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Behind The Feast: Polish Chef Tommo Redefines Happy Hour In SF

Chef Tommo has lived in more countries than some have visited in their entire lifetimes. His deep passion for food started at a young age in Poland. At age 8, he and his father moved to Australia, where he began experimenting in the kitchen. Although he studied information technology after high school, he knew he would one day return to the kitchen. After 14 years in the IT industry, Chef Tommo took a leap of faith–he quit his job to pursue his dream and moved to London to study at the culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu.

His formal education in the culinary arts has shaped his cooking style and the concepts he presents to his diners. Chef Tommo swears by the motto “less is more” and it shows in his classic and modern dishes. One of our favorite pop-ups by Chef Tommo is his Polish-Inspired Happy Hour. You get to experience five original recipes and his signature vodka cocktails. Polish Mule, anyone?

Keep reading for our exclusive chat with Chef Tommo on his culinary inspirations, aspirations, and secrets tips in the kitchen!

Book seats to Chef Tommo’s Events

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1. What is food to you?
Food is a way of bringing people together and creating memorable moments. It is social, it is a connector, and it is critical to culture. I love traveling to different places and trying new cuisines – understanding different communities through the food they eat. Whether it’s a tagine in Morocco, a pasta in Italy, a pho in Vietnam… food is an expression of culture.

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2. How and when did cooking come into your life?
When I was growing up in Poland, my mum and grandma cooked the most delicious traditional food. My passion for cooking began when I saw how much joy it brought them and the whole family. When I was 8, I moved to Australia with my dad. I took over the cooking duties and began to experiment. I was able to experience many different cuisines and try food from all the the world.

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3. Who is your food role model?
My mother and grandma.

4. What do you love about hosting with Feastly?
Since moving to San Francisco from London, hosting with Feastly has been an incredible experience. It has given me an opportunity to showcase Polish cuisine and cooking, and I’m able to experiment with new menus and get instant feedback. I enjoy meeting new people and connecting with diners from all around the world. I am excited to continue hosting with Feastly to make my food dream become a reality.

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5. What are you cooking goals/dreams right now? And in the long run?
As a new resident in San Francisco, my cooking goal right now is to continue building a presence and brand in the Bay Area for great food with classic French cooking techniques. I want to expand my reach by hosting more dinners, happy hours, and catering for events. Although I am classically French-trained, I want to continue to experiment with Polish cuisine – there are not really any Polish restaurants in the Bay Area and I would love to bring more of this kind of cooking to the city, with a twist!

In the long term, I want to open my own gastro bar with a relaxed ambiance and atmosphere, serving a tapas style menu.

6. Favorite meal/feast you’re ever had?
The best feast that comes to mind was eating a traditional tagine made by Burbers in a fire-pit in the Sahara Desert. Absolutely awesome!

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7. What’s your most memorable moment hosting strangers at a dinner party?
I have been lucky to have many memorable moments hosting with Feastly and two come to mind straight away:

The first was when a lady from my Polish dinner decided to invite all her friends to a Polish Happy Hour I was hosting in the Mission. She enjoyed the food and atmosphere so much that she decided to spend her special day eating more pierogi and having Polish vodka. For me, that was an amazing gesture and very memorable.

The other was a couple that attended a dinner at my house and it was their wedding anniversary! Again, I was so inspired to be able to help them celebrate such a special moment in their life. The group at the dinner was also very international and it was great to see so much laughter, fun, and energy around the table. Very special.

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8. What’s the one thing you always keep in your fridge?
Apart from beer? Butter, it makes everything better. 🙂

9. What is the go-to dish you make for yourself when home alone?
Pasta–I think I’m secretly Italian.

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10. Weapon of Choice (in the kitchen):
My trusty Wusthoff chef knife.

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11. You’re stranded on a desert island. You can only have one ingredient, but unlimited amounts of it. What is it?
Guinness, it’s both a drink and a meal!

12. A fun food fact:
Lachanophobia is a term used for people afraid of vegetables. My nephews are very much lachanophobes!

13. What’s the cheesiest food pun:
“I’m kind of a big dill.”

14. What’s a food trend that you’ve heard of lately?
Souping is the new juicing.

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