From the Chef
Kory Stewart grew up on Whidbey Island, Washington, where he was steeped in the wild abundance of the Pacific Northwest. His first job in a professional kitchen was when he was just 12 years old, washing dishes in a small Italian restaurant. For the next 13 years Stewart continued working in professional kitchens, building his culinary skills and developing a passion for cooking that would lead him to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where he studied in 2002.
While at culinary school, Stewart worked at the award-winning Postrio restaurant for chefs Steven and Mitchell Rosenthall, who later recruited Stewart to join the culinary team at their Southern-inspired restaurant, Town Hall.
After completing his studies, Stewart embarked on extensive culinary travels through Southeast Asia – Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos and Japan – and central Mexico. Through these travels, he learned an intensity and range of flavors and styles previously unknown to him. Stewart’s experiences during this period continue to influence his perception of what great food is: intense, dynamic flavors balanced with clean, bright, simple tastes.
Following his travels, Stewart returned to San Francisco and to the kitchens of Michael Mina and Scott Howard, working at both chefs’ acclaimed eponymous restaurants.
Stewart’s next move was to Americano at Hotel Vitale in 2007, where he served as a sous chef before being elevated to executive sous chef in 2008. In 2010, Stewart was named executive chef. One year later, he won 7x7 magazine’s “Your City, Your Chef” readers’ poll award.
At Americano, Stewart’s comprehensive “hand-crafted” menu celebrates bold, Italian flavors in a California context, with daily house-made pasta, fresh mozzarella and other fresh Italian cheeses made in house. His menu choices are driven by what is available at the Ferry Building Marketplace, located across the street from his kitchen. A proponent of whole-animal utilization, Stewart also creates bi-annual “wild foods” dinners, which feature chef-foraged local foods including fish, seafood, wild mushrooms, wild flowers, vegetables and fruits.