Michael Tusk is the chef and owner of two of San Francisco’s most critically acclaimed restaurants, Quince and Cotogna. His approach to Italian and French regional cuisine is refined and modern, sourcing inspiration from the seasonal bounty of Northern California and his close relationships with local purveyors.

A native of New Jersey, Tusk attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, after graduating from Tulane University with a degree in Art History. After graduation, Tusk departed for Europe to gain experience in Michelin-starred restaurants throughout France and Italy. His experience in Italy’s Barbaresco region resonated most profoundly and was the catalyst for his sustained interest in Northern Italian regional cuisine.

Tusk returned to the United States in 1988 and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area where he contributed to the success of some of the country’s most pioneering, influential restaurants including Stars, Oliveto, and Chez Panisse. In December 2003, Tusk and his wife Lindsay opened Quince and the restaurant quickly became one of San Francisco’s top fine-dining destinations. In November 2010, they opened Cotogna, a bustling, rustic Italian restaurant adjacent to Quince.

Quince has been awarded four stars by the San Francisco Chronicle, two stars from The Michelin Guide, and is a distinguished member of Relais & Châteaux. Chef Tusk was named “Best Chef: Pacific” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011.


FOUR Questions with Michael

Describe your culinary philosophy in 5 words...

Local, spontaneous, fresh, healthy, inspired 


How did you feel when you were awarded your first Michelin star?

Since it was the first year of Michelin in the US, it was very gratifying. Three stars is our goal.


What is your greatest inspiration?

My wife.


What three things would you take to a desert island?

Champagne, caviar and white truffles.


  • 2 Michelin stars, Quince
  • Best Chef Pacific, 2011 | James Beard Foundation


Restaurant Quince

470 Pacific Avenue

San Francisco 

California 94133 

United States

+ 1 415 775 8500