How to Sneak a San Francisco Chef Into Your Kitchen

Plus Four Recipes with On-Hand Ingredients to Bring San Francisco Home

Guest post by Laurie Armstrong Gossy

You can’t visit them (yet) and they can’t come to you but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the creativity, expertise, and delicious cuisine of some of San Francisco’s top chefs in your home while you shelter in place and help flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meet San Francisco Chefs

San Francisco Travel, the city’s official marketing organization, offers a library of video interviews with some of the most trendsetting chefs, including the creative forces behind restaurants such as Atelier Crenn, b. patisserie, Benu, Besharam, El Huarache Loco, Lord Stanley, NOPA, State Bird Provisions, and others. These friendly features explore how they developed their craft and what they love about the City by the Bay.

Where the Chefs Go

San Francisco Travel also asked top chefs like Dominique CrennCorey LeeStuart Brioza and Nicole KrasinskiHeena Patel, and Evan and Sarah Rich what they treasure about their corners of San Francisco.

Cookbooks by San Francisco Chefs

Making recipes from cookbooks by San Francisco chefs is like having a coach right in your kitchen.

Whip up Rich Table’s most desired dishes courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Rich’s recipes. Brioza and Krasinski have put some of State Bird Provision’s most in-demand delicacies into their cookbook. To bring Michelin-starred excellence to the table, grab Charles Phan’s “The Slanted Door,” named after his famous Ferry Building restaurant.

Put that pasta maker to good use and follow the instructions of chef Thomas McNaughton in “Flour + Water: Pasta.” 

Bring one of San Francisco’s most famous culinary traditions home with “We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream.” La Cocina helps chefs from immigrant backgrounds and communities of color launch their businesses. The cookbook features cuisines from 17 countries and tells the stories of more than 40 people behind the delicious recipes.

For authentic Jewish cuisine, get a copy of “Eat Something,” the official cookbook of Wise Sons Delicatessen. Full of tasty recipes and wry humor, this book will have you cooking so well you’ll make your Bubbie proud.

Put on a favorite black-and-white movie while you create a meal from Foreign Cinema’s cookbook and you’ll feel like you’re a part of this famous Mission District mainstay. 

Vegans and vegetarians will delight in chef Annie Somerville’s creations from Greens.

Tacos are as much fun to make with your family as they are to eat, so gather the kids and try some recipes from Tacolicious.

Lastly, if you want to attempt some of San Francisco’s most famous meals, get “The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.”

These books can be found on Amazon or Indiebound

On-Hand Recipes from San Francisco Chefs

San Francisco Travel asked several top chefs to provide recipes with ingredients that most people already have on hand (eliminating the need to go in search of possibly hard-to-find items).  The results are a menu of delicious and comforting meals to make with family and friends.

Chef Michael Whiteman, Bluestem Brasserie: Roast Chicken with Vegetable Medley


  • 150 g kosher salt
  • 115 g granulated sugar
  • 4 qts water
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Vegetables (mushrooms, asparagus, squash)
  • Cloves of garlic
  • Butter and lemon juice


  1. Combine salt, sugar, and 1 qt water in a small saucepan and heat to fully dissolve salt and sugar.
  2. Pour hot mixture into remaining 3 qts cold water and stir to combine. Put this brine in the fridge without a top to cool more while you work on the next step.
  3. Truss your chicken. (Here’s a helpful video.)
  4. Once your brine is completely cool, add your chicken to it. Cover and let sit overnight.
  5. The next morning, bring 4 qts of unsalted water to a boil.
  6. When at a rolling boil, add the chicken and cook for 60 seconds.
  7. Remove from water, drain the water from the cavity of the bird, and place it on a plate or small sheet tray breast side up. Allow the chicken to cool in the fridge until dinner time.
  8. Heat the oven to 500F and rub the skin of the chicken with a small amount of olive oil.
  9. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 160F and allow to chicken to rest for 10 minutes, bringing the final temperature up to 165F before carving.
  10. Clean and cut the mushrooms into quarters (depending on size). Trim the ends from the asparagus and cut into 1″ pieces. Cut squash into bite-size pieces.
  11. Add a little bit of oil and chopped garlic to an appropriate sized sauté pan. Remember to not overcrowd!
  12. When the garlic is fragrant, add the vegetables, a little bit of the juices from the cooked chicken, a little bit of lemon juice, and a knob of butter.
  13. Cover with a lid to steam the vegetables and reduce the liquid to a sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chef Joanne Weir, Plates & Places: Eggs in Purgatory Amatriciana (serves 2)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces bacon, cut into ¾-inch pieces (can substitute pancetta or guanciale)
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 ½ cups canned Italian Mutti Polpa tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Toasted bread or focaccia


  1. Preheat an oven to 400F.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very lightly golden (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add the onions and crushed red pepper and cook until the onions are soft (7 minutes).
  4. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
  5. Add the white wine and reduce heat by half.
  6. Add the tomatoes and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly (10 minutes).
  7. Check the thickness by pulling a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan. If it stays separated, it’s done. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer sauce to an ovenproof baking dish. Make 4 indentations in the sauce. Break the eggs, one by one into a small bowl, and with the spoon, add one egg into each indentation.
  9. Place on the top shelf of the oven and cook until the white of the eggs are firm but the yolks are still runny (about 7 to 10 minutes) or until desired. Season the eggs with salt and pepper.
  10. Sprinkle the top with Parmigiano Reggiano and serve immediately with toasted bread or focaccia.

Chef Mat Schuster, Canela Bistro & Wine Bar: Canela Bistro & Wine Bar: Soups

Soups are great! You can use product that you have on hand, you can make a big batch, and it freezes well. It is more of a technique than a recipe. Start by searing “drier” meats and veggies in a little bit of olive oil or butter before adding anything moist like tomatoes, wine or broth. Once you have some color on your first ingredients, you can start to add in the moist ones. Moisture keeps food from browning.

Taste for salt and acid. If you don’t have any fresh lemons, use a splash of vinegar. Add delicate leaves, such as spinach, or seafood, such as shrimp, at the end of the process. If you have grains, beans, or pasta, cook them separately in salted water for better results. If you cook grains, beans or pasta in your soup broth, it can make it thick and gummy.

Two additional soup-making tips:

  1. Add a little bit of heat from chiles or spice, even if you don’t typically use them. It’s an under-appreciated way to add flavor.
  2. Always start with less. You can always add more, but you can’t take away.

Chef Mark Dommen, One Market: Pork Pot Stickers (makes 36)


  • 16 oz ground pork
  • 1 ½ teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small head Napa cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
  • Garlic chives
  • Grapeseed oil to cook
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • 36 wonton wrappers

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shredded ginger


  1. Combine the pork, soy sauce, salt, sugar, and marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Separate the leaves of the Napa cabbage and add the cabbage to the boiling water to blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
  3. Dice the cabbage and squeeze out as much of the water as you can. Mix thoroughly with the pork. Stir in the cornstarch, garlic chives, and sesame oil and mix well to combine. (If you like the dumplings spicy you can also add a teaspoon of chili flakes to the mixture.) I like to take a little sample of the pork filling and cook it in a pan to taste for seasoning before making all the dumplings. Adjust accordingly.
  4. Fill a small dish with cold water and set aside. Fill the dumplings with a teaspoon of the filling and moisten the edges of the dumpling wrapper with the water. Fold the wrapper over and, using your thumb and forefinger, start to pleat the dumpling until the filling is sealed inside. A dumpling should have 10-14 pleats.
  5. In a nonstick pan, heat a tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium heat, add the potstickers and ½ cup water and cover the pan. Cook covered until the water has been absorbed and the bottoms of the potstickers are golden brown (approximately 20 minutes.) Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to cook the potstickers in several batches. Remove the potstickers from the pan and place them on a serving plate and garnish with cilantro. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.

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