Today we are elated to spotlight Kory Stewart, Executive Chef of Americano Restaurant in San Francisco. Kory got his first taste of restaurant life washing dishes in a small Italian restaurant at the tender age of 12 and later attended California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He spent the next couple years developed his knife skills and working in such award-winning restaurants as Postrio, Town Hall, and Michael Minna before becoming the Executive Chef at Americano. From working with Kory and Hotel Vitale a handful of times, we can contest that this guy knows a thing or two about food and the art of dining!
AE: What is the difference between being a chef in San Francisco verses other metropolitan cities in the United States?
Kory Stewart: I don’t really know- I’m always hearing chefs from other places claim they moved here because all the boxes of produce they received in their native town/city were from California. So I guess we probably have better produce here than most places- otherwise the nature of the work is the same regardless of where you are.
AE: What do you cook at home?
Kory Stewart: I’ve been duck hunting a bunch lately so I’ve been trying to figure out how to make wild bay ducks taste delicious. I’m making progress too, by the way. I like making meals from entirely grown/foraged/stolen food as well.
AE: How have your travels influenced how you look at food?
Kory Stewart: My wife and I traveled to Southeast Asia and the experience really opened my eyes to a whole new range of flavor & style of food. I still enjoy an authentic Thai meal more than about anything. I never try to “fuse” Southeast Asian food with Italian food, although I do draw upon the principals of flavor contrast etc. to make my food more exciting
AE: How do you take on the challenge of not being burnt out on Italian cuisine? Is that possible?
Kory Stewart: I’m surrounded by some of the cooks I respect the most. My sous chefs and I push each other to be better at what we do- That is a great motivator for me. We don’t claim to be “authentic”. The food we cook at Americano is our interpretation of Italian cuisine, here is quite a bit of room to be creative within that frame.
AE: What are some current trends or ingredients you are loving right now?
Kory Stewart: Finger limes- the pulp of this citrus fruit is like caviar sized eggs filled with tart lime juice. Uni- makes everything taste like the ocean (when it’s fresh) and Candy cap mushrooms- I’m pretty sure this is a lifelong love affair.
AE: You’re invited to a dinner party, what do you bring?
Kory Stewart: Wild mushrooms and fireworks.
3. Finger Lime varieties (by Janet Durham)
6. Americano Signature dessert: Candy cap mushroom gelato sandwich with butterscotch pecan cookies
*Americano is also now taking reservations for their amazing Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Menu can be found here.
Swiss Chard Wrapped Lamb Loin
Crispy Shoulder “Hash Cake”Roasted Yellowfin Potatoes, Smoked Onion Soubise,
Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Green Harissa… um yum.