We Wanna Be Friends With: Thomas McNaughton


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.

Before Thomas McNaughton became the cherubic blondie of our flour + water and Central Kitchen and Salumeria dreams, he put in time at La Folie, Gary Danko and Quince. You'd think a man who racked up that kind of resume before his 30th birthday might be out partying like a rockstar with the Real World crowd. Instead, Thomas is continuing to refine his craft, constantly bring new dishes to his beloved restaurants, and is working with IfOnly.com to support the San Francisco Food Bank, an organization close to his heart.

IfOnly.com brings together celebs and the people dying to meet them, offering "experiences" that range from private QB camp with Joe Montana to a VIP meet-and-greet backstage with Shakira. Each celebrity picks their own organization to fund, and many offer an option to name the price for your own dream expereince - sky's the limit! 

If you adore flour + water and Central Kitchen and Salumeria as much as we do (and have some cash to spare), take a peek at Thomas' enviable offerings, like a pasta making class with dinner and wine or a farm-to-table day with him at Devil's Gulch.

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

I currently live in the mission, specifically above flour + water. It has been equally good and challenging at the same time, all of our restaurants are on the same block, so it’s hard to step away from work. Currently, my apartment has one pig, one puppy and eight chickens, it feels like a zoo at times. The ultimate goal is to buy a small property with a cabin for retreat on the weekends.

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

It may be a little cliché, but I enjoy a long lunch over rosé at Chez Panisse Café. I love the ambiance, I could spend the whole day there.

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

A perfect night is an evening spent with friends over good food and drinks. As I am always at the restaurants, there is little time to sneak away, so when I do I love to hop around and check out new spots to eat and drink.

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

We used to have a garden on the roof of Central Kitchen that we recently removed; it was the only spot in the city where I could escape for a few hours. It will be returning shortly in a grand way, with 2,000 sq feet of raised beds and greenhouses. It will be a sanctuary for me and the chefs to get away and get our hands dirty.

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

I enjoy getting out of the city when I can. I load up the truck with the dog and a basket from salumeria (available at IfOnly.com). When the weather is right, I will drive up to Devil’s Gulch Farm. The drive speaks of Northern California scenery, from rolling hills, to a glimpse at the coast, to windy back roads leading into the little city of Nicasio, CA, it is a great day away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

6. Quick-fire round:

Burrito or Burger?


Presidio or Golden Gate Park?

Golden Gate Park.

BiRite or Mitchell's?


Bike or MUNI?


Fort Mason or Dolores Park?

Dolores Park.

The Independent or the Fillmore?

The Fillmore.

Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?


7. Three words that describe your life in SF?

Hectic, Crazy, Unpredictable. 

Want More Thomas? 

flour + waterCentral Kitchen and Salumeria, Twitter

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