Chef Aaron London Practices Waste-Not Cooking


Renowned San Francisco chef Aaron London started his restaurant industry career washing dishes as a fourteen-year-old in his hometown of Graton, California. He followed his dishwashing experience with a series of non-glamorous, yet rewarding, restaurant jobs and a degree from the CIA in New York that led him steadily up the industry ladder. During his climb, Aaron spent time living and working in New York, Montreal, Tokyo and Paris until he landed simultaneous jobs at L’astrance and L’arpege, both in Paris and both rated three Michelin stars. In 2007, longing to bring his experience and provocative new ideas for cuisine back to California, Aaron jumped at the opportunity to work as a line cook at Ubuntu, a Napa Valley restaurant. After two short years at Ubuntu Aaron became the executive chef and hasn’t looked back since.

Now known as one of San Francisco’s and the country’s rising stars, Aaron generously hosted a private dinner for Alternative and friends this month. Part of what makes Aaron a unique voice in the industry and a perfect fit to stand out in San Francisco is his philosophy: deliciously simple food and empathetic service, all with a spirit of waste-not want-not creativity. On his waste free philosophy Aaron says:  “I get more excited about turnip greens and quince peels than I do about the base product.”

In the coming months Aaron and a few partners will be opening a much anticipated San Francisco restaurant that Aaron describes as: “A beautifully designed and centrally located, small neighborhood eatery, with simple and delicious food served with warm service.” Aaron certainly has his fundamentals down, and combined with his reputation as one of the best chef’s around, his new restaurant should be nothing short of extraordinary.

ras el hanout chips with rancho gordo yellow eye beans and fermented chillies

-Rancho gordo yellow eye beans
-garlic confit
-garlic confit oil
-fermented chilis
-lemon juice
-salt and pepper
-waxy potatoes
-ras el hanout spice
-ascorbic acid

  1. blend beans with some garilc confit, confit oil, evoo, chilis, honey and a squeeze of lemon.
  2. slice potatoes on a madalin and run under cold water for 30 min to remove starch.
  3. compine ras el hanout spice in a dry bowl with sugar, salt and ascorbic acid.
  4. drain and pat dry the potatoes, then fry at 275F untill crisp.
  5. season the chips woth the ras el hanout mix and serve with a bowl of the bean puree


black kale salad with yuzu, pistachio and fig leaf oil

-black kale, stemmed and sliced 1” thick
-toasted, chopped pistachio
-fig leaf oil
-white miso
-sliced shallot
-salt and pepper

  1. in a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, miso, yuzu zest and juice, shallot, lime juice and fig leaf oil.
  2. dice the avocado and dress with some of the dressing
  3. slice the radish and dress with some of the dressing
  4. sprinkle the pistachios over the kale and dress with some dressing, then combinethe radish and avocado.
  5. serve





Written by A. Will Brown

Photos by Daniel Dent




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