An Interview with Cotogna Chef Michael Tusk – Taste of the Nation San Francisco

Taste of the Nation SF

There is no shortage of of food festivals in San Francisco, one of the many reasons why I love this city! Of course its always a bonus when you can combine good food and celebrity chefs with eating for a cause.  Or four, in the case of this year’s Taste of the Nation San Francisco event…four!

This year’s event is taking place on Thursday, March 26 at the City View in The Metreon.  Along with 100 of the city’s most influential food and drink peeps, by attending you’ll help raising funds for 18 Reasons, Children of Shelters, California Food Policy Advocates, and California Association of Food Banks — an opportunity to help as many kids as possible from a diverse range of LOCAL hunger programs – that’s right, the money is staying right here in the Bay Area.

And while I will be away in Boston for the Women in Travel Summit, and unable to attend, I did want to share the festival details with you (including a discount code at the bottom) and introduce you to the event’s chair, Chef Michael Tusk of Cotogna.  I had the opportunity to interview chef Tusk about Taste of the Nation SF, something I would never pass up!

Michael Tusk, executive chef of Quince and Cotogna restaurants, is a San Francisco legend landing here in 1988 and never looking back with early stints at some of the greats, like Chez Panisse, among many others. He is known for Italian and French regional cuisine with a modern approach and was rewarded with a James Beard award for Best Chef Pacific in 2011.

Let’s hear more from Chef Tusk….

Chef Michael Tusk

Tell me a little about the Taste of the Nation SF event and why your participate.

I truly believe TOTN SF is the premier tasting event in San Francisco. It is an opportunity for fellow chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers, beer makers and mixologists alike to come together to support such an important cause. With nearly 1000 guests, a DJ and sweeping views of the city, it’s quite a party as well!

And why is supporting No Kids Hungry initiate important to you?

We, as chefs, are so fortunate to have access here in the Bay Area to some of the best, most beautiful and nourishing produce on the planet; this allows us to further pay it forward and help serve and nourish those most deserving with the funds raised from the event.

Besides your restaurant, what are some of your favorite spots to eat at in SF?

House of Prime Rib [a spot I mentioned as a legend here] , Bar Agricole [another favorite of mine], Kin Khao.  [See how his tastes have changed yet some guilty pleasures remain the same in this interview that chef Tusk did for Condé Nast Traveler.]

House of Prime Rib

Photo credit: Jun Seita

For coffee in SF?

Sightglass. [See how much this coffee is ingrained in chef Tusk’s routine in this great post from Seed, Bark & Root.]

For after-hours drinks and eats in SF?

Tosca.  [Great Italian fare of course! Here is a solid review from Serious Eats.]

chef Tusk making pasta

Photo credit: Fine Cooking

Favorite meal to cook at home?

Roast Chicken.  [Read why this is his go to meal for impressing guest in this quickie interview from 7×7.]

Photo credit Panna Cooking

Photo credit Panna Cooking

Your favorite comfort food?

Dim Sum. [Well, you know how I feel about San Francisco dimsum, here is my guide!]

What is your favorite city to travel/eat?

Kyoto. [Chef Tusk just went to Japan along with several other San Francisco chefs, there were lots of great Instagram photos!  I too, loved Kyoto on my own trip.]

Delicious #crab at Ifuki in #Kyoto

A photo posted by Chef Michael Tusk (@michaeltusk) on

For someone visiting San Francisco the first time and dining at Cotogna, what should they not be remiss in ordering?

Try the raviolo or agnolotti or for a larger appetite, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Thanks Chef Tusk!

Cotogna is located in San Francisco’s Financial District and one of AFAR Magazine Davina Baum’s favorite lunch spots.  See more great places to eat, sip, see and do in FiDi in my San Francisco Profile on this area.

Now that you have learned a little more about Taste of the Nation San Francisco and have met the event chair, what more can I say to convince you to attend?  Oh right.  I’ve got a discount code!

Use the promo code 2015MEDIACOMP and you will get 20% off either the VIP or General Admission tickets price when purchased at this website.

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Location: City View at The Metreon, 135 4th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.; 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. for VIP
Admission: $125 for general admission; $250 for VIP

Have you been to Taste of the Nation anywhere in the U.S.  In San Francisco?

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About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. A marketing gal who gave up my job to travel around the United States in an RV with my hubby. I'm now settling into the Portland area where I'm looking for my next career adventure! I love to travel via my stomach. Eating, seeking out local artisans and features to share. I've got more than 26 years of experience in marketing focused on content, social media, and direct marketing and I've mentored many bloggers, old and new.

Comments

  1. My little sister lives in San Francisco now. I’ll have to tell her about this. This is totally something she’d be interested in. Thanks for sharing this interview!

  2. Food looks so tasty
    Rosie x

  3. What a fun post – I really enjoyed the interview. I can tell he is very talented! 🙂

  4. I love hearing chefs talk–as someone who’s cooking challenged, it’s fun to hear from someone who’s figured out what I haven’t! 🙂 I love that he’s involved in giving back to the community, too!
    Natalie recently posted…5 Historic Southern Scottish Places You Don’t Want to Miss

  5. All dishes look for tempting. I wish I could visit the place once.

  6. These dishes look so yummy. I really want to go to one of these Tasting events. I am also a big supporter of No Kids Hungry. There is absolutely no reason any child or adult should go hungry in America. Having the support of big events and well known chefs is great for the No Kids Hungry organization.
    MJ recently posted…Skittles Popsicles Recipe For Basketball Game Day

  7. I wish it is that near, I would surely attend! We went to San Francisco last year and wish I could have read this interview. IT would have helped us find the interesting places to eat. The Bistecca Alla Feorentina sounds like a fine dining place!
    Chubskulit Rose recently posted…Ahoy Matey, Here Comes the Pirate

  8. Oh my goodness, all of that food looks amazing! It def doesn’t surprise me that this is in SF, they had such amazing restaurants and chefs when we went. I’ll be heading back there in April, super excited just to eat, eat, eat!
    Beth recently posted…10 Ways to Enjoy Vienna

  9. I have never been to San Francisco, but I would love to visit some day. This was a great interview and interesting read. If definitely looks like SF doesn’t have a shortage of food places to eat! I would love to taste some of these amazing recipes.
    Amy @ Will Run For Ice Cream recently posted…#TuesdayTidbit – Finding The Right Shoe

  10. I wish I could attend! I understand your own disappointment at not being able to go. There are so many good eateries out there, and having an event that supports charity is really a plus. If someone gets to go, I hope they can come back and tell us all how it went!

  11. i’ve been wanting to dine at chez panisse. i wish i was going to WIT. i think maybe next year. 🙂 i’m actually super shy and awful at networking.. so i wanted to go to a conference that’s for both guys and gals.. but maybe i’ll just make jacob tag along.
    Local Adventurer recently posted…Delphi Greece – A Day Trip from Athens

  12. This looks amazing. Too bad you’ll be at WITS with ME! And Esther you should totally come — there’s no rule that says you can’t bring Jacob!
    Katie @ Domestiphobia recently posted…DIY Giant Framed Wall Map: How’s That For A Statement Piece?

  13. San Francisco would be an amazing city to attend food festivals in!! All of Chef Michael’s food looks amazing! I love when we travel and finding new places in a city to eat at and try new foods!
    Tammilee Tips recently posted…First look at the Family Fun on the brand new Carnival Vista

  14. brook devis says:

    unfortunatly i dnt live in san francesco but i have many friends there. i think they would love to know about this. i wish i could attend 🙁

  15. I love eating for a good cause 🙂 Wish this event was in my hood !
    Winter White recently posted…A Spring Celebration with U by Kotex

  16. It’s nice to know that so many brilliant and talented people can come together for hungry children. I hope they raise lots of money for such a worthy cause! It was also interesting to read about Chef Tusk. He sounds very talented, yet also humble enough to promote other restaurants and cuisines. Sounds like a great city for food!

  17. Can we please talk about how delicious all of that food looks?! YUM!
    Becca recently posted…Blanket Lollipops Tutorial

  18. All these dishes look really delicious! I’m sadden Everytime I think about kids going hungry, itbreaks my heart.
    Adanna recently posted…4 Fun Spring Family Activities

  19. It’s really a wonderful world of food for chefs. Seeing and creating different beautiful and tasty food items can be a challenge though. As much as it sounds exciting, the tasting event can be stressful. They make it for a good cause so that’s something worthwhile. I wonder how he makes his version of roast chicken.

  20. This festival sounds great!! I love how it helps the hungry at the same time. Too bad you are missing it!
    Angie recently posted…St. Patrick’s Day Roundup

  21. I have visited California so many times in years past and several city there. However I have never been to San Francisco and now that I read of all these food festivals I’m wondering WHY?! I am a fan of food! I need to visit San Fran on my next visit to the west coast.
    geanine recently posted…National Nutrition Month with Vita Coco Kids

  22. this food looks delicious

  23. Maria Morais Sarmento says:

    Everything looks delicious! Love knowing about chefs from all over the world 🙂

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