Chef Updates: Rebecca Boice Departs Zuni, Sara Hauman to PDX, Xavier Salomon Leaves The Ritz-Carlton, Plus Villon, Cultivar


How it goes down at Zuni: a table loaded with the classics. Photo: ©


Xavier Salomon, now the former executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay.

There are quite a few chef changes to report on, starting with the departure of chef Rebecca Boice from ~ZUNI CAFÉ~. She started at Zuni back in 2002, and after 10 years, left to cook elsewhere (in 2012), and then returned to Zuni in 2015, picking up the mantle after Judy Rodgers tragically died in 2013. Of all the people to help preserve and build upon Judy’s culinary legacy, Rebecca was it. I reached out to her for an update, and she confirmed she has departed and is going to be enjoying some well-deserved time off and also working on a few projects. I’ll keep you apprised of her next moves. Enjoy the sunshine, Rebecca!

Another talented SF chef has left us: Sara Hauman (most recently chef de cuisine at Octavia and previously Huxley and Mister Jiu’s) is now up in Portland at Arden Wine Bar & Kitchen, a female-owned and -run restaurant; you can read more here.

Last week, I went to the farewell party for the jovial chef Xavier Salomon, who is leaving The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay after 17 years. He is also leaving his 27-year career (!) with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company—he has mentored so many chefs. As you can imagine, the party was packed, with friends and colleagues coming from as far away as Malaysia to salute chef! He is moving with his wife Laura to Los Cabos, where Xavier will be the executive chef at Montage Los Cabos. Merci beaucoup for all your dedication, talent, delicious food, education, friendship, hospitality, and always-warm smile, chef! We will miss you, Zaza! Have fun working on that tan.

I heard that chef Jason Franey departed ~VILLON~ at the San Francisco Proper Hotel quite awhile ago, but neither Franey nor PR would confirm the rumor for me, so obviously they wanted to wait to be able to announce a successor: executive chef Mikey Adams. The Santa Cruz native was previously at The Tower in Edinburgh (until his visa ran out!), Shimo Modern Steak in Healdsburg (with Douglas Keane and Kolin Vazzoler), and Central Kitchen here in SF. His new menu offers a “fine-dining twist on comfort food from around the world,” from a salmon belly tostada with coconut and tomatillo crema to okonomiyaki with prawn kimchi and bonito. You can look over his new menus here.

Over at ~CULTIVAR~ in the Marina, Emily Lai of Malaysian pop-up Masak Masak is now the consulting executive chef. You’ll see some of her ingredient touches on the menu. Get ready for their patio to open in June.