Thomas started working in kitchens at a very young age in Southern New Jersey. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, ten years ago, Thomas moved to the Bay Area and started working at La Folie. He then went on to become sous chef at two of San Francisco’s most respected restaurants: Gary Danko and Quince. In addition to his time in San Francisco, McNaughton traveled throughout Europe to work and stage at Michell Rostang in France, Tantrise in Germany, and Sassege in Italy. Just prior to the opening of flour + water, McNaughton spent a good deal of time at Bruno e Franco’s pasta “laboratory” in Bologna, Italy, where he honed his pasta making skills under the watchful eyes of committed pasta artisans. Thomas describes the inspiration behind the flour + water menu as a combination of old-world tradition and refined techniques.
Last year he was nominated for Best New Chef by the James Beard Foundation. In addition to flour + water, he currently oversees the development of the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group upcoming projects: Central Kitchen and Salumeria.