Gathering chefs and food people into one room for a conference is such a pleasure. These important relationships that connect people to food are truly invaluable, particularly for those of us who choose to write about food and drink for our passion-projects of livelihood. It’s folks like Chef-Owners like Michael Fagnoni (and his partner, Molly Hawks!), of Hawks Restaurant and Hawks Provisions + Public House, that truly define what working with food is all about.
A New York native, Fagnoni’s education began in his grandmother’s kitchen where he helped her craft her Northern Italian feasts, laying the groundwork for the beginning of an impressive culinary career. He started cooking in kitchens at 15 and attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York graduating on the Dean’s List with high honors, before moving to San Francisco in 2001. Fagnoni has worked under renowned chefs in San Francisco and New York City including Rick Moonan at Oceana, Mark Sullivan at The Village Pub, and Traci des Jardins of Jardinière. His modern take on American cuisine reflects the localvore, slow food movements and the bounty of ingredients available in Sacramento.
He took some time to answer questions for us in anticipation of our Friday night TASTE OF SACRAMENTOevent. Who’s mouth is watering now?!
1. In one sentence, describe your ethos or goal with Hawks
To create a comfortable place for guests to come enjoy delicious food, drink and have a great time.
2. You are in farm country – do you have a favorite veg or fruit that you wait for all year?
We love California Avocados as well as heirloom tomatoes and stonefruit. We have access to the very best here in the Sacramento area, in my opinion.
3. What inspires you, as a chef?
Making guests happy, highlighting great products, the energy of a strong service
4. How has technology shaped your business?
From social media to the reservation system, our business is accessible at all times. Every plate could end up on Social Media, they all need to be perfect.
5. What are you serving at IFBC?
Strawberry gazpacho, jalapeno, mint and Seka Hills olive oil
Smoked trout, dill pickle, chili and pine nuts, olotillio corn chip
Steak tartare, cured egg yolk and crispy sunchoke
6. If you could talk to all of our bloggers individually, what would you want them to know about food, technology, your biz?
We take the best ingredients, prepare them simply but in an interesting way. We really do buy from local farms, not just talk about “farm to fork”. Our food at both restaurants is made from the ground up, starting with whole primal butchery, bones for broth and daily vegetable harvest. We make everything possible, we are true cooks.