I started cooking at the age of 17 in the pastry department of a busy Italian Restaurant in downtown San Francisco. From there I went to culinary school in upstate New York. I continued to work in restaurants in San Francisco and New York, trying to learn as much as I could about the craft.
The cuisine at Saison is based on taking the best ingredients possible from our back yard, whether that be, seafood from the Pacific or meats and produce from California and combine them with open fire cooking. Together with some of the worlds best ingredients, open fire cooking and the experience and input of our talented chefs, we try and create simple but impactful dishes.
It is important for us to work with local farmers and purveyors who have a passion for their craft. As a restaurant that is constantly challenging ourselves to push the limits of what we do, we look to partner with people in California who have that same drive to create something excellent, sustainable and that is conscious of the footprint we leave behind in the environment. In my experience, when two passionate parties challenge each other to reach a common goal, something special is usually coming from it.
When creating dishes, I try to say as much as I can with as few words as possible, the best food should be beautiful, focused and concise. It is also important to me that the food has soul, the most important thing is that when a guest sees the dish they get excited, and when they taste it, it’s followed by delight.
I think a chef’s greatest legacy is when other chefs leave their kitchen and become successful. When a cook comes into my kitchen, their future becomes my responsibility. It is important for me to pass on what I know about food, technique, leadership, professionalism and the confidence to step out and chase after what they want.
Don’t be afraid of any technique or ingredient. Do your research and give it your best shot and one way or another you learn something that will make your next meal even better. I have made more mistakes than successes and that is how I learn.