Daniel Patterson on how to run a creative kitchen
The Coi chef shares his managerial and culinary wisdom with Bloomberg's Francine Lacqua
It must be fantastically hard to establish and run a Michelin-starred restaurant. Yet it is difficult in quite a different way to boil down those years of hard-learned knowledge into bite-sized tips to suit the 24-hour news cycle. So, we're incredibly impressed by Daniel Patterson, founder and head chef of Coi, San Francisco's Coi restaurant.
During his recent trip to London, to promote his Phaidon book, Patterson offered some insight into the working practices that enabled his restaurant to win two Michelin stars with Bloomberg TV's Francine Lacqua.
"Consistency," he said, was the managerial key to running a good kitchen. "Its my job to inspire people, and to get in there with them and do the work," he went on. "I'm really lucky, we've had amazing people work with us, creating an environment that's passionate and creative."
In Daniel's opinion, geography and a certain lack of notoriety also played a part in Coi's success. Unlike Noma, which has topped the World's 50 Best Restaurant list, Coi has yet to find itself scrutinized quite so closely, while its position, up in San Francisco, removed from the big media centres of the US, means he and his colleagues can quietly get on with their work.
"In San Francisco, we're a little bit cosseted," he says "We're able to do our work in a way that's insulated. That's good," he adds, "because it's the people who come in through are door who are the important ones. In a way, our world is very small. Every day some people come through our doors, and we cook for them."
However, Daniel hasn't always been keen on stepping out of his kitchen and meeting these people. Only recently has he come around to the practice, not least because he's Coi most prominent public figure. "As a chef I used to never go to the dining room," he says. "but it is important to be the face. Now, I love talking to people when they want to talk."
It's only a brief interview, but an interesting one, not least because Daniel doesn't conduct a huge number of interviews. Watch the clip in full above, and, if you like the sound of his cuisine, take a look at our book.