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Meet San Francisco’s new era of fine-dining cooks

San Francisco has lengthy been a bastion of nice eating, glittering with Michelin stars since 2007. The booming tech business, strong regional agriculture and a various, progressive eating public have all fuelled town’s culinary panorama over the previous couple a long time. 

Now a brand new era of younger San Francisco cooks are approaching nice eating with a extra artistic and sustainable mindset. Cuisines like Japanese-American residence cooking, New Nordic, trendy Chinese language and a nose-to-tail wagyu omakase are being elevated to haute delicacies, providing a extra experimental and memorable various to predictable French and Italian fare. 

Meet 4 passionate cooks representing this new era of boundary-breaking culinary excellence.

Peggy Tan

Chef de Delicacies, Gozu

Singaporean chef Peggy Tan transitioned from working in a meals science lab to cooking within the kitchen when she realised she’d fairly put contemporary tomatoes on a plate than right into a can. Her first abroad cooking alternative was an externship at Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco, the place she labored her means as much as sous chef below chef Marc Zimmerman. Now the 31-year-old chef is as soon as extra working with Zimmerman at a restaurant that’s extra of a wagyu omakase than a standard American steakhouse, with an emphasis on whole-animal butchery.

At Gozu, a stone’s throw from San Francisco’s iconic Ferry Constructing, diners sit at counter seats surrounding the fireplace of the restaurant, the place cooks cook dinner over reside fireplace and straight serve visitors for a uniquely intimate and interactive expertise. “A lot of our conceptualised dishes began as conversations with farmers and foragers, and capturing the perfect elements of the season,” Tan says. The ohitashi course is a major instance, a medley of seasonal greens steeped in dashi, served with a aspect of wagyu mousse to be unfold on nori Hokkaido-style milk rolls. 

In comparison with her hometown Singapore, the place most elements are imported year-round, Tan says that the menus in Northern California are way more influenced by the seasons and sustainability. “In San Francisco, there’s a a lot deeper connection to earth via the produce that we use,” she says. “This connection is a continuing reminder for us to not take meals with no consideration.”

Floyd Nunn

Chef de Delicacies, Eight Tables

This aptly-named restaurant has solely eight tables, a sublime jewel-box area hidden away on the second flooring of bustling China Stay, a Chinese language meals emporium in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It’s right here that chef de delicacies Floyd Nunn is defying expectations of Chinese language meals in additional methods than one.

I’m proving to individuals {that a} chef doesn’t should be Chinese language to cook dinner Chinese language-inspired meals

“Many diners have an unfair stereotype that Chinese language meals is reasonable and never price our price ticket,” Nunn says. Below govt chef and proprietor George Chen’s mentorship, Nunn has been in a position to push himself to new heights, working with Chinese language delicacies like fish maw and sea cucumber and conceptualising dishes outdoors the foundations of a Western kitchen. “Cooking is such a sensual process, and after I strategy a product I see it, really feel it, odor it, style it – all previous to cooking it,” he says. Dishes just like the jiu gong ge appetiser educate diners in regards to the 9 important flavours of Chinese language delicacies, every introduced as a pleasant chew in a vibrant porcelain bowl.

“I’m proving to individuals {that a} chef doesn’t should be Chinese language to cook dinner Chinese language-inspired meals,” he says. Each night time, Nunn says diners are stunned when he introduces himself because the chef. “These should not your grandmother’s recipes. We’re being artistic and progressive, mixing Japanese flavours with a Western model of eating.”

David Yoshimura

Chef/Proprietor, Nisei 

In December 2022, Nisei earned its first Michelin star for David Yoshimura’s new strategy to Japanese-American Washoku residence cooking. “The world of nice eating is oversaturated with culinary traits and comparable eating places, so at Nisei I need to give visitors one thing new to get pleasure from via the lens of my heritage,” he says. The 33-year-old chef is the only proprietor of Nisei, and has labored at many Michelin-starred eating places, together with most just lately Californios, earlier than opening his personal restaurant.

Yoshimura is an solely baby and grew up cooking quite a bit at residence for himself whereas his mother and father labored. He remembers botching a sushi dinner for his household as a child when he forgot so as to add sugar to the sushi rice. “I made probably the most inedible, acidic sushi and ruined dinner,” he recollects. “However I discovered two priceless classes – at all times style your meals and by no means, ever waste rice.”

Now he’s serving completely seasoned bamboo rice in an unagi bento with charcoal grilled not-too-sweet unagi alongside crunchy fried eel backbone, grated daikon and tsukemono daikon pickles. And that jet black curry? That’s Japanese curry completed with squid ink, Yoshimura’s extra refined twist on a katsu curry boxed lunch.

Harrison Cheney

Government Chef, Sons & Daughters

This up-and-coming British chef has utterly upended the menu at a tiny Nob Hill establishment that’s held a Michelin star for greater than a decade. Beforehand the chef de delicacies at Gastrologik in Stockholm, 29-year-old Harrison Cheney takes his minimalist New Nordic model of cooking to Sons & Daughters, and mixes it with contemporary inspiration from California’s bounty of produce.

Dishes like grilled diver scallop with caramelised cream and roasted potatoes, or sprouted buckwheat with pickled hedgehog mushrooms and uncooked walnuts exemplify how just some elements on the plate can burst with flavour. Caviar d’Aquitaine Perlita served with leeks and buttermilk represents his ingredient-driven, zero-waste cooking ethos. Cheney makes his personal buttermilk and repurposes the whey for this dish. He makes use of the complete leek stalk too. 

“I prioritised work over all the things at such a younger age,” he says. “I’m actually beginning to really feel all my laborious work come to fruition now that I’ve my very own menu and imaginative and prescient.”

Sons & Daughters seems like a model new restaurant below his management, with fewer elements on every plate and extra fermentation, and his lofty objectives embrace reaching a Michelin Inexperienced Star and second Michelin star. 

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