The TT 46

Aaron London

Al's Place, San Francisco, CA
Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux

Why he killed it in 2015: In the age of intense, creative, inventive, I-never-would-have-ever-thought-to-do-that-to-an-ingredient cooking, London is helping lead the charge with dishes like fermented and twice-fried french fries, fruit curries and smoked quince broths. Vegetables take center stage at his casual Mission restaurant, and meats are saved for the sides.

How would you describe your food? "Refreshingly delicious and technique driven but still simple and approachable."

What's your signature dish? "Black cod curry."

What's the most underrated ingredient, and how do you use it? "Yogurt whey. I use it for everything. I mix it with mushroom broth and quince poaching liquid for a chawanmushi served with persimmon and Fresno chile stem oil and use it to braise dried peaches with Thai aromatics, which when ready, is used to poach black cod for a roti taco."

What was your favorite meal of 2015? "Blue Hill at Stone Barns. It has always been an amazing restaurant, and it's one of the places I worked that influenced me the most. Every meal that I have had there has been a revelation, and the last meal I had there just blew it out of the water. There was a fast progression of unique and very hands-on dishes that were constantly arriving and then, at one point in the meal, they had us get up and move to a new setting, just for one course in a little shed that they had renovated for cooking food in compost. It was crazy, exciting and delicious."

Go-to hangover food? "Pho or skanky pizza with lots of mayo."

Find Al's Place on DINE.

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