Chef Anne Gingrass
Chef Anne Gingrass has been involved with the cooking and serving of food most of her life. The daughter of a caterer in Stamford, Connecticut and a father who told her she could do whatever she set her mind to, she spent her teen years trying on a number of different hats including catering with her mother, learning to fly and adventurous traveling. By twenty she decided that cooking was her primary interest and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Upon graduation, she went back to Stamford and a job at a small, traditional French restaurant. Soon, a former classmate suggested she come to California and she ventured west to Los Angeles and applied for a job at Wolfgang Puck's Spago. Then-chef Mark Peel asked her to pick up organic tomatoes at a ranch in Irvine - a great feat for someone who was an innocent on the freeways of L.A. She returned victorious, prize in hand, and thus began a relationship with Spago that was to last for years and culminate in a position as executive chef at Postrio in San Francisco. During her years at Spago, Anne learned every position in the kitchen, often working alongside Wolfgang Puck, her biggest influence and someone she admires greatly for his talent and his generosity of spirit. He opened her eyes and palate to the delights of just-picked vegetables from the famed Chino Ranch, the use of vinaigrettes to impart flavor and the classical technique that informs his cooking. After a brief stint at Stars in San Francisco under chef Mark Franz, she returned to Spago in 1986 and became kitchen manager, co-chef with Hiro Sone, and finally Chef. In 1989, along with David Gingrass, she moved back to San Francisco and the two were co-chefs of the famed Postrio restaurant for its first five years. In 1995, she and David left Postrio to open their own restaurant, Hawthorne Lane. At Hawthorne Lane, Anne Gingrass' food has become more Northern Californian, more refined, while losing none of its punch. Moving away from the bold, scene stealing fusion cooking of her early San Francisco years, she has refined and deepened her understanding of the Asian techniques and flavors which punctuate her dishes. The Asian influences in her cooking are classic Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese. She is also inspired by the Bay Area's plethora of locally grown fruits and vegetables, particularly those she feels have not been fully explored. She regularly shops and chats with local farmers at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, and fosters relationships with a variety of growers. Each plate from Anne's kitchen is its own culinary universe of juxtapositions: very often, multiple sauces, temperatures and textures happily co-exist and co-mingle on a single dish. She is also working on the physical dishes themselves. She has begun designing ceramic dishes with good friend Cindy Pawlcyn, and participates in flower arrangements, color scheme, and every visual detail of Hawthorne Lane.