Flavor Profile: Chef-Owner of Fog City Bruce Hill
The seasoned chef-owner of Bix, Zero Zero, and Larkspur’s Picco and Pizzeria Picco continues his reign at Fog City. As he celebrates the 10th anniversary of his patented Chef’s Press (an efficiency-boosting grill tool, available at Williams-Sonoma) this month, he readies two new sizes for launch.
26 questions for Bruce Hill:
When did you first know you wanted to be a chef?
I knew at age 15 on a trip to Switzerland and Italy with my grandmother when I met and chatted with passionate chef apprentices.
Most overrated ingredient?
Tricks of the trade?
My Chef’s Press - it can be used in many, many ways – right now we are using it in eight different dishes at Fog City.
Best thing you’ve eaten in SF?
Hmm that’s tough, but the most memorable was a roasted squab at Stars in the 80’s when I was a line cook there. I came in on my night off - it was truffled and I remember it like it was yesterday.
I guess it would have to be good caramel and dark chocolate while watching TV at night.
What motivates you?
Passionate behavior – people that do what they do because they want to be the best.
What would you request for your last meal?
My Fog City burger
Food trend that needs to die?
Cronuts – Crullers beat them any day!
What is your motto?
Strive to innovate – try to make stuff better everyday
Which living culinary person do you most admire?
Favorite food as a kid?
Warm ham and cheese sandwich on a soft roll
What most influences your food?
Farmers and the market
Whom do you most like to cook for?
Open-minded people. People who want to experience food and are open to trying a lot of different things.
Out the Door
Favorite don't-tell-anyone junk food?
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
Pig heart cartilage in Hong Kong
Culinary habit you’d most like to kick?
Late night snacking, but I never will!
If you weren't a chef, you'd be….?
A hardware store owner.
Happiest food moment?
This is the hardest question – I was really happy when we made our first batch of frozen custard that came out perfect.
Customer pet peeves?
People that try to rearrange dishes to the demise of my cuisine.
Describe your kitchen persona in one word.
Strangest customer request?
There are lots, but most recently a blue cheese salad with extra anchovies in a rush!
What’s the first meal you made that made you proud?
Scrambled eggs with cottage cheese when I was a kid.
Most treasured possession?
My grandmother’s chef knife.
Greatest professional moment?
Being a guest chef in Japan.
Trying to keep everything stable at my restaurants and hopefully finding more time to promote my cooking tool.
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This article was published in 7x7's February issue. Click here to subscribe.