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Chef Joey Altman hails from San Francisco and has been at the forefront of the Bay Area culinary scene for over ten years.
Cooking and show business both came early to Joey Altman. He grew up in a resort town in New York’s Catskill Mountains, where his mother worked at Grossinger’s Hotel, one of the top venues on the Borscht Belt entertainment circuit.
Mel Brooks, Bill Cosby, Lionel Hampton, and other entertainers were early inspirations, and Altman’s culinary skills were developed at a young age, by cooking at family parties and celebrations. By the time he was in high school, Altman was an aspiring magician (“Altman the Magnificent”), he was playing guitar in a local rock band, and was working as a short-order cook in a local diner.
After graduating from the Hotel and Restaurant Management Program at Sullivan County Community College, Altman left for France to train under some of France’s finest chefs, including Bernard Constantin, Michel Izard, and Jean Brouilly, following the rigorous apprenticeship program of French kitchens. He left France, with a thorough grounding in the principles and techniques of classical French cuisine and an appreciation of the importance of balance and harmony in cooking.
Altman returned to America to work at Harvest restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Bob Kinkead; one of the creative forces behind the new American cuisine. At Harvest, he gained an appreciation of the exciting developments in American cooking that emphasized the freshest seasonal and regional ingredients in creative and exciting combinations.
Following his stint at Harvest, Altman traveled to New Orleans where he learned the principles of Creole and Cajun, cooking under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace. He also continued his travels and culinary adventures in the American South and Southwest, the Caribbean, and Mexico – all sources of his lively and eclectic style of cooking.
Upon arriving in the San Francisco Bay Area, Altman worked at Stars and other trend-setting San Francisco restaurants. But it was the Caribbean and African inspired dishes, that he created at Miss Pearl’s Jam House, which he opened in 1989; that catapulted Altman to the forefront of the highly competitive Bay Area restaurant scene. The restaurant was wildly popular and caught the attention of food writers nationwide, with its bright flavors and exciting and spicy combinations of exotic and colorful foods.
Soon after, Altman launched Bay Café, his popular food magazine television show that won the James Beard Award for Best Local Cooking Series in both 2000 and 2001, and is nominated for another in 2002. In addition to local television, Altman also hosted two series for the Television Food Network “Appetite for Adventure,” a show where gourmet cooking meets the great outdoors and “Tasting Napa” a culinary travelogue through Northern California’s wine country.
From 1999 to 2003, Joey Altman was executive chef /co-owner of the innovative restaurant, Wild Hare, in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco in the heart of the Silicon Valley; where he offered diners an evocative and inventive menu of a wide variety of meats, poultry, and seafood paired with seasonal and locally grown ingredients.
In addition to his Bay Café on KRON-TV, Altman appears at many benefits and food-related events in the Bay Area and nationwide. He also plays guitar in the Backburner’s Blues Band, a blues-rock group composed of other prominent Bay Area chefs and food professionals. The group plays at local benefits and can be found jamming occasionally at San Francisco rock clubs.
For more information about Joey Altman click here: http://www.joeyaltman.com