“As Fresh as it Gets” Winners
Executive Chef, Viognier
Chef Preston Dishman is no stranger to new environments — he’s worked in North Carolina, New York, Florida and California. Currently he’s the executive chef at Viognier restaurant in downtown San Mateo, located above Draeger’s Market.
Dishman, 38, has experienced both the culinary and management side of the restaurant business, but his philosophy remains the same: It’s about hospitality and making people happy.
"A lot of food experiences — and I’ve been to them myself — are very cerebral now," said Dishman. "For me, I want you to come down and eat and say ‘Wow, that was great, I’d like some more.’”
Dishman came to work at Viognier in 2008 after leaving his chef job at The General’s Daughter restaurant in Sonoma. Dishman’s style of cooking is classic French with a California influence. He said cooking school taught him more techniques and the skills to organize ingredients and kitchen tasks.
"It made sense to me," he said.
The French were the first to use those organization methods in cooking, Dishman said, and he still uses that logical approach with whatever ingredients he cooks. But Viognier is very much a California restaurant as well, Dishman said, because a lot of the produce, seafood and meat he uses are local, and the style — including plating — are more rustic here than in places like New York.
Using local food is a priority for Dishman, and he said he wasn’t always able to use only local product. However, he said, “flavor is still the key ingredient,” and if there is a product grown farther away that has better flavor, that’s better for the customer. Since he uses so much seasonal product, he said the menu at Viognier changes almost once a week but during the summer dishes with seafood and produce like tomatoes are popular.
Growing up on his family’s North Carolina farm, he said he was always aware of seasonal and local food and using everything about a product. His grandmothers cooked from the garden, he said, and he now he tries to use the best local product possible.
As a teenager, however, he tried work that would take him away from the farm, and his first job was scooping ice cream.
"Cooking chose me — I didn’t really choose it," Dishman said. "I didn’t know enough to actually choose it."
Dishman worked his way up through the ranks. The foundation of doing every kind of job in the business and not feeling above any job is important and missing from a lot of people, he said.
Dishman enrolled in a local college for two years while still working in restaurants but at 19 decided the classroom environment wasn’t right for him. He eventually became the chef de cuisine at the Eseeola Lodge in North Carolina, where he met his wife Nichole. In 2000, Dishman and his wife moved to New York so he could attend the French Culinary Institute.
Dishman has been recognized many times over for his work and talent. He’s won the Carneros Wine Alliance’s "Taste of Carneros" lamb cooking competition a few times and has been in many articles and magazines, including Gourmet magazine when he was the executive chef at The General’s Daughter. He’s also been on "View from the Bay" three or four times.
Executive Chef, Navio
Fourth in his family, and only second in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to earn the title Maître Cuisinier de France (French Master Chef), Xavier Salomon is a fifth-generation restaurateur with a passion for food that began at his family’s kitchen table in Savoie, France. His European tenure includes training under Jo Rostang at his Michelin three-star restaurant La Bonne Auberge in Antibes, France. Chef Salomon continued his education at Le Bateau Ivre in Courcheval and graduated from Thonon les Bains Culinary Academy. In 1991 he joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Aspen and in 1996, he moved to Atlanta as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead.
Chef Salomon joined The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in July 2001, where he oversees all dining experiences at the Northern California resort, including the signature fine dining restaurant Navio, The Conservatory Lounge, The Library, and 17,000-square-feet of banquet and wedding suites and ballrooms.
Executive Chef & Partner, Sam's Chowder House
Executive Chef & Partner Lewis Rossman, a rising culinary star, brings more than twelve years of extensive culinary experience at some of the Bay Area's top dining spots to Sam’s Chowder House. For Rossman, working with food is an art form, and he is intensely passionate about creating exceptional menus.
Rossman grew up in rural Buck's County, a charming area outside of Philadelphia filled with farmlands, wineries, and local artisans, reminiscent of California's Napa Valley. The eldest of five children, Rossman inherited his parents' love of fine food and cooking - a love that would eventually guide his future. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, he worked at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel. A sustained curiosity about the foods of other countries led Rossman to supplement his formal education with extensive travels throughout the Mediterranean. His visits to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel helped to shape his understanding and appreciation for simple, rustic cooking, inspiring his keen enthusiasm for incorporating local farmer's produce into his menus.
For inspiration, Rossman looks to the cuisine of the Mediterranean region, his background growing up going to the beaches on the Eastern seaboard, as well as to the bountiful farms right in his own back yard. He has established long-lasting relationships with a number of specialty farmers around Half Moon Bay, and says "I can't explain how inspiring it is when farmers bring me an incredibly fresh product that's unique to their farm."
His collaboration with his partners Paul and Julie Shenkman on Sam’s Chowder House has been a real labor of love and a truly special project for Rossman. Growing up on the East Coast he has many wonderful memories of summers spent on the eastern seaboard and recollects sharing many great meals at the relaxed and laid-back fish houses on the Atlantic. “When Paul first mentioned this project to me—I knew we had something special here. I’ve been in the Bay Area for more than ten years now and bringing this concept to the place we both call home, means a lot to both of us,” says Rossman. “It’s also been a fantastic learning experience to be involved with something from the initial conception of the idea through the actual opening and seeing the project come to life.”
Rossman is responsible for overseeing the development, creation and execution of the menus at Sam’s Chowder House, as well as the items sold in the on-site market. He is working closely with the kitchen staff to ensure that the food and service mantra is about quality and consistency, and matches the high standards that he sets for himself and for his team. “Paul and I both take a lot of pride in giving our guests the best possible experience, and my goal is to make sure this carries through at Sam’s.”
Executive Chef, Donato Enoteca
"For me, opening Donato Enoteca is a dream. It's so gratifying to be able to create the kind of restaurant that honors my heritage and welcomes guests to my doors like they are part of my own family," says Executive Chef Donato Scotti. "I want this to be a place where people will become regular guests and fall in love with the cooking, atmosphere and sense of Italian hospitality."
Set in the heart of downtown Redwood City, Donato Enoteca offers true and honest contemporary Italian cuisine from Executive Chef Donato Scotti that changes weekly determined by the freshest available seasonal produce. Homemade pastas, wood-burning oven pizzas, meat and fish courses are available, executed in an authentic yet modern way. The menu spans every region of Italy and incorporates artisanal products, such as fresh imported burrata, prosciutto, grappa and olive oil. Other in-house specialties include sausages, mostarda and lamb prosciutto. The wine list focuses on smaller-production boutique wineries from Italy, California and France.
Donato Enoteca is a modern, cleanly-designed space with three dining areas to accommodate a variety of options for guests. An open kitchen, bar/enoteca lounge and private Wine Cellar room are highlights of the restaurant. A wrap-around patio allows guests to dine al fresco, under shade umbrellas and heat lamps.
Ray and Eugenia Chiesa have operated G. Berta, the little farm and produce stand on Highway 92, for over three decades now. Eugenia's father, G. Berta, started farm operations back in 1924 and built the stand in 1934. "Never saw the need to change the name," the Chiesas say.
G. Berta sells peas, beets, Swiss chard, and carrots, all grown on just 13 acres. "Farming here is nothing like farming elsewhere. Because of the sea and the way weather channels through our valleys, every farm faces different growing conditions," says Chiesa.
Don't mention cooking your peas to Ray Chiesa. "Fresh, raw peas are the best. As one customer tells me, 'If I wanted to cook them, I'd buy them frozen.'"
The Chiesas put in long days: "Most days I start on the farm by 7 a.m. About 10 a.m. I open the stand. Summer weekends we try to stay open till at least 7 p.m. It makes for a long day." G. Berta is open year-round.
Excerpt from Local Peas by Joe Devlin and Emily Berk
Executive Chef, Quattro, Four Seasons
Four Seasons Tenure: Started 1998, First Four Seasons Assignment: Four Seasons Hotel Milano
Employment History: Four Seasons Resort Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt; Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto; Sartoria Restaurant, London; D.O.C. Restaurant, Hamburg, Germany; Le Corta Hotel & Restaurant, Tuscany; Annabel Private Club; Kempinski Hotels, Berlin; George Private Club, London; Restaurant Chandelier, Milano; Billionaire Private Club, Flavio Briatore Property, Sardinia, Italy; Café del Gusto Restaurant, London; Carpaccio Restaurant, Hotel Royale Monceau, Paris; Four Seasons Hotel Milano; Relais & Chateaux, Locanda dell Amorosa, Tuscany
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Education: Ecole Hotelier de Varazze
Languages: Italian, English, French
"There is always something to learn," says Marco Fossati – and coming from a culinarian of his caliber, that’s a mouthful. Appointed Executive Chef de Cuisine of Quattro at Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto in fall 2010, Fossati arrived with two decades experience earned across Europe, the U.S and the Middle East. Sixteen stops altogether – from private clubs to the first Michelin-starred Italian restaurant in Paris – none longer than two years and most focused on the cuisine of his youth. "I'm in love with Italian cuisine, but every kitchen is a new experience: The culture, the mentality, the way things are prepared. There is always something to learn."
Like many Four Seasons chefs who hail from Italy, Fossati’s career path began cooking Sunday dinners at his grandparents' side. His grandfather, who took care of the appetizers, had been Executive Chef of the Rex, a renowned Italian cruise liner featured in the Hollywood classic Dodsworth (1936) and later sunk by the Royal Air Force during World War II. His grandmother handled the main dishes: Just a half-dozen or so, each simply prepared. "To this day, I don’t mind rising early to cook," says Fossati, fondly. “Sleep is unnecessary if I’m making people happy."
Though he considers himself shy, Fossati is actually an engaging conversationalist. “I make a real effort to talk to guests,” he says, estimating that half who pull up a seat at Quattro take his recommendations rather than look at the menu. They’re rewarded with northern Italian-inspired fare created from ingredients at the height of seasonality. “It doesn’t matter if the peak lasts one week or two, that’s when we’re going to use it,” he insists.
Whatever the time of year, Fossati keeps things simple and lets individual flavors carry each dish. Now right at home in Palo Alto, Fossati is enamored of Northern California’s seaside climate, abundance of product and serious embrace of good food. Why, there’s even an ocean just minutes away – the perfect playground to test his advanced diving skills. Just don’t expect to find Fossati in his scuba gear soon. “I must admit, I’m a little timid,” he says. "I've heard too many stories of Great White Sharks off the California coast."
Jesse has been dedicated to sustainable agriculture and cuisine for more than 30 years. By supporting local food production and farmers, those she warmly refers to as her heroes and the first real environmental pioneers, her work in the food business, supports her politics and philosophy.
Jesse’s work has expanded from her local community, to a national and international audience. She has traveled around the globe connecting to local farmers, shop keepers and families’ embracing what is local, sustainable and to what connects us.
Jesse has been the creative force behind five unique restaurants and the author of six books as well as numerous articles. She is a much sought after spokesperson, speaker, teacher and presenter. Jesse spends her free time in her community garden and even offers tours of her garden to local school children.
Dr. Thomas Fogarty
Thomas Fogarty Winery
Dr. Thomas Fogarty founded his namesake winery in 1981 following a decade of non-commercial winemaking in the historic Chaine d’Or (Golden Chain) region of the Santa Cruz Mountains. What began as a hobby in a mountain cabin has evolved into one of the most respected wineries on the San Francisco Peninsula. Located less then an hour south of the city, Thomas Fogarty is one of the closest winery’s for the quintessential California Wine Country experience. Here, we produce ultra-premium wines that are truly handcrafted in a spectacular boutique vineyard setting.
Dr. Fogarty, a Stanford cardiovascular surgeon and world renowned medical device inventor, and Winemaker Michael Martella, began planting vineyards on the high elevation terrain in the late 70’s. The two were pioneers in planting both pinot noir and chardonnay on the very challenging and rugged slope of the northern section of the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation.
Born in Yorkshire, England, Dee Harley’s life is surrounded by good friends, good family - and really good food. Realizing her dream of blending family, local farming and gourmet food, Dee started Harley Farms fourteen years ago with just six goats.
She rebuilt a 1910 cow dairy farm that now houses the cheese making room and milking parlor - and scattered across her 9 acre farm roam 220 American Alpine goats who produce over 500 kids each Spring (definitely the time to visit!).
Chef, Lisa Brady Catering
Raised on the Peninsula, Tim Hilt, the new chef at Lisa Brady Catering, has returned home. Tim’s love for cooking started as a small boy when he began preparing the family dinner once a week. Hilt states “I always was fascinated by food, I told my parents I wanted be a pizza man when I grew up.” He learned the connection of farm to table cooking early on with family trips to Sebastapol to pick apples and the subsequent return home to turn their harvest into as many different items as possible. At 17, he began cooking professionally in local restaurant kitchens.
Tim Hilt brings to Lisa Brady Catering a quiet maturity and sensible approach that translate into an extraordinary dining experience. “I'm a perfectionist, I always strive for 100%, if you stop learning and growing you’ll never get any better,” he comments. Still learning and experimenting, Tim is fueled by a strong connection to his childhood food memories. Tim remarks “I use fresh ingredients in new ways and want people to say that it tastes good, and that everything made sense. “His Contemporary American menu derives its roots from French, Mediterranean, and Pacific Rim cuisines.”
Pietro Parravano, Half Moon Bay, is the President of the Institute for Fisheries Resources. He serves as a harbor commissioner with the San Mateo County Harbor District. Since his tenure with the Pew National Ocean Commission, he has been active in promoting its recommendations of reforming ocean policy. He is a member of the Roots of Change Council whose goal is to achieve a sustainable food system in California. He has received numerous awards from all levels of government for his advocacy of sustainable fishing. He received his master’s degree in biology from Eastern Michigan University.
Arcangeli Deli & Wine - http://www.normsmarket.com
Duarte’s Tavern - http://www.duartestavern.com
Flea Street Café - http://www.cooleatz.com
It’s Italia - http://www.itsitaliarestaurant.com
Navio - http://www.naviorestaurant.com
Pasta Moon - http://www.pastamoon.com
Quattro @ Four Seasons Silicon Valley - http://www.quattrorestaurant.com
Sam’s Chowder House - http://www.samschowderhouse.com
Town - http://www.townsc.com
Viognier - http://www.viognierrestaurant.com
Café Gibraltar - http://www.cafegibraltar.com
Calafia Café - http://www.calafiapaloalto.com
Capellini - http://www.capellinis.com
Cascade Bar & Grille – Costanoa Resort – http://www.costanoa.com
Chantilly - http://www.chantillyrestaurant.com
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company - http://www.hmbbrewingco.com
St. Michael’s Alley - http://www.stmichaelsalley.com
Swiftwater Café @ Hyatt SFO -www.sanfranciscoairport.hyatt.com
The Mountain House - http://www.themountainhouse.com
The Van’s Restaurant “On the Hill” - http://www.thevansrestaurant.com
Corporate Award Winners
Atom Café at Google – http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Beta Cafe at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Café Youtube at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Charlie’s Cafe at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Childcare/BA at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Crave Café at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Evolution Café - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Jia at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Pastry at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Pure Ingredient Café at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Slice Vegan Café at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Steam Café at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
The Alley at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
The Lunch Box at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Victoria Deli at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
Yoshka’s Café at Google - http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html
231 Ellsworth - http://www.231ellsworth.com
Acqua Pazza - http://www.acqua-pazza.com
Astaria - http://www.astariasm.com
Bay 223 – Sofitel S.F. Bay - http://www.sofitel-sanfrancisco-bay.com
Café Capistrano - (650) 726-7699
Cameron’s Restaurant and Pub - http://www.cameronsinn.com
Casey’s Café - http://caseyscafeofhalfmoonbay.com
Chez Shea - http://www.chez-shea.com
Coconut Bay - http://www.coconutbayrestaurant.com
Cooks Seafood, Inc. - http://www.cooksseafood.com
CreoLa Bistro - http://www.creolabistro.com
Donato Enoteca - http://www.donatoenoteca.com
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse - http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com
Goose & Turrets B&B - http:/goose.montara.com
Great American Grill - http://www.hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com
Half Moon Bay Lodge - http://www.halfmoonbaylodge.com
John Bentley’s Redwood City - http://www.johnbentleys.com
Joy Sushi - http://www.joysushi.net
Kincaid's Fish, Chop & Steakhouse - http://www.kincaids.com
Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn - http://www.landisshores.com
Little India Restaurant - http://www.littleindiacuisine.com
Martins West - http://www.martinswestgp.com
Miramar Beach Restaurant - http://www.miramarbeachrestaurant.com
Moonraker – http://www.moonrakerpacifica.com
Osteria Coppa - http://www.osteriacoppa.com
Pescadero Creek Inn - http://www.pescaderocreekinn.com
Piacere - http://www.piacererestaurant.com
Porterhouse - http://www.porterhousesm.com
Princeton Seafood Company - http://www.princetonseafood.com
Que seRaw seRaw - http://www.queserawseraw.com
Roti Indian Bistro - http://www.rotibistro.com
Sapore Italiano - http://www.saporeitaliano.org
Spiedo Ristorante - http://www.spiedo.com
The Family Chef - http://www.amythefamilychef.com
The Melting Pot - http://www.meltingpot.com
Top of the Market - http://www.thefishmarket.com
Zibbibo - http://www.zibibborestaurant.com