Saison appoints Laurent Gras as executive chef

Laura Price - 22/02/2019

Celebrated French chef Laurent Gras has taken over the kitchen at Saison, the San Francisco restaurant that sits at No.46 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Saison Hospitality Group announced today that Laurent Gras is taking over the kitchen at Saison in San Francisco, serving as executive chef and managing partner. Joshua Skenes, the chef and partner who led Saison to debut onto the 50 Best list in 2016, will continue to oversee the other restaurants in the Saison Hospitality Group with wine director and partner Mark Bright and will remain a partner at Saison. Gras has been running the Saison kitchen since June 2018.

“I am excited to return to a restaurant, to the community of chefs, and to the city of San Francisco,” Gras said. “Many of the country’s best farmers, winemakers, cheese makers and other producers are right out our back door. This is a great moment to be back in a region that has had such a strong influence on modern American cuisine.”

Before coming to Saison, Gras last worked in San Francisco as chef at the acclaimed Fifth Floor restaurant from 2001 to 2005. With more than 35 years of experience running some of the world’s finest kitchens, the French cook has worked at Le Louis XV in Monaco and Alain Ducasse in Paris, and at his own restaurant, L20, in Chicago. He has recently run pop-ups around New York City, developing his cooking with new ideas to take the maximum flavour from ingredients.

“No one cooks with more intention and openness,” said Mitchell Davis, 50 Best’s Academy Chair for East USA & East Canada and Chief Strategy Officer of the James Beard Foundation, also a close friend and co-author of digital cookbooks with Gras. “Over the years, his cooking has become more focused, more simple, in a deceptively complex way. It is modern and innovative without being gimmicky. Most of all, it is profoundly delicious. I have always been a huge fan of Saison. I am excited to see what Laurent will do with such a beautiful restaurant and a skilled team behind him.”

Gras will oversee everything from the bread and butter programme to the fermentation lab and pastry kitchen at Saison. Chef Skenes continues to run restaurants including Angler, which opened in September 2018 in San Francisco, and a new branch opening soon in Los Angeles.

Header images: Exterior image by Bonjwing Lee; Laurent Gras

The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list will be announced on Tuesday 25th June in Singapore. Find out about the programme of events around the awards.

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