San Francisco Bay Area Chefs Name Rising Talent

Chefs California

Michael Tusk (right) was one of five Bay Area chefs who identified upcoming culinary talent.

What’s next for the San Francisco Bay Area? I asked five successful Bay Area chefs, Who’s the chef who’s worked for you either now or in the past who you believe is destined for greatness, and why? Learn about rising chefs to watch in upcoming years.

Matthew Accarrino (SPQR)

There are any number of people who work for you who go on to do great things. One of my previous sous chefs is standing right behind me here. Miss Sheree Cheng. She used to be a cook for me in L.A. and came with me to San Francisco and worked for me for a number of years in San Francisco and eventually became my sous chef. She now works for Sang Yoon, who has Father’s Office and Lukshon here, and is really kind of his culinary operations person…It’s great to have people work for you, to mentor them and see them grow. A lot of people get that sense, and it’s great for all the success I’ve had, for people who have mentored me, to see that. It’s a very cyclical thing. It’s really nice.

Brad Farmerie (The Thomas)

The guys who have come through my kitchen who are destined for greatness, one is Matt Lambert. He opened a restaurant called The Musket Room. He was with me for five or six years. I’m really proud of what he’s doing. He’s really got a great vision and an amazing palate. Joanna Ware, she’s in Portland, Oregon, and has a restaurant called Smallwares. I’ve been there twice and been very impressed. She has amazing character and great soul.

Tyler Florence

Michael Thiemann, who’s the chef and owner of a restaurant called Mother in Sacramento, he’s really going to do some amazing things. Anthony Hoy Fong, who was my culinary director, now he’s partners with “Top Chef” and developing their “Top Chef University” online. Culinary producer JoAnn Cianciulli, who co-wrote my first book, she is now the executive culinary producer for “Master Chef” in Los Angeles. She’s the most sought after culinary producer in the country right now.

I can tell you the root system of the people I worked with are doing great things right now. I’m so proud of everybody I’ve had the pleasure of intersection with for any bit of time. What we’re doing right now is trying to develop ideas. I want to develop young talent and have people create amazing concepts and get through a lot of the red tape and the hassle that the generation before them have had to go through. Where it would take two years to develop something, let’s try and get it done in nine months. If you have a really fantastic concept, if we can help seed it or help fund it or help it, or just get started with a food truck. “Food Court Wars,” a new show I have on the Food Network, I’m so passionate about that, because I gave 13 restaurants away this year. These are young start-ups or food trucks that show passion. We gave them an opportunity that may not have ever knocked on the door before. I feel like I’ve been there and done that in a lot of different directions. Now I just want to focus on the people in my restaurants, really great, hard-working people, and create a more dynamic, new generation of chefs in America.



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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