There is a growing desire among chefs to develop and maintain positive, mutually beneficial relationships with local farmers and food producers, and very few chefs embody the spirit of collaboration between farm and kitchen like Thomas McNaughton. Over the past 10 years, Thomas has made it his mission to establish close relationships with the local producers in the Bay Area, relationships that allow him full visibility into how the meat he serves is raised and prepared.
In addition to his efforts with local farmers, Thomas was nominated for the James Beard Foundation “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award in 2010, 2011 and 2013, and in 2011, Thomas was named by Forbes magazine as one of their “30 Under 30” most influential personalities in the culinary world. In addition, Thomas was named by Food & Wine magazine as one of their “10 Empire Builders”; that same year, Thomas was named by Food & Wine as one of their “American Icons at Every Age.”
Thomas’ three San Francisco restaurants (flour + water, central kitchen and salumeria) demonstrate his considerable talents in the fields of Italian cuisine and locally-sourced California cuisine, and the reviews he’s received at all of his properties have been overwhelmingly positive.
Specialties & Resources
Thomas enhanced his expertise of Italian cuisine while in Bologna, Italy, and his mastery of this arena shines through in the menus at flour + water and salumeria (which Thomas has described as “the larder of flour + water). At flour + water, offerings include little gem lettuces with cured anchovy, breakfast radish, corno de toro pepper & breadcrumbs; fried duck rillettes with roasted cauliflower, pickled Romanesco & fermented spigarello relish; gargati with braised collard greens, pancetta & hen cracklins; cocoa chitarra with brown butter-braised giblets, kabocha squash & walnut; slow-baked halibut with turnip, black trumpet mushrooms & castelfranco; leg of lamb with prosecco-braised cabbage & sai sai; and mixed roast of pork with kabocha squash, hen of the woods mushrooms & salsa verde.
At central kitchen, Thomas focuses almost exclusively on California cuisine, making the most of locally-sourced ingredients. Offerings include raw halibut with calamansi citrus, ginger, avocado and chili; duck liver mousse with stone fruit and pickled mustard seed; pork trotter terrine with guajillo chili, poblano, radish and scallion; cauliflower mushroom mezzaluna with brown butter, apple and pine nut; pumpkin, ricotta & farro cappelletti with red walnut, Calabrian chili and sage; roasted hen with delicate squash and black chili; salmon with zucchini, green curry and almond relish; and beef cheeks & bavette with charred cabbage, eggplant and watercress.