The Daily Meal caught up with chef Adam Tortosa to learn about how his travels have influenced his work. Tortosa is the executive chef of the much anticipated San Francisco restaurant, 1760. The restaurant, a modern ingredient driven concept branching from the renowned Acquerello team (we’ve also spoken chef Suzette Gresham), is set to open in the Nob Hill area at the end of this month.
The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Adam Tortosa: While I was in Italy traveling for inspiration and research for 1760, we spent a few nights with a friend's family in the town of Guardia Vomano. The family took me under their wing and one day taught me a simple meal of handmade pasta and a delicious goat ragù. They had a wood fire going in the fireplace that they used to cook some homemade toast with lardo. There were no bells and whistles in the kitchen but they produced delicious, comforting food. What was really special about the food was that literally every single ingredient, from the flour to the goat, came from their backyard or a neighbor’s backyard.
TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
AT: My "sensei" (master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi) Katsuya gave me wood moribashi (plating chopsticks) from Japan a few years back. I loved them and would use them all the time. I couldn't find anything similar anywhere in America after asking everyone. When Katsuya took me along to Japan, I made sure we took a special trip to get those moribashi (I bought close to 20 pairs).
TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
AT: Japan. There is an attention to detail in Japan that is unmatched. Restaurants focus on a very specific genre of food. For example, one place may serve only a certain type of ramen or another place could solely focus on grilled chicken. Instead of doing 12 things that are good they do one thing that is great. It is all in the details and the Japanese people fully understand that. There is so much to learn from a trip to Japan.