After 30 years of working in three and four-star restaurants in New York City and San Francisco, Steven and his wife GeorgeAnn combined their front and back-of-house talents to form their own catering company. “Family Meal” has dual meanings: the meals are prepared by their family and presented with pride and love to people who they consider to be part of theirs!
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Describe your culinary style:
We consider our food soulful, contemporary, American. We infuse historically classic combinations with a fresh, Northern Californian sensibility. The difference between New York and San Francisco cooking is that in New York, you learn how to make food taste good. Here, you just let the food taste good.
A time you failed spectacularly in the kitchen:
I talked my way into an assistant garde manger job at The River Cafe without any prior experience. On my first day, Chef Palmer handed me a case of cucumbers and told me to tournée them. He asked if I knew how and I said, “Absolutely, chef!” As soon as he left, I turned to the garde manger and asked him what it meant. He showed me how to do this intricate, seven-sided, football-shaped cut, and I then proceeded to destroy an entire case of cucumbers. The fact that I failed miserably but still managed to keep my job inspired me to learn everything there is to know about cooking…and to never tournée vegetables on a future menu.
The ingredient you always have on hand:
Chinese garlic-chili paste.
The go-to dish you cook when you’re off the clock:
An old-school NYC bodega standard: egg, bacon, and cheese on a Kaiser roll.
Most used kitchen tool:
First would be my Viking range indoor grill. Second would be the broomstick handle used to turn off the smoke alarm due to aforementioned grill.
Food trends you love and hate:
I love the trend of open-fire cooking. Hate? Well, our corporation name is No Tweezers, LLC…
Best restaurant in SF:
I love experiencing the newest, hottest restaurants, but I always go back to Zuni Cafe. If I can put on my headstone that I have the best roast chicken, hamburger, Caesar salad, Bloody Mary like they do, then I’ll have accomplished something!
Best dish in SF:
The Dungeness crab combo salad from Swan Oyster Depot. Whenever I feel down or frustrated about what I do, I sit at the bar and talk to the guys there and can’t help but feel great about cooking and the future of the human race.