Café de la Presse, Laurent Manrique
As Chef Laurent Manrique has learned, combining simplicity with challenge walks a tightrope between passion for one’s craft and a desire to constantly seek new opportunities. Currently, Laurent commutes between San Francisco and New York to oversee concepts in each location. Café de la Presse, a renowned Parisian-inspired bistro owned by Laurent, in addition to Blanc et Rouge and Rouge et Blanc, two stylish wine bars in downtown San Francisco, enjoy distinction among the city’s most popular dining and entertainment destinations. Laurent’s New York project, Millésime, an upscale seafood brasserie in the historic Carlton hotel on Madison Avenue, opened to fabulous reviews in November 2010 and was named one of New York’s Best New Restaurants 2011 by Esquire magazine. Also in 2011, in Paris, Laurent was appointed to the class of Master Chefs admitted to the prestigious Association des Maîtres Cuisiniers de France this spring. Maître Cuisinier de France (“Master Chef of France”) is the most envied title that chefs aspire to have; but not everyone can become a Maître Cuisinier. Most recently, Laurent opened Aquitaine, a wine bistro, in San Francisco June 2013.
Café de la Presse, Patrick Albert
Café de la Presse Executive Chef Patrick Albert’s commitment to creating traditional but innovative French fare infuses this Parisian-inspired café with authenticity. “It is always busy,” he says proudly. “You can meet a lot of different people enjoying an espresso or a beef bourguignon, sipping a Ricard or having cassoulet.” As the man behind the menu, Chef Albert’s comments well support his culinary savoir faire. Following stints in brasseries throughout Paris, Chef Albert’s position as Chef de Cuisine at the consul of Savoie in Paris stimulated him to bring a touch of France to the United States. His subsequent move to San Francisco brought him together with Chef Bruno Chemel at the Milano Hotel and then with Chef Sylvain Portay at the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room. At Café de la Presse, Chef Albert continues to bring his guests a classic, creative dining experience.
Anzu Restaurant, Philippe Striffeler
A native of Switzerland, Philippe Striffeler began his culinary career by working with acclaimed chefs in both France and Swit¬zerland. Before becoming the Executive Chef of Anzu Restaurant , he worked with Marriott’s top properties in Asia, Europe, and Saudi Arabia. During the World Cu¬linary Championship in Taiwan, Striffeler received the bronze medal as part of the American team in 2007 and the silver medal as the captain of the American team in 2009. The Asian influence in his food comes from the vibrant and refresh¬ing flavors of Thailand. When he’s not in the kitchen, he enjoys playing golf, hiking, and fishing.
Bocadillos, James LaLonde
James LaLonde has been cooking up delicious meals for the past decade working at places in San Francisco like Salt House, Slow Club, Maverick, and Pizzeria Delfina. Raised in North Dakota he dreamed big and moved to the Bay Area to follow his passion for cuisine and skateboarding. LaLonde is now enjoying his dream life, cooking at Bocadillos, and in his free time going on bike rides around the Bay, soaking up all the beautiful nature that surrounds the area. Most of his tapa recipes were inspired by his time traveling around Spain. He said that trip to Spain really “impacted his appreciation and understanding of the cuisine,” that he is a master of now! LaLonde really gets to test out his expertise at Bocadillos which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner five days a week and just dinner on the Saturday, everyday a new menu.
Chez TJ, Jarad Gallagher
As a Sous Chef at nineteen and Executive Chef at twenty-one, Chef Gallagher refined his natural skills at cooking and developed business savvy. Having a strong passion for French cooking, he took intensive training classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and London. This lead to obtaining a stage at the acclaimed Bras restaurant in Laguiole, France. Inspired by the French’s traditional approach to food and influenced by Chef Michele Bras contemporary vision, Jarad returned to the US with a fresh outlook on the connection between food and people. For this young and driven Chef, California was the food haven and San Francisco was where Earth and Ocean met Chef and Table. Working at Michelin starred restaurants including Michael Mina, One Market and Plumed Horse, Jarad obtained the skills and knowledge to drive the stoves at Chez TJ.
DOSA, Anjan Mitra
Executive Chef/ Co-Owner
Anjan left Bombay at the age of 18 to study in the U.S., but after spending 19 years working in tech, he realized his true passion lay in food. Embarking on a new path as a restaurateur Anjan sought to recreate the wonderfully aromatic and complex flavors of his mother’s cooking, while elevating a cuisine that he believed was under-represented in the U.S. In testament to his success, Mitra is the Executive Chef/Co-Owner at DOSA. Together with his talented team of South Indian Chefs, he leads the overall culinary direction of the menu, which represents the traditional styles of Southern Indian cooking and spices. Anjan’s dishes are inspired by recipes from his family, as well as the families of DOSA’s team of chefs.
FIVE, Stephane Tonnelier
Tonnelier, who has Parisian roots, was most recently executive sous-chef at Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco. He has worked as a saucier at the world-renowned Hotel Georges V in Paris, and as a sous chef under Michelin-star chef Denis Schneider. Berkeleyside Nosh caught up with him as he got settled into his new post. “My cooking style is an integration of the best of French and Californian cuisine. I have spent the last 26 years of my life cooking, the first half in France and the last half in California. I have been privileged to work with, and learn from, great chefs in two different worlds. I will say that French Californian is totally my inspiration and it gives me the immense pleasure of being able to mix flavors from different continents on the same plate. Some of my favorite chefs who have inspired me are Guy Savoy, Michel Roux and the chef who taught me when I was an apprentice, Philippe Delacourcelle. I also consider Nancy Oakes (from Boulevard and Prospect) a mentor.”
Four Seasons, Alexander La Motte
“I love the act of cooking and am really intrigued by the chemistry behind it (balancing of flavors), the finesse of perfect execution, and the artistic expression in making edible art.” Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco welcomed back Alexander La Motte as their Executive Chef for the hotel and MKT in October 2014. Alexander was the Executive Sous Chef for the Hotel from 2010 – 2012 and was excited to return to the City by the Bay and be in the center of one of the most exciting culinary destinations in the nation. In the interim he was the Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. Chef La Motte has had the opportunity to work with some of the most acclaimed chefs and restaurants in the world including Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Las Vegas; Café Boulud; The French Laundry; Daniel and Orpheum Grand Lobby Restaurant.
Luce, Daniel Corey
Born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA, Luce’s Chef de Cuisine Daniel Corey is very much influenced by the Golden State. Prior to joining the team at the InterContinental San Francisco’s mondern American restaurant, Chef Daniel perfected his culinary talents at various restaurants on the West Coast, using his environment as his muse. “I’m always inspired by the season and the weather,” he says. “I really like a dish feeling like it has sense of place in that moment it’s being served.” His journey began when he moved to San Francisco in 2001 to attend the California Culinary Academy. Post-graduation, Chef Daniel launched his career as a line cook at Downtown Restaurant in Berkeley with Chef David Stevenson, and continued to hone his skills as lead cook at Wente Vineyards in Livermore. He then worked as chef de partie at Campton Place in San Francisco under Daniel Humm, the current chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York. In 2007, Chef Daniel accepted the sous chef position at acclaimed NUA Restaurant and Wine Bar working under Anna Bautista, current chef de cuisine at the Michelin-starred Madera in Menlo Park. After working as chef de partie at Luce in 2008, he moved to work as sous chef at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach before returning to Luce as executive sous chef in 2009. In June of 2011, he was appointed as Chef de Cuisine of Luce, and earned his first Michelin star in October, 2011. In his current position at Luce, Chef Daniel continues to build on the restaurant’s ingredient-driven, sustainable approach to cuisine, incorporating his experience in fine dining and, naturally, his love for California. “We combine modern American fare with influences from around the world – all with ingredients that are sourced locally,” he explains. “The dishes, which include sustainably raised meats and seafood, as well as organic produce, are focused on key flavors and different textures.” When Chef Daniel is not in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time at the beach and surfing. He is also a collector of reggae music from all eras, with a particular focus on the late ’60s through early ’80s.
Madera, Peter Rudolph
Chef Rudolph comes to Madera following two years as Executive Chef at famed Campton Place in San Francisco, where he was named one of StarChef.com’s Rising Star Chefs in San Francisco. Chef Rudolph became interested in cooking while growing up in Martinez, an East Bay town near San Francisco, where he was surrounded by fresh produce that grew in his grandparents’ garden. Spending time in his grandmother’s kitchen eventually led him to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where he graduated in 1995. Shortly thereafter, he began his culinary career as a pastry chef at San Francisco’s Brasserie Savoy. At Madera, Chef Rudolph says he is coming back to cooking the cuisine he is most comfortable with – refined yet approachable food that honors the many culinary traditions of the Western United States.
Perbacco, Staffan Terje
Raised on a small farm in Sweden, Staffan Terje’s journey to San Francisco included a first stop in Florida before he ventured West, finding some solace in both Orange County and Napa Valley. Combining his French training with the vast accessibility of local produce, Chef Terje aims to recreate traditional Italian dishes by picking up produce from the farmers market at the Ferry Plaza. Drawn to Italian food for its authenticity, Chef Steffan travels to Italy to delve into full experimental research, commenting, “Eating in Italy is hard work.” Nevertheless, he prides himself in the honesty of his ingredients and the integrity of his dishes in preserving Italian cuisine. Other notable career highlights include cooking at San Francisco’s popular Scala’s Bistro and The James Beard House in New York City.
Piperade, Gerald Hirigoyen
A native of the Basque region of France, Chef Hirigoyen had already begun working with local pastry chefs by the age of 13. He moved to Paris three years later for a traditional apprenticeship with Master Patissiers Jean Millet and Dennis Ruffel. Hirigoyen immigrated to the United States in 1980 and opened Fringale in 1991. He was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs in America” in 1994 and San Francisco Magazine’s “Chef of the Year” in 1995. In 1996, Hirigoyen opened his second restaurant, Pastis (now Piperade), which won plaudits from Esquire as one of the year’s best new restaurants. His book, The Basque Kitchen, won the Versailles Award for Best Regional Cookbook.
Plumed Horse, Peter Armellino
A native of Long Island, Peter Armellino began cooking professionally in New York when he was 17 years old. He opened the Park Avenue Cafe in 1992 and later worked at New York City’s Gotham Bar & Grill and Gramercy Tavern. Armellino came to San Francisco in 1999 and soon began work as sous-chef at Jardinière with renowned chefs Douglas Keene and Traci Des Jardins, who he also worked with on the popular TV show “Iron Chef” in 2005. Armellino went on to work as chef de cuisine at The Village Pub, Campton Place, and Aqua. In early 2007, Armellino became the executive chef at Plumed Horse, which presents elegant, modern California cuisine and emphasizes fresh, seasonal and sustainably-produced ingredients. Under Peter’s leadership, Plumed Horse has received the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award in the 2015 “Restaurant Wine Award.”
Presidio Social Club, Ray Tang
Originally from Hong Kong, Chef Ray Tang moved to Anaheim California during Junior high school and started work at his family’s Chinese restaurant. After moving to San Francisco and finishing his university studies, he dove into the culinary world as a fishmonger and oyster sucker at PJ’s Oyster Bed in the Inner Sunset. Chef Tang earned his stripes working at numerous Bay Area eateries, eventually becoming the proprietor of wine country’s Mariposa. In 2002, Chef Tang won a contest sponsored by The National Pork Board and was awarded the title of “King of Pork.” Presidio Social Club was launched by Chef Tang in 2006 and was inspired by the restaurants location in San Francisco’s Presidio National Park. Chef Tang took the rich history of the area and wove it into an aesthetic reminiscent of a World War II officer’s club. Developing a menu of nostalgic favorites to match, and with the value of communication and honesty always at the forefront of his management style, Chef Tang has accomplished what he set out to do – create an environment that transcends just delicious food, and becomes an experience in itself.
Simi Winery, Kolin Vazzoler
SIMI Winery Executive Chef Kolin Vazzoler grew up in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where his Italian grandfather made wine and grappa in the cellar and the family devoted much time to their garden where vegetables thrived year-round in the mild, maritime climate. Putting together a meal was always about making the most of what was in season. “My family cooked Italian food that was rustic and casual,” Kolin says, “but we always used fresh ingredients and that made all the difference in the quality of the dishes. That experience I had growing up certainly lends itself to what is going on in California today.” In 2012, Kolin took his first winery position when he joined SIMI Winery as executive chef. Perhaps no winery could be more appropriate for someone with his background. “My father came over from Italy,” Kolin says, “the same as the two Simi brothers who started the winery. And I’m second-generation Italian—just as winery matriarch Isabelle Simi was.”
Spruce, John Madriaga
Chef de Cuisine
John Madriaga’s passion for cooking began at a very young age. Helping his mother prepare family meals, he quickly discovered food’s power to both unite and inspire. After graduating from San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, Madriaga took a position as a line cook at Woodside’s Michelin-starred The Village Pub, where he remained for two years, honing his skills under the direction of executive chef Mark Sullivan. In 2008, Madriaga left The Village Pub to work with chef David Kinch at Los Gatos’ Manresa. There, he garnered a great appreciation for vegetable-driven cooking and developed a steadfast adherence to seasonal and local ingredients. After leaving Manresa in 2009, Madriaga began an apprenticeship at Copenhagen’s Noma, where he continued to expand his skill set, working strictly with ingredients indigenous to the region. Upon his return to San Francisco, Madriaga rejoined Bacchus Management Group’s family of restaurants as a line cook at Spruce, and in April 2012, he was promoted to chef de cuisine. “I always knew I would come back and one day run a kitchen for founding partner Tim Stannard and chef Sullivan. It was the feeling of leaving your family for a period of time and returning to show them what you have learned and how you have grown as an individual.” Madriaga possesses a deep appreciation for seasonality and welcomes to the opportunity to utilize all of the Bay Area’s wonderful farms and artisans.
Spruce, Robert Vallejos
Many chefs have a deep-rooted backstory, about where they began their careers, the kitchens they worked in, the chefs they have worked for, and their extensive travels. When it comes to Chef Robert Vallejos, he has somewhat of a different story to tell, about how he got to where he is, and about his experience in the kitchen, and what brought him to Spruce as the pastry chef. His story is about dedication, friendships, and a sincere passion for what he does. After graduating from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California, Vallejos attended a local junior college. Like many, he wasn’t sure about what he wanted to do. One thing he did know was that he wanted to cook professionally. It’s what he did growing up as a child, continued to do as a young adult, and what he does so well today. These experiences are what led him to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduating in 2006, Vallejos began his externship at Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos, working alongside Chef David Kinch. It took Kinch a mere two months to recognize Vallejos’ innate talent, and hired him on full time. It was here where he met colleague and friend, Spruce’s chef de cuisine, John Madriaga. Fast forward six and a half years and you will find Chef Vallejos overseeing the pastry program at Spruce. Vallejos looks forward to challenging himself and growing his craft. Guests can be excited about desserts that are inspired by childhood memories, along with new creations that are influenced by an abundance of ingredients at hand. If he has it his way, every guest will enjoy dessert and be left with an unforgettable experience; whether it is his Caramelia Mousse and Devil’s Food Cake with Caramelized Cocoa Nibs and Banana Ice Cream, his giant cookies that are offered for take home in the Café, or his Spruced up version of his favorite candy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The Village Pub, Orlando Pagán
Orlando Pagán is the Executive Chef at the Michelin-starred The Village Pub, in Woodside, one of the Bay Area’s most highly regarded restaurants. Orlando works closely with farmers, ranchers, fisherman, and artisans to procure the finest ingredients for his refined American fare. Orlando’s culinary adventure began after he graduated high school in his native Puerto Rico. Soon after, Orlando moved to Miami, Florida to pursue a degree in culinary arts from Johnson and Whales University. During his studies, he gained real-life experience by cooking private dinners. Additional experience includes working as a sous chef at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove’s Bizcaya restaurant. After three years, Orlando decided to make the move west to San Francisco, California. It was here where he worked at a handful of highly acclaimed restaurants including Restaurant Gary Danko, Silks, Ame, and The Village Pub’s sister restaurant Spruce.Orlando’s cuisine is simple and refined, allowing for the true qualities of the ingredients to shine. His dishes represent his dedication to cooking within the season, and with the finest ingredients and technique possible.
Trace, Jason Rea
Chef Jason Rea brings nearly 15 years of experience in the food and beverage industry to his job as Executive Chef of W San Francisco, where he oversees W San Francisco’s entire culinary operations and menus for its catering and banquet facilities, room service, UPSTAIRS and Living Room bars, and W Hotels’ concept restaurant, TRACE. His accomplished culinary background includes positions at high-profile restaurants in some of the country’s most celebrated food and dining destinations, including New York City, Portland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Most recently, Chef Jason worked as Executive Sous Chef of Mina Group’s San Francisco urban wine bar and restaurant, RN74, and as Sous Chef of the Michelin-starred MICHAEL MINA San Francisco. Prior, he held stints at Water Grill in Los Angeles where he worked under acclaimed chef Michael Cimarusti, Bluehour in Portland, and Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town in New York City, which The New York Times awarded a glowing three-star review. His first ever culinary position was at Ciudad in Los Angeles, where he learned the ropes from acclaimed chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. Chef Jason received classic French culinary training and excels at blending exquisite technique with modern cooking methods and artistic plating. He maintains close relationships with Bay Area farmers and purveyors, bringing TRACE and W San Francisco guests the highest quality and most seasonal ingredients available.
Viognier, Chris Aquino
A native to San Mateo, Chef Chris Aquino has a rooted history at Viognier. During his tenure at the California Culinary Academy, Chris apprenticed under Executive Chef Scott Giambastiani of Viognier in 2005. Chris advanced under the tutelage of several chefs, quickly attaining the sous chef position. In 2009, he departed Viognier to work for Chef Anna Bautista at Madera Restaurant in Menlo Park. In 2010, Chris was called back to Viognier by Chef Preston Dishman to help man the stoves as his chef de cuisine. Now as Executive Chef, Chris does not see the Peninsula as his only influence and experience with food. Given the benefit of having a father who worked for an airline and a mother who kept him out of trouble by keeping him in the kitchen, Chef Aquino was allowed to explore and experience other cultures and their cuisines. From travels to his parents’ homeland in the Philippines, day trips with his father to have lunch in Chicago, and voyages to places such as New Orleans and Munich, Chef Aquino’s culinary inspirations have been influenced by his travels. Chef Aquino’s menu has been described as California ingredient driven with Southern sensibilities.