Breaking New Ground
When husband-and-wife team Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski opened State Bird Provisions at the end of 2011, they instantly garnered national recognition for their unique dim-sum-style service and outstanding globally-influenced cuisine. Since the restaurant’s debut, Bon Appetit chose it as America’s Best New Restaurant, Food & Wine magazine added chef Brioza to their group of Best Chef All-Stars, chef Krasinski made Tasting Table’s list of Best Pastry Chefs and the restaurant won the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant (to name just a few accolades). We chat with the couple about their upcoming restaurant The Progress and must-have meals in San Francisco.
AndrewZimmern.com: Your dim-sum-style concept at State Bird Provisions is rather out-of-the-box. What’s the philosophy behind it?
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski: Our goal every night is to bring people into our “home” and throw the best dinner party they’ve ever been to.
AZ.com: You’ve dedicated a section of the menu to pancakes. Explain.
SB & NK: What’s to explain? Who doesn’t want to eat a short stack for dinner?!
AZ.com: Your menu seems to draw from global cuisines. What inspires your flavors?
SB & NK: Growing up in California we were exposed to amazing local produce and a true melting pot of culture: Chinese, India, Vietnamese, etc.
AZ.com: We hear you’re planning a new restaurant, The Progress, a few doors down. Care to share any details?
SB & NK: The name is an homage to the building’s original 1911 incarnation as The Progress Theater. We are fortunate to be in a century-old building that has enough space to house two restaurants. It has always been a dream to have this kind of setup where we can share elements of each kitchen and limit our commute. The Progress will work in a way that’s different and yet symbiotic with what we’ve learned at SBP. It’s a larger space with 25-foot ceilings and a mezzanine and we’ll have larger tables, and larger plates.
AZ.com: What’s it like working as a husband-and-wife team?
SB & NK: Fantastic! Our skill sets allow us the ability to divide and conquer and know that we always have one another’s back.
AZ.com: Top 3 must-have meals in San Francisco?
SB & NK: Hog Island Oysters in Tomales Bay (or Zuni Cafe) if you aren’t able to get up north. Breakfast at Primavera at the Saturday Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. The cheese section at Rainbow Grocery.
AZ.com: What’s in your fridge?
SB & NK: Butter, pickles, tortillas, Munster cheese and Champagne.
Check out their recipe for Glazed Pork Ribs with Scallions & Togarashi.
Nicole Krasinski and Stuart Brioza are the Chef/Owners of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco.
Stuart attended of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York, where he graduated with top honors. He then began his cooking career in the 1990’s working for Chef John Hogan in Chicago at the acclaimed Savarin restaurant.
Nicole’s pastry and baking skills were first nurtured at the Red Hen Bakery in Chicago under Chef Nancy Carey.
In the spring of 2000, Stuart and Nicole were hired to be the Executive Chef and Pastry Chef at the legendary Tapawingo in Ellsworth, Michigan, a hamlet of a town with a population of 400. It was there that they developed their own unique style of cooking using seasonal and local foods.
In 2003, Stuart was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s ‘10 Best New Chefs’ of America for his technique and commitment to using the best local ingredients.
In 2004, Stuart and Nicole were recruited by Restaurateur Drew Nieporent and Master Sommelier Larry Stone to take over the kitchen at the famed San Francisco restaurant Rubicon. In less than a year, their cooking reestablished the decade-old restaurant as one of the top dining destinations in San Francisco, garnering numerous local and international accolades.
On December 31st, 2011, after a few years of travel, exploration, and starting a family, Stuart and Nicole opened the award-wining State Bird Provisions, which has introduced a new way of thinking about dinner and service. Aside from earning legions more fans, they have received the following recognition and accolades: Food + Wine Magazine’s Best Chef All-Stars 2013; James Beard Award: Best New Restaurant 2013; Tasting Table Best Pastry Chefs of 2013; Bon Appetit Magazine’s Best New Restaurant of 2012; 7×7 Magazine: Eat + Drink Awards; Zagat: The 10 Hottest Restaurants in the World; San Francisco Chronicle: Top 100 Restaurants; San Francisco Business Journal Forty Under 40.
Photograph by Dylan + Jeni.