Michelin and the Mission Food Scene
San Francisco has long been a hotbed for innovative chefs in the Mission and elsewhere, creating sumptuous meals that have gained a devoted following, glowing reviews and stardom extending far beyond our City’s seven square miles.
But restaurants have suffered during this global pandemic, closing their doors and then pivoting to provide takeout to try and ride out the COVID storm. A bit of bright news from Michelin arrived a few weeks ago for three SF chefs, but it wasn’t in the form of the typical stars that place a restaurant in the limelight of the culinary world. Instead, Michelin awarded Green Stars to 25 California chefs, of which three went to San Francisco chefs.
Calling it Michelin’s Virtual Family Meal, the prestigious award was given to those chefs who have “taken responsibility by preserving resources and embracing biodiversity, reducing food waste and reducing the consumption of non renewable energy.” The three SF chefs to receive the award were Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn and Michael Tusk of Quince and Aziza, a Moroccan restaurant in San Francisco. It marked the first time US chefs have been awarded Green Stars by Michelin.
Many of the chefs that have won a following and critical acclaim have started in the Mission. Among them, Charles Phan who opened Slanted Door in the Mission in 1995 and then went onto open two more locations in San Ramon and Las Vegas. Along the way, Phan won the James Beard award in 2004 for the best chef in California and then ten years later for the most outstanding restaurant.
Other outstanding restaurants started in the Mission that went onto restaurant stardom and James Beard awards includes Foreign Cinema with Gayle Pirie and John Clark, Laconda and Delfina with Craig Stroll and Flour + Water’s Thomas McNaughton winning the James Beard Rising Star award.
And there’s also chef and restauranteur and co-founder of Mission Chinese Food, Danny Bowien who is also a James Beard Award winner and featured in food and travel shows.
Simply put, it doesn’t get much better than the Mission for an exciting, diverse and delightful food fare, which until the 1990s wasn’t even a culinary destination for San Franciscans and tourist foodies.