Celebrated Chef Joanne Weir Shares Memories of Her Father and Some Fun Father’s Day BBQ Ideas

Joanne at Farmer's MarketWith the upcoming Father’s Day Holiday, Joanne reflects on her father, how he instilled in her a love of travel, international cuisine, and curiosity for the unknown.

“Where are you off to now, my wandering gypsy?” my father asked.

I climbed onto my bicycle, glanced over my shoulder at him, and grinned. Then I was off, pedaling purposefully into the sunshine.

From the moment I could toddle, I loved to roam. Whether I was walking across the freshly mowed twelve-foot wide strip of grass that separated our house from our neighbor’s next door, traipsing down the block to swim in another neighbor’s swimming pool, or riding my fat-tired, green-striped, hand-me-down bicycle to Look Park, I couldn’t be pinned down.

On a road trip with my family when I was about ten years old, the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” circled the car. My father looked over at me and asked, “Joey, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

You should have seen the look on his face when I replied proudly, “I want to be a bus driver.”

“A bus driver?” my Dad said puzzled.

“I want to drive on every road in the world,” I replied in earnest.

I was always out and about as a kid. I was never content to stay at home and play. When I was about as tall as my father’s waist, he started calling me his “wandering gypsy.” My father had me all figured out: he understood my need to explore. My father was a man of few words, so when he did speak, everyone took note. That he gave me this sweet nickname made me feel like the most special person in the world.

When I was old enough to drive, my favorite afternoon activity was riding around with my friend, Karen, exploring roads new to us and trying to get lost. A decade later, I ventured out on what was then my biggest new road. I drove straight across the United States and landed in California.

But that wasn’t enough for this gypsy. The lure of the crystalline blue Mediterranean kept calling my name. When I finally made my first trip to this gorgeous part of the world, I felt like I had found my spiritual home. I started in Provence in the South of France, eating pan bagnet, socca, and pissaladiere in Nice, and very soon after I spent a month traveling Italy eating as much pasta as I could. Next, it was tapas hopping in Sevilla, then hiking the Samaria Gorge on the island of Crete in Greece, lusting after Turkish meze in Göreme, Turkey and falling in love with everything sensual in Marrakech, Morocco and I never looked back.

I think back now…My father was a man of only a few words but he planted a seed with his term of endearment when I was so young. I have him to thank for recognizing, supporting, and encouraging me so many years ago. Fathers are pretty cool people!

Joanne shared some of her favorite Father’s Day BBQ Ideas – fun, easy, and delicious!


  • 2 pounds small red-skinned new potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 3 green onions, white and green, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup Kalamata or Casalvetrano olives, pitted and halved
  • 3-ounce piece Parmigiano Reggiano

Potato SaladPreheat the oven to 375°F.

Wash the potatoes and place them in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake until tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

Preheat an outdoor grill.

When the potatoes are tender and cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half. Place 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a bowl. Dip the cut side of the potato in the oil and grill, turning occasionally, until hot and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the grill and place in a large serving bowl.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, green onions, garlic, parsley, oregano, and olives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a cheese shaver, shave long thin shards of Parmigiano Reggiano onto the top of the potatoes. Toss gently and serve immediately, while the potatoes are warm.

Serves 6


  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds halibut fillet, 1 to 1/4-inch cubes
  • 4 medium green zucchini, 1 ½ pounds
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Pistachio Mint Salsa Verde

Halibut SkewersMix the mint, oregano, chives, and thyme in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and 2 tablespoon olive oil. Stir together and add the fish. Stir gently to combine.

Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, slice lengthwise down the sides of squash until you have paper-thin slices, discarding the center seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Dust lightly with salt and let sit 5 minutes.

Heat an outdoor grill or indoor cast-iron ridged grill to medium-high. Toss the squash ribbons with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl until well coated. Alternately, thread a chunk of halibut and a ribbon of squash on the skewers alternately. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the fish with oil.

Place the skewers on a hot grill and grill on one side until the halibut has light golden grill marks, about 2 minutes. Turn them and continue cooking another 2 minutes. Remove from grill and place on serving plates. Serve with the Pistachio Mint Salsa Verde.

Serves 6


  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the mint, parsley, oregano, and garlic on the work surface and finely chop. Add the chives and stir together. Place in a bowl and add the olive oil, pistachios, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir together. Season with salt and pepper.


  • 12 fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1 ½ oz. blanco 100% agave tequila
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. agave nectar or less if the agave nectar is sweet
  • 3/4 oz. water
  • 3/4 oz. lime fresh lime juice
  • Fresh cherry with stem as a garnish

Put the cherries in a shaker and muddle or mash them until pulverized about 1 minute. Add the tequila, maraschino liqueur, agave nectar, water, lime juice and fill the shaker with ice. Cover the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Immediately strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with the cherry.

Serves 1

Tune in to watch brand new episodes of Joanne’s cooking series, Joanne Weir’s Plates & Places! Season three is now airing on public television stations nationwide and cook along with recipes from her award-winning cookbooks!

Ready for more? Joanne also teaches hands-on cooking classes in her San Francisco, California, kitchen studio- the same one you see on TV! Or take a Culinary Journey with her through some of the most flavorful destinations in the world.

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