Chef Sean Baker brings a unique style of Northern California cooking to Gather, his restaurant in Berkeley, California. Baker's culinary technique ranges from rustic to modern, and his inspiration comes from deep working relationships with farmers and ranchers who are extremely passionate about their craft.
The ingredients drive the approach in Baker's kitchen. He collaborates with farmers such as Linda Butler of Lindencroft Farm, who cultivates rare heirloom varietals of vegetables, fruits, and grains; raises heritage animal breeds; and forages wild plants, flowers, pollen and mushrooms for the menu at Gather. Commonly discarded vegetable parts like peels, roots, bolts and silks are utilized to create Baker's distinctive dishes.
Baker was named Chef of the Year by Esquire in 2010, and The New York Times called Gather "a Michael Pollan book come to life." Baker lives in San Francisco with his wife, who is also a chef.
Q: Describe your cooking style.
A: My cooking style is hard to explain, but it's vegetable focused. I have this dream of having a restaurant menu that just says "turnip" – there could be meat in the dish, but it's always about the turnip. I try to extract as much flavor as I can from vegetables. I really enjoy the different flavor profiles, depth, richness – everything that's involved in vegetable cookery. I also think they aren't given the respect they deserve. But here in the Bay Area there are lots of chefs doing great things with vegetables.