6/14/2012 01:00:00 PM

Sisters Doin’ It for Themselves: Bay Area Female Chefs To Watch

Chef changes are nothing new but in a refreshing turn of events, the latest shuffle of talented toques making news these days are women. Here’s hoping the recent hires of these X chromosome-heavy chefs will make a dent in the dearth of female chefs that we all lament about.

Jessica Largey at Manresa: As we pointed out in our Manresa Family Tree story, the kitchen brigade at David Kinch’s Los Gatos restaurant has been largely a brotherhood (the notable exception being Kim Alter). But Kinch recently promoted his 26-year old sous chef, Jessica Largey (who also worked at Providence in LA and The Fat Duck in England) to the position of chef de cuisine. Joining her in the kitchen is Stephanie Prida (formerly of notable Chicago spots RIA and L2o Restaurant).

Sophina Uong at Picán: Over in Oakland, replacing Dean Dupuis at the Southern-styled Picán, is Sophina Uong, whose 15-year career has included positions at Waterbar and 900 Grayson. Uong has already ushered in new lunch and dinner menus and has also reinvented the bar program with new dishes and drink selections.

Sarah Kirnon of Miss Ollie’s: The recently departed Hibiscus chef has found a location at Oakland’s Swan’s Market (901 Washington St) for her forthcoming market-driven sit-down Caribbean restaurant. The venture, dubbed Miss Ollie’s, will feature the flavors of African diaspora and for those of you who remember her legendary fried chicken from The Front Porch, rest assured, it’ll be served here as well.

Margaret Grade at The Olema Inn: Up North, the Inside Scoop tells us that Margaret Grade (of the beloved now shuttered Manka’s) and her business partner Daniel DeLong have taken over The Olema Inn and hope to reproduce her rustic magic at the historic roadhouse restaurant presenting late lunches and simple dinners sometime later this August.

Amy Brown of Nopa: Pastry chef Amy Brown is now a free agent since leaving her perch at the popular NoPa spot. Since then, we’ve seen her crop up as the pastry chef for Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen’s Friday night shabbis dinners and according to Tablehopper, she’ll be taking a break from the Bay for a little staging in Seattle and world travel. But she intends to return to SF where she will be looking for a cafe space in the Outer Richmond. Taking Amy’s place at NoPa will be her assistant Anna Lee.

Rachel Silcocks of Piccino: Rachel Silcocks, the chef who successful helped launch the reboot of Piccino when it relocated to The Yellow Building in Dogpatch, has announced her intent to depart in mid-July, citing burnout. Update: The Inside Scoop reports Silcocks, whose previous cv experiences includes Nopa and Cyrus, will become the new executive chef at Range. Piccino owners Margherita Stewart Sagan and Sher Rogart have not named her replacement yet.


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