Chef Tu David Phu

On May 8, Chef Tu David Phu will be the featured chef at our kickoff event, serving a 5-course, Bay Area-influenced Vietnamese seafood menu. With the Farm To Fork SF event series, it's our goal to tell the story behind each meal, and the influences, cultural background, and personality of the chef are a big part of that story. So, with that in mind, we bring you "About The Chef," our very first blog post, giving you a little more info on what drives our first featured chef! Check back soon for more content, including videos and photos...


Tell us a little about your cultural background and how it affects your cooking.

I was born in Minnesota and moved to Oakland when I was 2. My family is from the Island of Phu Quoc in Southern Vietnam. I grew up watching my parents make tapioca noodles and fresh coconut milk every Sunday in Oakland. The pure joy and care they placed into food and traditions stuck with me. I was amazed how much cooking can enrich the lives of others. Obsessed with this perspective, I set out to make cooking my journey.

What's your culinary experience?

My resume reflects a reverence for American culinary greats, skilled in classical European traditions. I've worked at some of the nation's top Michelin-rated restaurants, including Chez Panisse, Quince, Acquerello, Daniel Boulud, Breslin, Gotham Bar and Grill, Gramercy Tavern, and most recently, I was the Executive Chef at Gather in Berkeley.  

What inspires you to cook and what are your goals as a chef?

It's who I am and what I do. I've been blessed to be able to move people through food and the dining experience I provide. I'd like to open a Chateau Relais-worthy high end resort/restaurant on my native island in Phu Quoc, Vietnam.

What are your values/philosophies as a chef?

Be original, cook what you know and what you are. Be local with your ingredients to support your community.

Where do you go to relax/unwind?

The ocean. I come from generations of free divers from Vietnam. We have a saying in our family--"If you dont take frequent trips to the ocean you are going to get sick."

What are some of your favorite Bay Area farms and food producers?

Hodo Soy Tofu - The owner is a good friend and he has some amazing Tofu

Devils Gulch Ranch - I love Mark's pigs

Dirty Girl Produce - Their beets are consistently amazing

Martin Bournesque - I love his variety and selection

Mendocino Sea and Vegetable Company - I love seaweed!

River Dog Farm & Full Belly Farm - They have the best roots and pumpkins

Kashiwase Farms - Best stone fruit and figs

Mendocino Sea and Vegetable Company

Mendocino Sea and Vegetable Company