8 Bay Area Power Players You Need to Know

By Tamara Palmer  |  October 28, 2013
Credit: Flickr/bittermelon

Meet eight power players who are doing their part to shape the way the Bay Area and beyond thinks about food. They're chefs, restaurateurs and/or entrepreneurs with ambition to spare, and there's plenty of inspiration to be found in their stories. If you're not already familiar with these names, we're betting that you will be soon.

  • Pim Techamuanvivit

    This author, blogger and culinary instructor is poised to open her first restaurant, Kin Khao, in the Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco next month. Read our recent interview with Techamuanvivit for more on how Kin Khao plans to bring authentic, from-scratch Thai food to the city.

  • Matt Cohen

    The founder of the Off The Grid mobile food markets has worked overtime to bring street food to your corner of the Bay Area, most recently adding events in Daly City, Burlingame and Concord, with more expected on the way. He also serves tirelessly to help bring street-food ideas to life, whether helping carts and trucks formalize their concepts or producing unique events like this month's weekly Twilight parties at the Presidio.

  • Traci Des Jardins

    Des Jardins, a Top Chef Masters runner-up, already juggles two locations of Mijita, Public House and her original restaurant Jardinière in San Francisco, but she's got big plans for next year. She and Bon Appetit Management will build a 112-seat California-Spanish restaurant (to be helmed by chef Robbie Lewis), a cooking classroom and retail store in Building 101 of the Montgomery Street Barracks that will also serve as the Presidio's official catering entity. The projected opening is in February 2014.

  • Credit: Heimo Schmidt

    Bruce Hill

    The chef and man behind such restaurants as Bix and Zero Zero has been busily reinventing a classic San Francisco restaurant. Formerly known as Fog City Diner, it's now called Fog City under Hill and has been transformed into a sleek new space with sophisticated food. Hill is also something of a food scientist; his patented burger press is the secret weapon of chefs everywhere.

  • Mourad Lahlou

    While his Moroccan restaurant Aziza continues to move from strength to strength, Lahlou has authored a book, developed a line of spices and mixes for Williams-Sonoma, and is raising money for a second restaurant under a different name. But he's also currently traveling the world and representing the United States as a culinary diplomat, appointed by none other than Hillary Clinton.

  • Tim West

    As a trained chef and the co-founder of Food Hackathon and other food-related startups, West is helping to break the boundaries and chart new ground as a 21st-century food evangelist. And he's helped many others connect to the resources to make their dreams come true. The next Food Hackathon takes place on November 16-17 in San Francisco and encourages the creation and presentation of software and hardware that contributes positively to the food system.

  • Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski

    This cooking couple has just reopened their newly expanded State Bird Provisions, one of the most acclaimed restaurants to open in San Francisco over the past two years. But they're just getting started. Stay tuned for the 2014 debut of The Progress, their second restaurant located right on the same block.

  • Adriano Paganini

    Paganini has his fingers in all sorts of pies - pizza pies at his restaurants Starbelly, Beretta and Delarosa - and buns at Super Duper, which is adding two new Bay Area locations within the next two months. But he's also honing in on a Mexican concept called Uno Dos Tacos, which is expected to make noise next year when it opens.