Ritz-Carlton Chef Only Cooks With Most Exotic Local Foods
Chef Michael Rotondo experiments with 37 of San Francisco's most rare and unknown produce in his dishes.
When Michael Rotondo moved to San Francisco to take the helm of the Ritz-Carlton restaurant, Parallel 37, he had the same reaction many chefs new to the Bay area have had, he felt “like a kid in a candy store with all the great produce.”
Rotondo wanders through the San Francisco farmer’s market to find inspiration for his eight course tasting menu and à la carte dishes. If he sees an ingredient that he does not recognize, then he promptly purchases and experiments with the new flavors. He told CBS SF:
Living and working in San Francisco is a dream. This is a true food city where guests know great cuisine. There are few cities in the world where such amazing ingredients are available locally and in season year-round.
Rotondo has 37 exotic local ingredients on his menu that range from fermented black garlic to blood limes to sorrel, which gets its sharp flavor from oxalic acid, a poisonous substance if eaten in large qualities. But do not fear, Chef Rotondo, who spent eight years in Chicago under the helm of Charlie Trotter, has a deft hand. So if you are curious to try elephant garlic with octopus, or fish prepared with Ogo seaweed then head to Parallel 37 to wake up those taste buds.