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We Wanna Be Friends With: Srijith Gopinathan

Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

For a guy that makes some of the most interesting, beautiful, and labor intensive food we've ever seen, Srijith Gopinathan (Sri for short) seems like a pretty down to earth guy. Born in Southern India, he credits his love of cooking with watching the matriarchs in his family prepare a meal. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Sri took positions at prodigious restaurants around the world - including a stint at the Michelin two-starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in England and another as culinary mastermind behind the food served at the Taj Exotica hotel in the Maldives.

Today, Sri brings an incredible combination of culinary technique and love of his native Indian flavor to Campton Place in the Taj Campton Place Hotel, where he's the head chef and focuses on contemporary "Cal-Indian" cuisine. The textures and compositions of the dishes he creates are completely unique - using familiar ingredients and flavors in unfamiliar ways is part of his charm as a chef. There's also a fabulous sense of whimsy and playfulness - one dish inspired by San Francisco is served in a gardening pot with nitrogen "fog" poured over right before serving. Looking to take it all in? The Spice Route Menu (although pricey), is just what it promises - a uniquely wonderful culinary journey lead by Chef Sri.

Thanks Sri for taking the time to answer our We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A

1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?

Inner Richmond, I would prefer not to move from this surrounding. I'm so very happy to have everything, including GG park on my right, Baker Beach on my left and of course fantastic Clement Street, busy all the time like back home, with numerous eateries with at least a dozen different cuisines - just fabulous. Last but not least, my son Arnav's school is a block away from where I live.

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?

Really hard to answer this question…especially when we have so many different new places popping up. Probably the basil chicken at the Burma Superstar if I had to pick.

3. What's your perfect night on the town?

Probably talking my son for ice cream at the Toy Boat Café after 11 p.m., which is sometimes the only time I get to spend with him.

4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

Stow or Spreckles Lake in GG Park. 

5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?

Drive to Carmel/Monterey with my wife and son.

6. Quick-fire round:

Burrito or Burger?

Burrito.

Presidio or Golden Gate Park?

GG park

BiRite or Mitchell's? 

Mitchell's…I can’t stop loving ice cream!

Bike or MUNI?

MUNI.

Fort Mason or Dolores Park?

Fort Mason.

The Independent or the Fillmore?

The Fillmore.

Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?

Baker Beach.

7. Three words that describe your life in SF?

Beautiful, ethereal, and evolving.

Want More Sri?

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