Compliments of the Chef with Mark Sullivan

This week, Chefs Feed met up with renowned chef Sullivan at his restaurant in Presidio Heights.

December 6, 2013 ● 2 min read

CF: I'm best known for my _______ cooking but I can make one hell of a _______. 
MS: California-inspired American; pie 

CF: A few words your sous chef would use to describe you. 
MS: I'm hoping they would say fair and respectful. I feel like I run the kitchen with a lot of integrity. I try to create a culture that is full of these qualities because that's what's really important to me. 

CF: What are you most excited about right now in your restaurant? 
MS: I'm excited about our new café at Spruce, which is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 2:30pm. In the morning, we offer to-go items such as fresh pastries, quiche, and coffee, and at lunch, we have a selection of sandwiches and salads, including a house-cured pastrami with sauerkraut, gouda, and Russian dressing on grilled levain. There is also a retail element with offerings such as olive oils, vinegars, salts, cookies, and more. 

CF: Which chef would you drop everything to stage with? 
MS: Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monaco. My wife and I actually had reservations there while we were passing by on a cruise ship. We got a babysitter in preparation for the night, but they won't let you leave your child on the ship—go figure. So unfortunately, all we could do is watch from afar. 

CF: Insider tip from the kitchen for diners. 
MS: Guests sometimes don't understand that not all food needs to be burn-your-mouth hot. There are certain dishes, like our poached salmon, that will get ruined if they're too hot. Poaching is generally done with low- to medium-temperature cooking, but never with high heat. 

CF: Message to professional food critics. 
MS: “Our critics are our friends; they show us our faults.” – Benjamin Franklin 

CF: Secret off-the-menu item that your guests can order tonight. 
MS: Australian winter truffles, which can be added as a supplement to any of our dishes on the menu. 

CF: One piece of advice for aspiring young chefs. 
MS: A lot of young chefs want to move through their career too quickly. They often come in with false expectations of how much work is required to get to a place where one is named chef or sous chef. My advice is to focus on basic, tried and true cooking techniques, such as how to roast, sear, make a proper soup, and break down a whole animal. 

CF: What's for family meal tonight? 
MS: Savory roasted chicken with thick-cut bacon lardons, slow-cooked kale, and potatoes.