Executive Chef Suzette Gresham — Acquerello
“It is my mission to find a way to help people see the beauty and survive the rest so they, too, can create on that level...”

Over the course of nearly thirty years, Acquerello has grown from being one of San Francisco's favorite romantic dining spots to a renowned two-Michelin-starred destination. With such an impressive resume for the restaurant and with the level of elegance that greets you at the door, you might expect to see the stereotypical stuffy, arrogant chef in the kitchen, yelling at the staff while throwing around plates and expletives. Instead, you'll find the woman who created this restaurant — the incredibly warm, passionate, and approachable executive chef/owner, Suzette Gresham.

Gresham and her business partner, Giancarlo Paterlini, opened Acquerello after working together at an Italian restaurant in the 80s. As Gresham shares in the episode, the loyal clientele that followed them to their new venture expected the same excellent food, but Gresham and Paterlini pushed themselves to wow their patrons with an even better experience, from every aspect. The result is the thriving, decorated restaurant the culinary world knows today.

Listen to the episode to hear Gresham share how the love of food and cooking runs deep in her family, how she learned to use her strengths to make her an effective leader in the kitchen, and discover what motivates her every day as a chef. Be sure to subscribe to Menu Stories to get more episodes like this one delivered to your inbox.

The dimly lit romantic ambiance at Acquerello features flowers and beautiful glassware Chef Suzette Gresham collects the freshest ingredients for her restaurant
The ravioli dish is carefully plated A chef works on heirloom tomatoes for a dish at Acquerello
Juicy heirloom tomatoes are prepared in the kitchen
One of the chef's loyal patrons brings fresh ingredients for the Acquerello team to pickle and enjoy themselves Pickled jars of home-grown vegetables from a long-time Acquerello diner
When in season, fresh lobster is offered as a special on Acquerello's tasting menu
Chef Suzette Gresham prepares the main course plate A chef preps mushrooms for dinner service at Acquerello
Silver platter lids at Acquerello
Every detail counts at a two-Michelin-starred restaurant like Acquerello Avocados are meticulously sliced
Chef Suzette Gresham has earned two Michelin stars at Acquerello, while keeping the restaurant thriving for nearly 30 years. The finished ravioli course Crudo served on thinly sliced avocado at Acquerello The main course at Acquerello's seasonal tasting menu is plated to perfection  Meticulously constructed berry dessert at Acquerello

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