Anyone in the restaurant industry knows that forty years is a milestone worth celebrating. For chef Annie Somerville at San Francisco’s iconic Greens Restaurant, the anniversary calls for a series of six dinners spanning from July through December 2019, hosted by an all-star chef lineup of chefs like Alice Waters, Reem Assil, Tanya Holland, Suzette Gresham, Kim Alter, and Pam Mazzola.
“Chef Annie Somerville and I go back to a different era,” says Gresham, co-owner and executive chef at Acquerello. “She did an incredible job of moving the whole genre of vegetarian from a medicinal storefront to an acceptable and enjoyable way to dine.” Gresham will host a dinner as part of the anniversary celebration on September 11, for which she and her chef de cuisine, Seth Turiansky, dug deep into their own Bay Area restaurant’s thirty year history for inspiration.
“The dishes deliver an exuberant personality that a diner may not expect from a vegetable-driven dish,” Gresham says. “It is an integral part of our own philosophy to honor vegetables and those that produce them.” Gresham says that despite the progress restaurants like Greens have driven, today’s diners can still be very animal protein focused.
“Vegetables are often not given a starring role because they don't get respect from the dining public. We're hoping to help change that in our own way,” she says.
While each chef intends to pay homage to Greens’ legacy in their own way, the series also marks an opportunity to pay close attention to the restaurant’s future.
“Chef Denise St. Onge at Greens is a force to reckon with,” Gresham says. “She is a quiet storm wrapped up in a diplomatic package. Her love of vegetables and the seasons were abundantly apparent even during her tenure at the now shuttered Contrada. Greens realizes and appreciates this unique quality in her and trusts her to let her carry the restaurant forward into what Greens and the world of vegetables could become, for all of us.”
Tickets to the Greens Anniversary dinner series are available here.