“This is not a cookbook,” states Daniel Patterson in the introduction to his inaugural tome, Coi: Stories and Recipes.
Appropriately enough for an intellectual chef-writer whose byline count is approaching the number of dishes in his three restaurants, the new release is unique in the cookbook category: Patterson is the first American chef to be accepted by the visual arts–focused publisher Phaidon, joining international industry icons, including Ferran Adrià of El Bulli, Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken, and Noma’s René Redzepi.
“Above all, I wanted the voice to be honest,” says Patterson, whose recipes are spelled out not in cups and ounces but in his characteristic prose and passionate narrative. A combination of personal stories and painterly plating, illustrated in tranquil images by photographer Maren Caruso, the book’s format may at first appear esoteric, even obscure. But the clarity and thoughtfulness of Patterson’s method make his uncommon dishes surprisingly accessible. And like the North Beach restaurant itself, the book is an exquisite example of the art form that cooking is in Patterson’s inspired hands.
This fall, he opens his fourth venture, Alta CA, helmed by chef Yoni Levy (formerly of Flora). Patterson promises a more casual approach. “The food will have lots of smoky, savory, fermented flavors, the kind of food that cooks make for themselves,” he says. Lunch, cocktails, and late-night eats will be on the menu at the Market Street restaurant, just a stone’s throw from Twitter HQ. Says Patterson, “We see Alta CA as a community hub, boisterous and fun.”
This article was published in 7x7's November issue. Click here to subscribe.