|Pastry chef Emily Luchetti, one of the many Stars alumi|
But right here in the Bay Area, many top-notch restaurants are now headed up by Stars alums. We're sure many more talented toques who put in their time in his starry kitchens are still cooking in the Bay. (Are you out there? Let us know). Here's our list of the ones who went on to make a big dent of their own in the city's dining scene.
Mark Franz: JT's right-hand man for what feels like forever, Franz, who met Towers at the California Culinary Academy, now oversees the culinary operations at two of the city's splashiest seafooders, Farallon and Waterbar. He was a corporate officer of the StarTeam responsible for opening Towers' many restaurant ventures including Speedo 690, Stars Oakville and the Peak Cafe in Hong Kong.
Emily Luchetti: Luchetti was part of long-running open team pastry at Stars, and though she started out as a line cook, she eventually became the executive pastry chef. She penned several Stars-related cookbooks and co-owned a retail bakery called StarBake with Tower. She's now the executive pastry chef at Farallon and Waterbar, and was just named board chair of the James Beard Foundation.
Loretta Keller: Keller was responsible for all the sourcing at the original Stars, a key role when it comes to ingredient-driven Californian cuisine. She was also head chef at the more casual Stars Cafe. Her connections to the best ranchers, growers and producers serves her well at her current SoMa spot, Coco500, and its previous incarnation, Bizou.
Bruce Hill (Picco, Zero Zero): In 1984, Hill landed his first job in the city at Stars just four days after arriving in San Francisco. With $300 in his pocket, he needed the gig, and he worked with the opening crew that included Keller, Franz and Luchetti.
Wendy Brucker: Brucker, along with her husband Roscoe, has continued to mine the ingredient-driven mantra that she picked up at Stars at her own acclaimed Berkeley restaurants Rivoli and Trattoria Corso.
Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn): At her Marina atelier, her food delights with fanciful, highly technical preparations and presentations. But the French chef spent about two years in the early' 90s working in the very American Stars kitchen.
Alex Ong (Betelnut): He might be better known for his pan-Asian fusion chops, but Ong worked for three years as a senior sous-chef at Stars in the late '90s.