Responding to criticism about the list’s usual lack of diversity, the San Francisco Chronicle took the annual Rising Star Chefs feature left the choices up to other members of paper’s food department, including Jonathan Kauffman, Tara Duggan, and Paolo Lucchesi.
And the people were delighted to see men and women of all nationalities hitting the paper’s must-read annual chef round-up. Also, the rising stars have been plucked from places besides the Michelin-starred kitchens of the Bay Area.
The Chronicle responded with a pointed statement about the choices made this year:
“These are changing times for the restaurant industry, which is going through its most significant upheaval in years, a perfect storm of rising costs, staff shortages, saturation and, to be honest, an industry-wide realization that things — business models, pay equity, general morality — need to change if a business is going to be truly sustainable.”
The 2017 Rising Star Chef class is Reem Assil of Oakland-based Arab food pop-up/farmers’ market stand Reem’s, whose brick-and-mortar bakery is set to open next month; Chris Kiyuna, chef-partner at The Perennial in the mid-Market neighborhood, whose resume includes Front Porch and Coi; Tu David Phu of Vietnamese pop-up Ăn, which he plans to open as a brick-and-mortar next year; Fernay McPherson, the chef behind roving soul food pop-up Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement; and Michelle Minori, the 30-year-old behind the pasta menu at Barzotto, one of a number of “fancier” fast-casual establishments that have taken root in the last few years in SF.
Of course, thriving the careers of many Bay Area chef’s, we’re still waiting for our “leading ladies of Bay Area food.” One day.