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Executive Chef Gilbert Pilgram & Head Chef Rebecca Boice, Zuni Café
“The place just humming, looking like Judy described it: because of the shape of the restaurant, it looks like a slice of a cake... at night, when it's all lit up, it looks like you're having a party inside a cake...”

Our food should not be anonymous. That's what Zuni Café owner and executive chef Gilbert Pilgram learned from his grandmother in Mexico City, long ago, and it's a message that was echoed by the chef who propelled Zuni Café into the excellent restaurant it remains today: Judy Rodgers...

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Chef Melissa Perfit, Bar Crudo
“I was most interested in cinematography — I like the way light hits things... I realized cinematography translated to the plating of food and the way it looks...”

There is no shortage of seafood — or seafood lovers — in San Francisco, but Bar Crudo has been a favorite stopping place for many. The restaurant is now proudly celebrating ten years and we were lucky enough to meet with Chef Melissa Perfit...

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David Hanna, Tadich Grill
“He said, well, everything's good, but I have one little complaint — I come here for the great seafood and the surly waiters and you're too nice...”

New York has Peter Luger; San Francisco has Tadich Grill. Like the sharp and salty taste of briny oysters, there's something raw, familiar, and comfortable about the straight-shooting experience of dining at Tadich Grill...

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Steve Anderson, The Pig & Whistle
“Pubs [are] a mixture between a social club, obviously a drinking place and a restaurant, but also people throw church into the mix — that's where they go to feel comfortable and at peace...”

When Steve Anderson was a young man in London, working the PA systems and managing English punk bands, including none other than the Police, he had no idea that he'd soon go on vacation to San Francisco and never come back...

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Feldo Nartapura & Ruvi Dayao, Sataysfied
“We're not selling (just) food — we're selling a peace of mind for people. That's why we're here — to 'sataysfy' you...”

Sometimes, the best things that happen to us at first seem like tragedies. Feldo Nartapura had just started working at a startup in San Francisco — he'd signed a lease and started getting settled, but through an unexpected merger/acquisition, he suddenly lost his job. Needing a quick solution to pay rent, Nartapura turned to a favorite Indonesian family recipe...

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Chef Sara Hauman, Huxley
“I lean toward not doing anything too fancy. I like cracking jokes in the kitchen. If I spill something, it's not the end of the world.”
Chef Sara Hauman of Huxley, at only 28 years old, is already making waves through San Francisco's food scene — she was recently recognized by Eater as a Young Gun, joining a group of culinary professionals that have included future Top Chefs and James Beard Award winners. But Hauman isn't one to seek fame or traditional accolades...
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Chef Anthony Strong, Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina, & Locanda
“The smell of tomatoes every year just makes this wave of emotion come over me... There's this incredible stinging smell... so harsh, so hot and summery and kind of brash — you can smell that on a case of tomatoes that are unwashed and warm from the sun. Every year I'm taken right back...”
Episode ten of Menu Stories features the perfect guest: Executive Chef Anthony Strong of the beloved Delfina Restaurant Group, who is celebrating his tenth year as chef. Delfina Group's six restaurants are heavyweight Italian spots in the Bay Area, so I was pleasantly surprised when an excited, young, punk rock gentleman wearing a dozen tattoos and a slouched beanie half-ran over to greet me: ”Hi! Are you Rebecca? I'm Anthony.“...
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Lisa Fetterman, Nomiku
“Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to make love... The only thing that's more intimate than sex is food because at what other time do you put something inside of your body?”
Discover what Lisa Fetterman, co-founder and CEO of Nomiku, a sous vide cooking device company, has to say about food and sex, what it's like to put everything on the line to get your product off the ground, and how imaginative people can be with Nomiku, creating everything from the expected sous vide proteins to tie dye clothing to cannabis infused foods...
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Chef Brenda Buenviaje, Brenda's French Soul Food
“Growing up in New Orleans instills this joie de vivre — this big lust for everything. There's just this kind of freedom down there where you can do whatever you want... that laissez-faire 'I'm just gonna go for it' attitude. In some ways, growing up in such an open atmosphere really made me kind of fearless...”
Buenviaje, a woman whose family is a mixture of Filipino and Creole, was strongly influenced by both ethnic backgrounds, as well as the culture of her home town of New Orleans. This same influence that gave her the strength and boldness to launch her own set of restaurants has also subjected her to unpleasant situations...
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Caleb Zigas, La Cocina
“Being able to walk down Market Street is only as cool as Market Street... If all the businesses that front the new companies in these beautiful old buildings look and feel and taste the same, then you've lost the whole reason you invested millions of dollars in those buildings in the first place...”
What would the Mission be like without its vibrant murals? What would Valencia Street be like if you didn't smell carnitas sizzling as you walked down the street? These are the kinds of questions Caleb Zigas wants us to think about...
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Chef Adam Keough, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar and Arlequin Cafe
“When you go out to dinner, you're enjoying each others' company. It's not about the restaurant. The restaurant is here to enhance your night...”
Pizza nachos. That might sound strange, but that's the first dish Executive Chef Adam Keough ever created, as a nine year old, growing up in North Boston (he moved to South Boston soon after). The concoction, created for friends at a slumber party, was an instant hit. Keough was hooked on cooking...
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Chef Tim Archuleta & Erin Archuleta, ICHI Kakiya & ICHI Sushi + Ni Bar
“I just became obsessed with [sushi]. It's this thing where you're always trying to be better. It's this quest to be better at what you do...”
Chef Tim Archuleta and Erin Archuleta of ICHI Sushi + Ni Bar meet with Menu Stories editor, Rebecca Goberstein, in their newest restaurant, ICHI Kakiya, just one month after its opening...
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Miguel Jara, La Taqueria
“What's the most important piece in the car? The transmission? The motor? The door? Without any one of those parts, you got a problem. I think it's the same thing with our food... Every ingredient in the burrito is just as important as the meat.”
La Taqueria has been a local Mission favorite for over forty years, since Jara opened it in 1973. This no-frills Mexican restaurant is loved in large part because of the warmth and humor that Jara embodies. It's clear that Jara cares deeply about each and every one of his customers...
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Michael Feno, Lucca Ravioli Company
“Lose yourself for a few minutes, as if you're actually in Italy, and then you become a part of the family...”
We can't dine out every night. Nor would would we want to, for the sake of our wallets, our bellies, and for preserving the specialness of going out to eat. But cooking at home never has to be boring and those of us who love to prepare high quality food at home rely on specialty shops like Lucca Ravioli Company...
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Chef Gonzalo Guzman, Nopalito
“If I had to wash dishes, I would try to do my best. If they had me peel potatoes, I would do my best... Things are possible when you really work hard and you really want to make time for it...”
In the second episode of Menu Stories, Nopalito’s chef Gonzalo Guzman meets with Rebecca Goberstein on Nopalito on 9th's beautiful garden patio. The day was sunny, the kitchen was preparing for lunch, and the birds were kind enough to provide some background music. Raised in what he calls a "box" of a house in Veracruz, Mexico, Chef Gonzalo prepared his first meal, a pot of beans, at the age of six...
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Gwyneth Borden, Golden Gate Restaurant Association
“Restaurants are the places that build communities... it's where people live their lives.”
For the first episode of Menu Stories, Gwyneth Borden, Executive Director of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Restaurant Association, sits down with Rebecca Goberstein to discuss the importance of the restaurant community to San Francisco’s culture and economy, something that any city can identify with...
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