started as chef de partie in 2018 before returning to Malaysia to work at fine dining restaurant Entier. From there, he boomeranged back to San Francisco and Monsieur Benjamin as sous chef working with Dingle once again. “As sous chef, once or twice a week he’ll be in charge of making a family meal for the restaurant and he just knocks it out of the park,” Dingle says. “He makes these dumplings, chicken rice, and these wings that he made once, and I was like, ‘Holy shit, we need to get these to the people.’” The stuffed wings are a labor-intensive endeavor, each needs to be deboned and stuffed; Chee also makes his own chicken sausage made with garlic, ginger, and scallions. From there, the wings are then steamed and brined, before being breaded in a mixture of potato starch and rice flour and fried — “the chicken wing looks like a chicken leg,” Dingle says — and it’s then topped with a satay sauce made of fish sauce, chili, garlic, and peanuts.
Dingle’s beef pie is nothing to take for granted either. Although Dingle has brought a British pie made with quail from Wolfe Ranch to the Monsieur Benjamin menu, he’s doing a traditional version for the event, tucking beef shoulder, onions, garlic, carrot, mashed potatoes, and housemade beef jus gravy (along with a bit of Marmite for a touch of umami flavor) into a shortcrust pastry, to give it a crispy finish. Casements co-owner Gillian Fitzgerald is supplying the drinks portion of the event, with drink specials, such as the bar’s Paloma #8, Casements’ version of the paloma. Maurice “Mo” Brooks, also known as DJ Cocoa Leche, will take over the 1s and 2s.
The event is meant to be both a community gathering, as well as a way to celebrate the Monsieur Benjamin and Casements staff. “George and I talked about how now we both have a bit of a platform and we have incredible members of our staff that we can give them a lift up and help in that way,” Fitzgerald says. “I think that’s the way that I see with Casements, how I see our futures — just anyone who works here, whatever they want to do, this is the platform for them to shoot off from.”
Tickets go live on the Casements website on July 25 and include an order of wings, a beef pie, and a beer for $45. The event starts at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 8.