When In San Francisco, Eat In Oakland

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chefs are a lot like artists: both professions tend to be substantially supported by those with high net wealth and disposable incomes, and this means both congregate in some of the most expensive cities in the world (New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, San Francisco). However, this also means both professions inevitable run into the same problems when starting out: how to afford to live in those places? Well, usually, the answer is to pack up and flee to the cheaper rents found in border neighborhoods, where creativity can be fostered and patrons are a little more adventurous.

This seems to be the case of what’s going on in the foodie scene in San Francisco, where the NYT recently explored the growing cottage industry of ex-Chez Panisse chefs and other up-and-coming gourmands who have packed up and moved away from the financial demands of San Francisco and set up shop in near by Oakland.

Interestingly, of the five restaurants featured in the piece, three had ties to the legendary Chez Panisse (of Alice Waters fame), including Bocanova, which serves tapas-sized dishes paired with an extensive South American wine list; Camino, where the kitchen fireplaces is used to cook the majority of the meat-centric dishes; and Boot and Shoe Service, where pizzas festooned with locally available ingredients are helping to evolve the local pizza craze.

When chef Moore was asked why he chose Oakland to open Camino, the answer was simple. “We were looking at spaces in San Francisco for three years and used three different Realtors but we found nothing . . . So we just decided to have a look around Oakland and we stumbled upon this place.” And thus a food revolution was born.

[image via DiabloMag.com]

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