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.
A16, Christopher Thompson
Christopher Thompson is the executive chef and salumaio at San Francisco’s award-winning A16 restaurant. Although only in his early 30s, Thompson has already spent more than half his life in kitchens. He is driven by the challenging and exciting environment provided by the Bay Area and its proximity to the favorable growing region of Northern California farms. In May 2012, Thompson was promoted to the role of executive chef, while still retaining the title of salumaio, overseeing A16’s entire butchery and charcuterie program. Thompson genuinely enjoys training and coaching his team of chefs and finds satisfaction in overseeing the consistent output of high quality product.
A16, Rocky Maselli
A lifelong love of Southern Italian cuisine and expertise formed over 20 years in the kitchen led Rocky Maselli to A16 Rockridge in Oakland, CA. Prior to opening the restaurant Maselli embarked on a culinary field trip to Naples to earn his pizzaiolo certification from the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana and to garner inspiration for coastal dishes he could translate stateside. The Bay Area native returned to the East Bay to helm the A16 Rockridge kitchen after cooking for the past 15 years in restaurants throughout Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where he earned critical acclaim for his modern Italian cuisine. He earned his degree in hotel and restaurant management from City College of San Francisco. Maselli lives with his wife, Leah Pearl, and their twin daughters, Stella and Scarlett, who just turned 15.
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.
Bar Tartine, Nick Balla & Cortney Burns
Co-Chefs Cortney and Nick manage the kitchen of Bar Tartine in San Francisco. The food at this celebrated Mission district restaurant is hard to classify, except to say it relies heavily on local produce and the strong vision of it’s chefs towards layering bold flavors with powerful simplicity. Ingredients are painstakingly made in house. Aged cheeses, spices, koji, and bottarga to name a few, are all processed at the restaurant and form the foundation on which the constantly evolving menu is built. The menu at Bar Tartine is a celebration of diverse traditional flavors presented with a modern, post-regional generosity. A dinner might consist of flavors from Jutland, Hokkaido and Budapest within the same meal- the whole seeming utterly familiar. Varied whole grains and the use of fermentation inform the food, as well as the innovative natural leavened breads baked on premise daily by owner/baker Chad Robertson.
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!
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.
Copita Tequileria y Comida, Joanne Weir & Gonzalo Rivera
Joanne: Maestra de Cocina/Owner
Gonzalo: Executive Chef
Owner and Maestra de Cocina Joanne Weir and Executive Chef Gonzalo Rivera work hand-in-hand at modern Mexican restaurant Copita Tequileria y Comida, located in Sausalito, CA. Weir is a bona-fide celebrity chef, having recently completed 39 episodes for her PBS cooking series, “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence”, where she turns her home kitchen into the classroom as she works side-by-side with a real-world student for a hands-on cooking lesson. This series currently airs nationwide and it marks Joanne’s seventh season on PBS.
Copita is Weir’s first restaurant venture, and she is excited to be working with Rivera, who brings a rich culinary background and spirit with him, ranging from his grandmother’s kitchen to working with Michael Mina as he grew his empire and where he learned Mexican cooking. Born and raised in Gridley, California, he grew up with his parents and grandmother, all from Southern Mexico.
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.
Fifth Floor, David Bazirgan
As a student at Cambridge School of the Culinary Arts in Boston, Bazirgan was quickly recognized for his talent and drive. Chef Barbara Lynch, winner of “Top 10 Best New Chefs” in Boston Magazine, plucked him from the ranks, and gave him his first job out of school at the prestigious Galleria Italiana. Their mentorship and friendship bloomed, even as Bazirgan moved on to be a line cook with Chef Todd English at Olives Restaurant in Charlestown. In 1998, Bazirgan became Lynch’s Chef de Cuisine at No. 9 Park, where he helped her win the 2003 James Beard Award for ”Best Chef Northeast.” In November 2010, he took over as Executive Chef at Fifth Floor Restaurant, and is currently offering his menu which debuted in January of 2011.
Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco, Mark Richardson
Through his main course dishes that reflect traditional and local American fare, premium meats such as all-natural dry-aged rib eye from Brandt Farms, or grass-fed filet from Hearst Ranch, Richardson creates a variety of inventive sauces and playful and sociable small plates, perfect for sharing. These days, Richardson focuses on proper technique, seasoning, and care of provisions, especially the phenomenal produce of California. “I find it better not to do too much with each element, but rather to let flavors marry in harmony on the plate.”
Haven, Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson is a native of Richmond, Virginia. His first professional kitchen position was at The Home Ranch, Relais and Châteaux in Clark, Colorado, followed by St. Helena’s Restaurant Terra. In 2010, Johnson moved to Portland, Maine to work at Five Fifty-Five and Bistro Petite Jacqueline. Johnson joined DPG’s Coi in 2012, where he quickly rose to sous chef.
As chef of Haven, he will focus on whole animal butchery and cookery, and his love for the craft of charcuterie. Says Johnson, “I’m excited to work at Haven because it is a new start. I love the cuisine and ingredients California has to offer, and I am excited to continue working and pushing new boundaries for DPG.”
Johnson graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Corporate Communications and a minor in Hospitality and Tourism in 2005. He went on to earn a degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in 2008.
Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, William Roberts
Chef de Cuisine
Chef William Roberts received a degree in Classic Culinary Arts from The French Culinary Institute, New York. While attending high school, at age 16, Chef Roberts began working in restaurant kitchens. It was in his hometown of Fremont, California, where he started out as a dishwasher and prep cook at a local pizzeria. After graduation, Chef Roberts moved to Santa Cruz, where he began working at another pizzeria, Star Bene. It was here that he began to see food in a different way. Italian-owned, they made everything from scratch, teaching Roberts that food was more than sustenance. It was at this time that he began to realize his deep appreciation for ingredients. In 2005, Roberts applied for and was awarded a scholarship to the FCI and began his formal studies. After graduating, he remained in New York for five years, working at various restaurants, including Co., where he honed in on his pizza-making skills, Blue Water Grill, and the Michelin-starred Saul. In 2010, he returned home and joined the opening team of the new Michael Mina in San Francisco. Chef Roberts’ history with Bacchus Management Group began in late 2011, when he accepted an executive sous chef position at Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto. A year later, he began working at Mayfield’s big-sister restaurant, Michelin-starred The Village Pub in Woodside. When the opportunity arose for him to return to Mayfield as the chef de cuisine, he jumped on it.
Chef Roberts oversees the daily operations of the restaurant and works closely with his team to prepare ingredient-driven dishes, including pizzas, homemade pastas, salads, and meats and fowl, which are complemented by custom, freshly-baked breads and pastries from the restaurant’s adjoining bakery. Picture by www.chowtownstudios.com
Murray Circle at Cavallo Point, Justin Everett
With numerous awards and recognition under his belt, including Best Chef of Napa/Sonoma for 2009 and 2010, Justin has developed a following for his handcrafted charcuterie and whole-animal cooking. He uses a justify-right blend of both classic and modern cooking techniques but places emphasis on sourcing the best meat, fish and produce. He describes his food as “ingredient-driven” due to his long-standing relationships with local farmers, wine makers, ranchers, fishermen and other artisan producers. His menu reflects his respect for the growing seasons, ensuring that every herb, fruit and vegetable is picked at its peak. This attention to detail results in a complex combination of flavors and textures that enliven the character of each dish.
Justin was personally selected by Murray Circle’s founding Executive Chef Joseph Humphrey as his replacement after the two worked closely together at Auberge du Soleil. He looks forward to bringing his foundation of sustainability and respect for local products to Murray Circle. He is also excited to uphold the social responsibility that he has strived to maintain by “employing, feeding and supporting” his local community. In the past he has mentored local youth in the kitchen and has partnered with Benzinger Family Winery to foster an appreciation and respect for farming the land.
One Market, Mark Dommen
Since joining the Lark Creek Restaurant Group in 2004, Mark Dommen has upheld One Market’s traditions of excellence and innovation in American cuisine. Dommen developed his inventive style through work in some of the world’s most distinguished restaurants. Dommen has earned many professional accolades including a Michelin star for the third year in a row in the 2010 Guide, a 3½ star review from Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, his 2007 designation as a StarChefs “Rising Star” and the 2002 “Restaurant of the Year” award given to his restaurant Julia’s Kitchen by Esquire. Dommen says, “I truly enjoy experimenting with the freshest of ingredients to create entirely new and unexpected dishes. I make a point each day to ensure that the menu is a reflection of the finest produce prepared in a unique, delicious, and artistic way.”
The Park Bistro and Bar, Adam Carpenter
Adam Carpenter has spent most of his adult life in the restaurant business. A Bay Area native, Carpenter attended Diablo Valley College and graduated from their prestigious culinary program. Carpenter joined the Blackhawk Grille team as a line cook, and worked his way to senior sous chef. Carpenter then had the opportunity to further his experience by working at the Napa Valley Grille and Left Bank Brasserie.
Carpenter eventually returned to Blackhawk Grille as the executive chef where he honed in on his craft and worked closely with chefs Scott Sasaki, who trained at the French Laundry, and Daniel Amaya, both of whom he considers mentors. Carpenter became the executive chef at Ponzu, located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district and specialized in Asian fusion cuisine. After his experience at Ponzu, Chef Carpenter became the executive sous chef at the Grand Café, located inside Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco.
Following his work at The Grand Café, Chef Adam joined the team at Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen. The immensely popular restaurant and bar quickly became recognized throughout San Francisco for serving creative handcrafted cocktails and delicious hearty bar bites, from the talented Chef Adam Carpenter.
Now at The Park Bistro & Bar, Chef Adam’s menu is comprised of fresh, contemporary dishes that showcase the unique bounty of Northern California and make innovative use of local and organic ingredients. Carpenter currently lives in Pleasant Hill and when he’s not in the kitchen, he can be found playing with his two young sons.
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.
SeaGlass, Loretta Keller & Clay Reynolds
Loretta Keller arrived in San Francisco in 1985 after traveling extensively throughout France and Italy and then cooking for three years in New Orleans restaurants. After working with Jeremiah Tower for several years at Stars and Stars Café, Loretta opened Bizou in 1993 earning her status as one of San Francisco’s preeminent female chefs. In 2005, she transformed the space and the menu into COCO5OO, which has become an anchor in the dynamic South of Market district and a regular fixture in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top 100” restaurants. Ms. Keller established a new standard for museum dining in San Francisco with the launch of the Academy Café and the Moss Room Restaurant in 2008 at the California Academy of Sciences. She recently opened SEAGLASS Restaurant and seismic joint cafe in the new Exploratorium on pier 15, further changing the way we eat at museums in the bay area. Loretta is known for her use of high-quality, small production ingredients in menus heavily influenced by the flavors of southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
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.
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.
In his spare time, Jason enjoys golfing, bike riding, sailing the San Francisco Bay, traveling through Northern California, and studying astronomy and human history.
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.