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.
Anzu Restaurant, Philippe Striffeler
A native of Switzerland, Philippe Striffeler began his culinary career by working with acclaimed chefs in both France and Switzerland. Before becoming the Executive Chef of Anzu Restaurant , he worked with Marriott’s top properties in Asia, Europe, and Saudi Arabia. During the World Culinary 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 refreshing 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.
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.
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.
Dirty Habit, David Bazirgan
David Bazirgan is the Executive Chef and General Manager of Dirty Habit, an edgy, sultry bar-centric restaurant and hideaway in San Francisco’s Hotel Palomar. In his most recent role as Executive Chef at Fifth Floor, Bazirgan perfected New American cuisine with a Mediterranean influence, and earned the restaurant three and a half stars from San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to Fifth Floor, Bazirgan served as Executive Chef at Chez Papa Resto at Mint Plaza and Jocelyn Bulow’s Baraka in Potrero Hill. Previously, he worked at Elisabeth Daniel in Jackson Square. Bazirgan’s dedication and talent was rewarded in the City by the Bay, as he garnered three stars for both Baraka and Chez Papa Resto from San Francisco Chronicle, and was awarded accolades including being named Rising Star Chef by San Francisco Chronicle and Rising Star by StarChefs. Before moving to San Francisco in 2003, Bazirgan was Chef de Cuisine for his longtime mentor, celebrity chef Barbara Lynch at her restaurant No. 9 Park in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. Bazirgan served as a member of No. 9 Park’s opening team, and over his several-year tenure at the restaurant, he meticulously crafted seven- to nine-course seasonal tasting menus to much acclaim. Previously, Bazirgan gained experience at a number of renowned Boston restaurants, including Stan Frankenthaler’s Salamander and Todd English’s Olives Restaurant. Barbara Lynch took note of Bazirgan’s remarkable drive, and connected him with his first job out of culinary school at the prestigious Galleria Italiana. Bazirgan earned his degree from Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Boston, where he immersed himself in the study of classical French techniques. From humble beginnings as a teenage dishwasher in his hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts, Bazirgan has always been passionate about serving great food. Since then, Bazirgan’s undeniable talent, innovative style and dedication to his craft have propelled him through the ranks of the culinary world.
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.”
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.
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.
Serpentine, Deepak Kaul
Once medical school bound, Deepak had to break it to his parents that he wanted to be a chef, not a doctor. His parents, first generation from Kashmir, didn’t take the news well at first, but once the decision was made, Deepak didn’t look back. He has worked in Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York City, London and locally at Jardiniére and Nettie’s Crab Shack. Deepak’s use of international spices from Thai chiles to fenugreek, as well as global cooking techniques like Japanese pickling methods add international twists to traditional American fare.
Spruce, John Madriaga
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.
St. Regis Hotel, Olivier Belliard
Olivier holds a Culinary Diploma in addition to a Masters Certificate in Hospitality Management, and began his career within an array of Michelin-star restaurants in Paris and the Caribbean. He worked closely with well-known talented chefs including Michel Rostang, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Nicolas Le Bec. His first Senior Management role took him to Beirut at “Le 5 Restaurant” of Mathieu Pacaud (3* Michelin). He started his career with Starwood in 2005 in opening the Sheraton Pattaya in Thailand where his accomplishments led him to senior roles within the group and to international exposure. He furthered his career with an assignment in Saudi Arabia, and spearheaded the opening of the Le Meridien Dahab Resort in Egypt in 2009. For the past 3 years he has overseen all culinary operations at LUX Le Morne.
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.
The Village Pub, Dmitry Elperin
Originally from Minsk, Dmitry Elperin attributes his passion for cooking to his early years, when he helped his mother prepare the family’s meals using fresh vegetables from their garden. After working in restaurant kitchens in his teens and graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Elperin began his career working at Red Sage in Washington, D.C. He moved to California four years later and has since worked in celebrated San Francisco restaurants with such talented chefs as Adrian Hoffman at One Market Restaurant, Daniel Humm at Campton Place, and Laurent Manrique at Aqua. His current position as executive chef at the Village Pub allows him to combine his innovative approach with his commitment to fresh, seasonal ingredients.
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.