Kitchen Confidential :: Chef Nancy Oakes

Chef Nancy Oakes’ fresh and hearty fare has earned her the highest of praises, from a James Beard Foundation Award to the highly coveted Michelin Star. Yet her philosophy is anything but pretentious; she believes in comforting diners by way of food, surroundings and service.

“I come from a family of talented cooks, so I wanted to do for the public what they did for their families.”

Chef Oakes’ process is meticulous, from searching for the freshest of ingredients to perfect presentation and service. The end result yields a satisfied guest, flattered by the chef’s undivided attention. In addition to the award-wining Boulevard, she is also the culinary mastermind behind L’ Avenue, Barnacle and Prospect. Haute Living sat down with Chef Oakes to get the inside dish on her San Francisco eatery Boulevard, where she is both co-owner and chef.

1 Mission St., San Francisco, CA

How did you begin your career in the culinary field?

I come from a family of talented cooks, so I wanted to do for the public what they did for their families. What restaurants did you work at prior to Boulevard? I was the chef and owner of L’Avenue, a 50-seat San Francisco neighborhood bistro. Before L’Avenue, I, along with a friend, created a popular waterfront restaurant called Barnacle, also in San Francisco.

What appetizer, entrée and dessert is Boulevard best known for?

Our menu is always changing, but people always seem to gravitate to the Foie Gras appetizer, the Pork Chop entrée and we do an amazing Banana Cream Pie.

When you’re not at your Boulevard, where can we find you dining?

Aziza in San Francisco, Pizzaiolo in Oakland and Scopa in Healdsburg.

What’s your favorite drink?

White burgundy—expensive white burgundy.

What’s your favorite pastime?

Farming. It’s just a small plot, but it’s amazing and challenging to see what grows.