The San Francisco–Bay Area Rising Stars Award Winners and Why They Shine
APRIL 2010 STARCHEFS.com
by Katherine Martinelli and Amanda McDougall with Antoinette Bruno and Will Blunt
This is our third Rising Stars in San Francisco, and we thought it was time to reach beyond the seven-by-seven mile border of the city, and into the riches of the greater Bay Area, including Oakland and as far south as Los Gatos. The new generation of chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists are as a whole devoted to highlighting Northern California’s bounty of food, wine, and exceptional culinary skill.
We tasted food, pastry, cocktails, and wine pairings from over 90 talented chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers from all over the Bay Area and bit beyond. Only 14 earned the title of Rising Star. So what makes them shine? Creativity, ambition, exquisite presentation, and, most importantly, a stellar dish win each up-and-coming culinary star the Rising Star Award.
What’s more, each Rising Star has attributes that make us believe they will be the future leaders of the country’s culinary scene. Here’s an introduction to the 2010 San Francisco Bay Area award winners: who they are, why they shine, and how they’re shaping the future of American food.
HOTEL CHEF: Josh Thomsen, Claremont Hotel (Berkeley)
Josh Thomsen just might be the ideal hotel chef. He worked at The French Laundry, where he refined his technique. He spent time at Tao Las Vegas where volume is the name of the game, and toiled in several hotel kitchens before landing at Berkeley’s Claremont Hotel nine months ago. Since his arrival, Thomsen’s transformed the hotel’s food and beverage program into something fresh, elegant, and delectable. He manages all aspects of food for the room service, banqueting, and several public and private restaurants and cafes between two properties. What’s more, he’s overhauled the F&B program without losing a single staff member—evidence of his first-rate leadership skills.
The Dishes that Clinched It:
– Braised Beef Short Ribs with Seasonal Vegetables
– Sonoma Goat Cheese-Potato Terrine with Baby Beets and Aged Balsamic Syrup
Matthew Accarrino, SPQR
John Paul Carmona, MANRESA
Louis Maldonado, AZIZA
Thomas McNaughton, FLOUR + WATER
Scott Nishiyama, CHEZ TJ
Maximilian DiMare, WOOD TAVERN
Josh Thomsen, CLAREMONT HOTEL, CLUB & SPA
Melissa Chou, AZIZA
Catherine Schimenti, MICHAEL MINA
Sarah Valor, COMMIS
Erick Castro, RICKHOUSE
Brian MacGregor, JARDINIERE
Joshua Skenes, SAISON
Shelley Lindgren, A16 & SPQR