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Reported Here.

 

Just two months after nabbing the national James Beard Foundation award for Rising Star Chef, Nate Appleman has called it quits at his restaurants, San Francisco's A16 and SPQR. The 30-year-old chef has been at the helm of A16 since founding chef Christophe Hille left in 2006, and has been the executive chef of SPQR since it opened in 2007. His last day at both was Monday.

 

"The timing just seemed right," says Appleman, who celebrated his birthday last week. "I'm still young and want to explore what's out there."

 

Appleman, who was also a Food and Wine magazine Rising Star Chef this year and a Chronicle Rising Star Chef in 2007, says he has a few things in the works, including options outside the Bay Area (he's been here for 8 years), but declined to be more specific. He emphasized, however, that he's not leaving the stoves.

 

"Cooking is my love, and I will always be cooking," especially Italian food. "It's my passion," he says.

 

A16 managing partner Shelley Lindgren says Appleman's leaving has been in the works for several weeks and that the parting is amicable.

 

The partners are promoting from within, as when Hille left, and keeping a team approach. At A16 (2355 Chestnut St.), chef de cuisine Liza Shaw has moved up to executive chef. Shaw has been with A16 since it opened 5 1/2 years ago, the last two years as chef de cuisine in charge of the menu. Her specialties, according to Lindgren, are seafood from the Amalfi coast and pasta.

 

At SPQR (1911 Fillmore St.), the kitchen staff will remain as is while working on potential tweaks to the restaurant. Christopher Behr is chef de cuisine and Hugh Thornton is executive sous chef. Both were at A16 before heading to SPQR.

 

Lindgren says while Appleman will be missed, "We feel positive about this opportunity for everyone."

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Well, shit. I guess there goes my promised "I'll make it up to you" dinner that he offered me at a farm dinner. He heard that Squeat and Suzi Edwards and I had had a less-than-wonderful (mediocre) meal at A16 before he was chef. I blew my chance.

 

I think very highly of him, love his posted photos of his darling son on Facebook, and think he will write his own ticket. No doubt he'll head somewhere else. Godspeed, ya little tattooed baby buddha.

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  • 1 month later...

Y'all realize, don't you, that Howard Bulka also left his high-end kitchen at Marché on the Peninsula* to make pizza, some months back?

 

These are just two cases I happen to've heard about. For all I know, there may be others (and anyway, two is more than enough for a few of today's food media to proclaim a "trend!" :-)

 

 

* Explanation for any tunnel-visioned San Franciscans: The Peninsula is a vast region south of SF. (Embracing the former southern portion of San Francisco County, which seceded in the second Vigilante regime, 1856, forming today's San Mateo County and leaving SF a one-city county.) The Peninsula and southern Bay Area, like the East Bay and North Bay, house growing numbers of notable, even "destination," restaurants, a category SF no longer monopolizes (contrary to a few residual notions). These establishments can well reward the occasional dining excursion outside SF, which no longer requires multiple days, nor the former expense of stagecoaches and armed escort.

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These establishments can well reward the occasional dining excursion outside SF, which no longer requires multiple days, nor the former expense of stagecoaches and armed escort.

 

One journey in bad traffic will challenge your statement!

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Guest Aaron T
Y'all realize, don't you, that Howard Bulka also left his high-end kitchen at Marché on the Peninsula* to make pizza, some months back?

 

These are just two cases I happen to've heard about. For all I know, there may be others (and anyway, two is more than enough for a few of today's food media to proclaim a "trend!" :-)

 

 

* Explanation for any tunnel-visioned San Franciscans: The Peninsula is a vast region south of SF. (Embracing the former southern portion of San Francisco County, which seceded in the second Vigilante regime, 1856, forming today's San Mateo County and leaving SF a one-city county.) The Peninsula and southern Bay Area, like the East Bay and North Bay, house growing numbers of notable, even "destination," restaurants, a category SF no longer monopolizes (contrary to a few residual notions). These establishments can well reward the occasional dining excursion outside SF, which no longer requires multiple days, nor the former expense of stagecoaches and armed escort.

 

I have spent the past 2 years working on the Peninsula, both in the southern and northern portions of the Peninsula and while I'd agree that many of the best restaurants in the Bay Area are out of SF (thinking specifically of TFL, Cyrus, Manresa, Meadowood, Murray Circle, Pizzaiolo, CP etc) I haven't had many exceptional meals in the south bay or the peninsula. Manresa in Los Gatos but that is pretty far south, and several outstanding meals at Koi Palace and some other of the dim sum specialists, South Legend in Milpitas. never made it to Chez TJ while Chris Kostow was in the kitchen - the reports I have seen since he left don't inspire me to go there and I am in Mountain View all the time.... I'd say that "asian" restaurants are the best bet in that region...

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Y'all realize, don't you, that Howard Bulka also left his high-end kitchen at Marché on the Peninsula* to make pizza, some months back?

 

These are just two cases I happen to've heard about. For all I know, there may be others (and anyway, two is more than enough for a few of today's food media to proclaim a "trend!" :-)

 

 

* Explanation for any tunnel-visioned San Franciscans: The Peninsula is a vast region south of SF. (Embracing the former southern portion of San Francisco County, which seceded in the second Vigilante regime, 1856, forming today's San Mateo County and leaving SF a one-city county.) The Peninsula and southern Bay Area, like the East Bay and North Bay, house growing numbers of notable, even "destination," restaurants, a category SF no longer monopolizes (contrary to a few residual notions). These establishments can well reward the occasional dining excursion outside SF, which no longer requires multiple days, nor the former expense of stagecoaches and armed escort.

Yeh, yeh, but it's still in California. :ph43r:

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I have spent the past 2 years working on the Peninsula, both in the southern and northern portions of the Peninsula and while I'd agree that many of the best restaurants in the Bay Area are out of SF ... I haven't had many exceptional meals in the south bay or the peninsula. Manresa in Los Gatos but that is pretty far south, and several outstanding meals at Koi Palace and some other of the dim sum specialists, South Legend in Milpitas. never made it to Chez TJ while Chris Kostow was in the kitchen - the reports I have seen since he left don't inspire me to go there and I am in Mountain View all the time.... I'd say that "asian" restaurants are the best bet in that region...

In fact, the range, number, and quality span of independent "Asian" restaurants in that region is without parallel in my experiences all around the US. Partly this reflects the history of silicon valley. A running joke in the past there among immigrant Asian engineers was that while silicon valley was famous for "ICs" (integrated circuits) -- its namesake product -- actually, IC stood for "Indians and Chinese," reflecting many of its skilled technical workers. But the restaurants are truly pan-Asian: Vietnamese (esp. in SJ), Korean (esp. Santa Clara), Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Afghan, and many kinds of Chinese, incl. Hunanese, Sichuanese, Western-Chinese (often Islamic cuisines and superb), even Macanese which is rare in the US. The typical interesting, unique, good-value restaurant in the region is Asian.

 

Regarding high-end or destination restaurants, earlier my point was that SF no longer monopolizes that field as it did (as the de-facto downtown of the Bay Area) in my parents', grandparents', great-grandparents, or gr.-gr.-grandparents' time. You could see that dominance eroding in the 1960s and especially by the 1970s with Narsai's and Panisse in the East Bay, and on from there.

 

The Peninsula and South Bay for the last decade have had about 8-10 unique high-end "destination" restaurants familiar to most local food fanatics, gastronomic organizations, etc. Besides Manr. and TJ which you mentioned are Marché (some might quibble, less if they knew who eats there; Bulka's emphasis was elegant comfort food), the excellent-value 231 Ellsworth in downtown San Mateo, the unique Village Pub in Woodside (where, unusually for an avant-garde kitchen that hosts renowned European winemakers for public tasting dinners, you can equally order a hamburger or sandwich, and you may well bump into an ambassador at the small bar), the Papillon and Forêt (related businesses) down south, the Plumed Horse in Saratoga (I haven't been there since the new investment and reconstruction a couple years back) near Manresa's old location in its earlier, smaller incarnation, which made its chef known; and John Bentley's places, original in Woodside near "the Pub" and 2nd loc. in Redwood City which has been used very successfully (like most of these others) for gastronomic events e.g. by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. The region's high-end restaurants are a perennial topic online among experienced locals who compare notes. Example. I could cite a couple of other high-end kitchens, but those are the best known.

 

Chez TJ (co-founded 1982 by late eponymous chef T J McCombie, protégé of -- of all people -- Julia Child and Simone Beck) has had several capable chefs; the good Chris Kostow imparted his personal stamp and happened to coincide with the first Michelin guide for the region, gaining himself and the restaurant extra press. However. I know that restaurant far better than most of its diners do (posted first public Internet notes on it in 1991, on the then sole Bay Area online forum; used it many times for dinners, including wine-tasting dinners). Have not dined there recently, but not from lack of faith that the kitchen with its full staff continue the long tradition of relaxed, leisurely, inventive dining. I don't know what "reports you've seen" about TJ recently. But for the record, self-styled Internet critics have regularly dumped petty put-downs on that restaurant -- some of the worst, while Chris was cooking -- I could show them to you -- and every other restaurant I've named here. And every other destination restaurant in the Bay Area. These people largely have no idea what they are talking about: their readers would have a more accurate view of the restaurant if they knew nothing. The Internet brings out such behavior (and at least one site seems to specialize in it). That is precisely why I praised your Panisse Café posting here, with its honesty, humility, and factual detail. For high-end restaurants there is no substitute for trying them yourself and seeking out their strengths, or asking experienced gastronomic locals.

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  • 1 year later...

After several quick turns in NYC restaurant kitchens, Nate Appelman is rolling carnitas in a Chipotle restaurant.

 

While it’s true that Mr. Appleman, who once faced the Iron Chef Michael Symon on the Food Network in “Battle Suckling Pig,” now gets carnitas ready for the lunch rush, he’s doing it at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Chelsea that is one of the company’s three test kitchens.

 

The ingredients and techniques Mr. Appleman will explore, the chain says, will shape the more than 250 million meals it serves each year.

 

As at all Chipotle locations, the salsas are made fresh and the chips are fried throughout the day. Unlike other locations, the test kitchen prepares everything from scratch. Primal sections of meat are butchered into smaller cuts, and all the braising is done on the premises. Many of the ingredients are local, like the red kidney beans and black turtle beans, both from upstate New York.

 

Interesting gig

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