Jackson trimming the fat.
What makes the S.F. food scene so special?
“When I came to this city a dozen years ago, I was really fortunate that on my first day someone brought me to the SOS Chefs event. And I had come from Los Angeles, which is nothing but hostile territory. So to walk into a room where there were a ton of people I knew and everyone said, 'I’m so happy you’re here. How are you?' It was like, ‘Aren't you going to stab me?' So I’ve learned working here that I can count on people and have friends that do what I do and that I can go off to dinner with them and talk about the stuff that keeps me awake at night. That’s how Dominique and I became good friends. We just sit down and talk as chefs and talk about ideas and inspirations. It's great being able to bounce ideas off of eachother. It’s an amazing supportive community. I’ve made leaps and bounds in my career because of other chefs in this city and I’m sincerely thankful. "
Who's your S.F. Chef crush?
“I mean, if we’re going to talk about on the hotness scale, c’mon, my partner [Dominique Crenn] is the wicked hottest of them all. And I recently found out that she’s hunting and fishing and killing things by herself, it sort of just blows the hotness factor off the scale. And the fact that she looks like she does and throws down in the kitchen like she does, it’s just incredibly sexy. Last night, though, I was standing next to a woman, Lynn, who has a burger joint, Roam Artisan Burgers. Oh. My. God. She’s cute and all, but she made this coconut milkshake that, if her burgers are anywhere close to her milkshakes, I have found a new home.”
This challenge was all about coffee. What's your favorite coffee shop in the city?
“My place. But if I had to drink coffee in the city, I’d go to Ritual. And that’s because the owner is a fucking fanatic. She’s about coffee ten-times what I am about food. And I’m pretty nutty about what I do. She scares me. I love their coffee, but for the program we’re doing, it wasn't quite what I wanted. So we went to Seattle to Cafe Vita and that’s what we serve. It's interesting because the coffee roaster they use there is actually from Vesuvio."
What three things are always in your kitchen?
“Right now, if I were to open up the refrigerator, there are gluten-free cookies, 50 pounds of foie gras, and bacon.”
What are your go-to off-the-clock dining spots?
“I don’t have that! My restaurant is 16 months old. I have been able to eat out twice in 16 months. The first time I was so tired I had to take it to-go. And on my birthday I went to Maverick, where one of my sous-chefs, Jonathan Pinksy, just finished his tenure.”
What’s up next for you?
“I would love take a day off. But that’s not going to happen. Right now it’s just about focusing on what’s coming at us over the next few weeks and making sure my crew is prepared for the winter. We’re starting to get a few parties and stuff like that. I just want to make sure we’re producing the best quality of food and service. And that’s beyond a full-time job.”
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