One Market also recently was awarded the 2012 Diner’s Choice Award for San Francisco from Open Table. Ali sat down with the Northern California native to discuss cooking, caviar, and his career.
Ali: As a native Californian, you definitely have incorporated this into your style. Can you talk about this and your other influences?
Mark: I began my career at Fleur de Lys and was immediately trained in the art of contemporary French cuisine by Chef Hubert Keller. I like to blend the best ingredients from California with classical French techniques learned from my previous experiences. I really focus on having unique menus and staying creative by trying not to repeat my dishes.
Ali: In addition to your time at famous restaurants like Fleur de Lys, Lespinasse, and Palladin, you had the honor of opening Julia’s Kitchen in Napa Valley as the Executive Chef. Do you have any unique memories or stories from there?
Mark: I had the honor of cooking for Julia Childs about a half dozen times. The one I remember most was the day after one of her 90th birthday celebrations at Copia. She came into Julia’s Kitchen for lunch. All she wanted to order was a hamburger.
Mark: The reality is that cooking is a craft and a learned skill. You improve through repetition. This can be self taught or schooled and it’s up to the individual to make the assessment of what’s best for them. I will say that the cost of culinary school has risen dramatically since my program at the California Culinary Academy back in the 80’s.
Ali: On the caviar front, do you have a favorite dish where you’ve incorporated caviar?
Mark: I put together a dish for an event I did that included large grain White Sturgeon caviar. It also had Baerii and Hackleback. I’ll give you a picture of the dish to include in the blog.
A big Caviarblog thanks goes to Chef Mark Dommen for taking the time to sit with us and share his experiences and wisdom with our readers. We hope you enjoy.