United States Chef
Mihir Shah Profile
Life is good!
It's hard for me to overstate how important food and wine are to my life. While I often find myself planning my next meal while I'm eating the current one, it goes beyond that. I have come to equate good times with enjoying a meal with friends and family. Cooking for my kids, cooking with my friends, selecting a bottle from the cellar to enjoy while cooking, and eating out at San Francisco's restaurants consumes most of my free time.
Being so involved in the industry, I am often asked what my favorite food is. It's impossible for me to answer, except by saying "the good kind". There are so many types of cuisine that I love, and so many chefs that I think are very special. Is it wrong that I can love lunch at Yank Sing, appetizers at Bar Bambino, and a late dinner at A16? I think not.
Chris Rock said recently that if you love your career, there are not enough hours in the day. For me, there are not enough meals in a day. What a way to live! And yes, I do subscribe to Taco Bell's 4th meal theory!
I am most influenced by my mother who cooked home meals from scratch almost every night I was growing up. She would make her own dough for wonderful Indian breads and would stuff her own eggplant or okra for homemade Indian curries. Of course, I took it all for granted when I was young; now, as a father of 3, I am amazed by her efforts and consistency. This didn't happen for one month or one year, she did this this every week of every year we were growing up.
I am also influenced by my maternal grandmother. I remember visiting her in Santa Rosa, eagerly anticipating her curries and gado-gado sauce. There's nothing better than a grandma-induced food coma.
More recently, I have been influenced by a number of young chefs in San Francisco. Those of us lucky enough to live in the SF Bay Area are fortunate to have folks like Nate Appleman, Jonnatan Leiva, Jeremy Cheng, Alex Marsh and so many more new-generation chefs. These rising stars take the organic and locally-sourced approach from greats such as Alice Waters and Thomas Keller - and offer restaurant atmospheres and dishes that inspire my generation. Their focus on simplicity and the joy of eating and drinking with friends and family has further elevated my passion for all things food.
- A16 Food & Wine (Nate Appleman)
- Beautiful cookbook, great recipes, instructive pictures
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