Thomas McNaughton Chef
is inquisitive, humble, a smartass, energetic, driven, focused yet sporadically unfocused
Neighborhood: The Mission
Gig: Co-Owner and Executive Chef for Ne Timeas Restaurant Group which owns flour + water, Central Kitchen and Salumeria
What event will we find you at the week of April 16th? It’s all work that week. I’ll be mainly working on developing the food and concept of Central Kitchen and our deli, Salumeria. And I’ll be giving a lecture for Food Arts at the CIA Summit.
Where would you have your last meal on earth? I would close flour + water. Start a fire in the wood oven. Invite close friends and open all the special wines that are being stored for future meals. I’d roast game birds in the fire oven. Pass round big platters of cheese. And I’d get all my chef friends to cook a course to celebrate my life.
Who's your favorite quintessential local character? When Michael Gaines and I first moved here, we would play bocce near the wharf with some old Italian guys. There was a bum that lived out there and every time we played, he’d be out helping us measure so we started calling him Ref. We’d try and help him out with cash when we could but he never took it so once we named him Ref, he let us pay him for his job as our Ref.
Where's your go-to date place? Brazen Head. It’s got the dark wood style of an English Pub and Jimmy the bartender is always behind the counter, mixing up a great Manhattan and sharing funny anecdotes to build me up on a first date!
Why do you love your neighborhood? If there’s ever a sunny day in San Francisco, it’s in the Mission. And I love to watch the fog roll in over Sutro Tower. There are so many young, talented chefs creating exciting food in the Mission. All of this within a 10 minute radius. It’s a great part of the city to live in.
What's your favorite SF institution? Zuni Café. A long lunch starting with oysters and chilled rose and then their roasted chicken for two with warm Tuscan-style bread salad
What do you get obsessive about here in SF? Local farms. There are so many in a way that’s unique to the Bay Area. There are all these amazing small farms producing a wide range of great quality vegetables and animals. And then there’s the surge of urban agriculture, rooftop gardens producing viable food for restaurants, beehives producing good quality honey.