Executive Chef Mark Liberman & Matt Semmelhack — AQ
“Seasonality is very fluid — the day that it becomes autumn on the calendar has very little to do with when tomatoes go out of season, in San Francisco especially...”

Mercer Restaurant Group is doing something unique in San Francisco. Much like Dan Barber's Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, Matt Semmelhack's Mercer is creating an ecosystem that brings the farm-to-table concept together as tightly as possible — the restaurant group also owns a farm, which is starting to provide ingredients directly to its restaurants.

Semmelhack and Mark Liberman met at the inception of Mercer Restaurant Group and together opened its flagship restaurant, AQ. Liberman and Semmelhack have created a serious force in San Francisco in just a handful of years and take the entire spectrum of food to heart, as we learn in this special two-part series.

With episode 32, we begin with the story of AQ and learn about the vision that drives the Mercer ecosystem. In the second part of the story, episode 33, we travel to Mercer Restaurant Group's ranch in Cloverdale, several hours north of San Francisco, and take Menu Stories on its first farm adventure to see how the fresh California produce we keep hearing about is actually produced.

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Note: This episode contains some content and language that may not be suitable for children or sensitive ears.

The restaurant's backers are honored with a name on the brick wall
Honeycomb style mirrors show the AQ reflection AQ changes its menu and its decor to reflect the seasons - tulips for summer.
Chef Mark Liberman heads the kitchen at AQ
Cooks work hard to prep for dinner service at AQ Butterflies adorn the brick walls of AQ to signify the season
Matt Semmelhack, the founder of Mercer Restaurant Group, in the private dining room of the group's flagship restaurant, AQ Vegetables are brought in from Mercer Restaurant Group's farm in Cloverdale, Sonoma Sliced fresh vegetables at AQ
Fresh roasted asparagus Fresh spring vegetables
The asparagus dish is prepared The finished product Herbs are selected for plating Glazed pork A spring-summer vegetable appetizer Chef Mark Liberman focuses on plating a dish A seemingly pollen-covered dish sparkles in the light Matt Semmelhack and chef Mark Liberman have worked together since Mercer Restaurant Group and AQ's beginnings The beautiful dishes at AQ

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