Compliments of the Chef with Mark Sullivan

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
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.