The team is getting more busy with each passing day but I managed to get a few minutes with Grant Cotner, our sous chef at central kitchen.
What appealed to you about joining the team at central kitchen?
I worked with our Executive Chef, Thomas McNaughton and our Chef de Cuisine Michael Gaines at Gary Danko. From working with them in the past I knew what their idea of good food was and I understood and appreciated their work ethic. So I liked the idea of a highly skilled team that’s focused on food but with a family oriented mentality that makes it a comfortable environment for every single person here.
Where were you before?
I moved to SF 5 years ago from Florida for the job at Gary Danko, where I was for 4 years. I took a break in the middle and I moved to LA for a year and a half to work for Michel Richard at Citrus. When I went back to Gary Danko it was with a very clear goal of eventually moving on to work in a place like central kitchen.
How did you get into a professional career in cooking?
After business school, I was quite indecisive for a while. So I thought back to my happiest memories of work and they were always in a kitchen. So I enrolled in culinary school in South Carolina. Bob Carter was a hard-ass but a real inspiration and motivator for me.
What do you do in your free time?
I love being outdoors. Mountain biking, rock climbing, snow boarding. Pretty much anything I can do to hurt myself.
Where are your favorite places to go in San Francisco?
For Brunch: Eats on Clement St. For the chicken waffles.
For Lunch: Tu Lan in the tenderloin. It’s a hole in the wall spot so if you don’t know what you’re looking for you’ll probably walk straight past it. But the food is fantastic.
For Dinner: Sons & Daughters. I went with the tasting menu and a great bottle of wine and it was easily one of the best meals I’ve had in recent times.
For Cocktails: Kilowatt on Valencia. Ask for Jared and drink whatever he mixes for you.
For a 1st Date: Byron in the East Bay for an afternoon of skydiving. If she can roll with that, then she’s good to go.
Adventures in San Francisco: House Of Air is a lot of fun because you get to play like a kid again. It’s deceptively tiring though. Planet Graphite next door is a great spot for rock climbing.
Adventures outside San Francisco: Tahoe all year round works for me. Paddleboarding on the lake in summer and snowboarding in winter. And Andrew Molera Park in Big Sur is a great spot for camping.