As the executive chef of downtown seafood destination Farallon, Executive Chef Ryan Simas works closely with chef Mark Frantz and kitchen staff to deliver highly Instagrammable, tasty dishes.
We caught up with him about cooking in San Francisco, food trends and Black Bass.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I’ll get to work in the morning, see how many bookings we have and who my staff is for the day, walk around the coolers and make sure they’re stocked, check with my staff and make sure everyone’s ready, and then spend the next four hours cooking and prepping.
At 3:30pm there’s a family meal, and at 5pm we start service. I usually have an apple and a cup of coffee, and a burrito later.
How’s working in San Francisco different from LA, where you cooked at Checkers and Spago?
I think that cooking in SF means knowing where everything comes from—knowing the fishermen, the rancher, the farmer. I didn’t feel the same way in LA. Also, I feel like comfort food is bigger here.
Speaking of comfort food, what are some of your favorite spots in the city?
Oh, I’m all over the place. For sushi, I go to Ryoko’s, since they are open late. I eat once a month in our sister restaurants, Epic, Jardinière and 25 Lusk. On the other side on the scope, I like small, hole-in-the-wall ethnic places, Korean BBQ or Vietnamese. Pera is very good for Middle Eastern food.
What’s your favorite seafood to cook?
That’s almost an impossible question, but I do love cooking and eating black bass whenever we get it.
Where do you stand with food trucks?
I love Off the Grid at the Presidio for summer food trucks and pop-up restaurants like that gives people the chance to do what they like to do without the rent and the overhead.
Where do you see the local food scene in a few years from now?
A lot of changes just sneak up on you, like the ramen pop-ups. I don’t think anyone could foresee that. I think people are doing more and more casual, family-style food with local ingredients. It’s just cooking for people because you love cooking; places care less about the glass wear and service.
And yet the latest James Beard award nominees in San Francisco were mostly from the fine-dining style…
That makes sense, but that’s going to start changing, as well. You’ve got so many people in the city, and those casual restaurants are more accessible. On the other hand, there are a lot of amazing fine-dining places which are hard to overlook.