Beyoncé already knows that girls run the world, and they’re definitely running the world of cooking and dining (perhaps with fewer choreographed dance moves). Women are responsible for some of the Bay Area’s most celebrated and highly acclaimed restaurants, but despite Queen Bee’s proclamation, the spotlight doesn’t seem to be chasing women the same way it does male chefs.
So let's hear it for the badass ladies of San Francisco's best kitchens. From head chef to wine merchant, we’ve highlighted the top women in Bay Area cuisine.
1. Melissa Perello
Frances (address and info) and Octavia (address and info)
Melissa Perello is one of the few chefs for whom, it seems, everything they touch turns to delicious gold and the proof is in the, er, applewood smoked bacon beignets. In 2009, Perello opened her now Michelin-starred Frances, which offers a daily rotating menu focused on seasonality and availability. Although she no longer helms Frances, Perello’s latest venture, Octavia, shares Frances' focus on seasonal ingredients. There, Perello showcases her delicate and thoughtful skills in dishes like the deviled egg (fresno chile relish, dolcini egg, marash pepper & spice), which are as tasty as they sound fancy, and rely upon simple, well-thought out flavors.
Before opening her own spots, Perello worked as an executive chef at Fifth Floor, which won a Michelin Star when she was at its helm. She's also been nominated three separate times for the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year award and was named Best New Chef in 2004 by Food & Wine.