san francisco chefs

Michelin Star Dining, Community Atmosphere

Food is about community. There’s nothing better than gathering around a table, passing plates, sipping drinks and telling stories. While there is no shortage of great restaurants in San Francisco, there can sometimes be a sterility that can come with the experience of dining out. Hard, clean lines and formal service dominate the restaurant scene. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this atmosphere, it can leave us craving something a little more homey.

Sometimes we want to escape from the big city life and feel a tad of that friendly neighborhood vibe, where it’s warm and welcoming, where everyone knows each other and the chef comes out to say hi. Thankfully, there’s Chef Greg Lutes. Hailing from the midwest, Chef Greg has all the smiles, politeness and friendliness that gives the region its good old boy stereotype.His story comes with the same warm and fuzzy feeling. Chef Greg is making his name in the pool of great chefs San Francisco is home to. 

It started with the Kinfolk pop-up in Bernal Heights. In this small once ramen shop establishment Chef Greg began whipping up delicious California fare dedicated to sourcing organic, local ingredients. His fine dining meets mom and pop philosophy makes diners feel connected and excited about the type of food that usually isolates the average joe. This year, Chef Lutes launched a Kickstarter to transform his concept into a brick and mortar, the evolution takes the form of 3rd Cousin. A family style restaurant with Michelin quality food, set to open in Bernal Heights old Pizza Express location. You can get a taste of the good things to come with 3rd Cousins pop-ups happening in the Mission this fall. This interactive dining experience, complete with a 5 course tasting menu and the best seasonal ingredients can be purchased through EnjoyFresh.

We picked the brain of the man creating a restaurant where everyone feels like family.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by food stories told to me from guests and friends. Travel also has a big influence. I was in Big Sur last week camping and I found and apple tree and picked some green apples and brought them home. It inspired me to do a new Tuna Crudo with Kimchee Sauce, serrano chili, green apple and thai basil.

Cooking Philosophy?

-I believe in bridging the land an the sea and having a mulit course meal that has subtle and assertive elements. I get bored eating a meal that is too subtle. I also work on the taste first and the presentation last. I don’t like pretty food that doesn’t deliver flavor that sings.

Favorite food trend?

-Whole animal

Least favorite food trend?

-Bland pretty food

What kind of experience do you hope to create for guests?

-One that is unique and is relationship building. One that fosters a community. 

san francisco chefs

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