Q&A With Aaron London, Chef-Owner of Al's Place

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Three years after Ubuntu, Napa's groundbreaking vegetarian restaurant, closed, former executive chef (and James Beard Award Nominee) Aaron London just opened his own 45-seat eatery in the Mission.


At Al's Place, London's veg-centric dishes will also feature fresh seafood. We're excited to try the lightly cured trout with young fava beans and preserved-lime potatoes—soon to be a classic. 

1. What's your motto?

Don’t f*** it up. 

2. Favorite food as a kid?

French fries 

3. Where do you go for a good drink and what do you order?

The Del Maguey Iberico mezcal at A.B.V. 

4. Go-to takeout?

Clam chowder from Woodhouse Fish Co. 

5. What Bay Area restaurants are on your list to try?

I want to check out Rintaro, Ippuku, and Aaxte when it opens.

6. If you weren't a restaurateur, you'd be…?

An engineer

7. Greatest professional moment?

TBD

8. When did you first know you wanted to work in restaurants?

When I was 14 working at my first dishwashing job.

9. Best thing you've eaten in SF?

I really like the squab at The Progress, really love State Bird.

10. What do you make for yourself to eat at home?

Chili verde with egg noodles

11. What motivates you?

I just want to cook really good food for people and be in a restaurant.

12. Food trend you're on board with?

Wild fermentation

13. Which living culinary person do you most admire?

Dan Barber

14. What most influences your food?

I'm always searching for new ways to get more flavor out of the ingredient but still stay true to its roots.

15. Favorite midnight snack?

Pirate’s porridge

16. Favorite don't-tell-anyone junk food?

I don’t really eat junk food, but I like salt and vinegar potato chips

17. Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

Goat eyeball

18. Culinary habit you'd most like to kick?

I have a bad habit of wanting everything to be salty, sweet, sour, and spicy

19. Happiest food moment?

At StoneBarns when Dan put out a whole cod head and no utensils and the server said that “Dan said you should know what to do with it” and I just attacked it with my hands.

20. Favorite culinary journey?

Recent trip to South East Asia.

21. Describe your work persona in one word?

Ice-man.

This article was published in 7x7's March 2015 issue. Click here to subscribe.

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