When I was a student of mathematics and
philosophy, I became deeply interested in how people’s experiences and
motivations define their individual realities. Rather than continuing to study
this in the abstract, I left academia and chose to explore my passion food as a
language of social connection and identity. For me, the beauty of great food is
in taking an ordinary part of life and making it extraordinary. Without the
benefit of formal culinary training, I turned to books and one on one learning
to hone my craft. I was fortunate to learn from many of America’s top chefs, as
well as with great cooks in humble kitchens around the world.
Eventually, I came to San Francisco and fell in love with the city. Its neighborhoods showed me a path to understanding and showcasing their identities through restaurants reflecting their identities. Through the efforts of hundreds of talented food professionals, I was fortunate to be honored with a James Beard Award and numerous successful Bay Area restaurants including LuLu, LuLu Bis, Café Marimba, Rose Pistola, Rose’s Café and Black Cat – ultimately garnering a total of 18 stars from the SF Chronicle.
I grew a successful company which continues to flourish. I wrote four books - travelled with many of my co-workers to France, Italy, Thailand, Hong Kong and Mexico. In the process I was able to share what I had learned about the world’s cultures and cuisines. Each of these places taught me so much about not only how to cook, but how people define themselves through the food they eat.
My passions extend beyond putting great food on a plate. After selling my company, I left the restaurant business to explore these passions. Over the last decade I learned about many new fields, while still focusing on design and food. In addition to running a small consultancy, I have worked on a number of challenging projects.
Spearheading a team of leading medical professionals in the design and development of a wellness and surgical recovery center in SquawValley (unbuilt)·
Working with the Patina Group and the Mammoth Mountain SkiArea as culinary lead on an ambitious project to take the Resorts f&b operations organc & sustainable. Designed and opened 3 restaurant outlets, negotiated cobranding deals with Niman Ranch, Horizon and Del Cabo,and revamped menus for 13 outlets with a maximum throughput of 25,000 people per day. Replaced their frozen USDA Utility grade hamburgers with Niman Ranch chuck ground on site in throughout the day, and transitioning from frozen and canned food based offerings to fresh, site prepared foods in the challenging settings of a remote resort with unskilled labor and highly uncertain visitor counts.·
Creating a video based modular training program at MMSA with HR integration.·
Leading the culinary direction of an innovative RFP to feed the Olympians in the Vancouver games - applying peer reviewed health and nutrition advances to create functional foods and drinks geared towards the needs of the Olympians·
Studying CAD and 3D design - inventing a patent pending tap wine system and a novel direct sales ecommerce wine list system.·
Managing web design, analytics, marketing and growth hacking projects. ·Studying HTML and CSS, as a path to learning UX design.
I am currently working on a project using technology to help people share their lives through the language of food. And I cook, pretty much every day.