The Daily Meal caught up with San Francisco chef Suzette Gresham to learn about how her travels influence her work. Gresham is the chef at the fine-dining Italian restaurant Acquerello in San Francisco. The restaurant has been the recipient of numerous awards, such as a Michelin star and the Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2012.
The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Suzette Gresham: In addition to traveling overseas with my handmade pasta, through international customs, and cooking on board a Seabourn Cruise ship as a guest chef, one meal on that same trip, at our port of call, in St. Tropez, France, L'Auberge de la Mole... stands out as unforgettable.
The aroma as we walked through a converted 1940s gas station to the dining room was evidence that something magical was about to happen. The conviviality, generosity, culinary prowess, and authenticity bowled us over. We were so unprepared for the grand food experience and cultural insight that it provided. I can remember it like it was yesterday.
TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
SG: Obsessed as I am with food, I have collected very unusual, odd serving pieces. I love my Italian sugar shovel, antique Victorian grape scissors, asparagus tongs, olive-grabbers, Depression glass candy dishes, and especially an antique salt cellar made from a sea shell and rimmed in silver. They are one-of-a-kind, tiny tributes to a different era of beautiful, thoughtful table settings and service.
TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
SG: Italy! As an Italian chef, I think I have barely scratched the surface of the cuisine and culture that I have built my career upon. It’s my dream to live and travel and, obviously, eat my way throughout the country as a whole, from the very north to south.