Erik Anderson, the chef who has recently taken the helm of 3 Michelin-starred Coi in San Francisco, grew up exposed to the culinary industry. His parents owned a restaurant in Chicago, the city in which he was born and raised, and Erik spent most of his childhood in their restaurant. It was here that he realised he had a passion for experimenting with various ingredients and culinary techniques, and with that, his culinary career was born. From then onwards, Erik’s culinary career has blossomed and he has developed a characteristic cooking style that blends his diverse experience and artistic spirit.
Anderson’s first formal training in the hospitality industry began in 2006, where he joined the kitchen team at Chef Thomas Keller’s 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. Anderson then moved to Minneapolis where he took up a sous chef position at Auriga under Doug Flicker, the chef who he now considers his mentor. After three years of working with Flicker, Anderson left Auriga for a position at Hotel Ivy’s Porter & Frye, where he served as part of the restaurant’s opening team ultimately assuming the role of chef de cuisine.
Anderson subsequently left Porter & Frye in 2009, taking his creativity to Tim McKee’s Sea Change Restaurant & Bar, where he worked as chef de cuisine. Here, he built menus that focused on seasonal ingredients and sustainable seafood. Anderson’s excellent cooking at Sea Change received nationwide attention, and resulted in him being named a James Beard Foundation Award nominee as well as a “People’s Best New Chef Midwest” finalist by Food & Wine Magazine. This recognition marked a pinnacle in Anderson’s career.
After staging at the prestigious Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Anderson relocated to Nashville where he took the lead of the kitchen at The Catbird Seat, which is now considered as one of the United States’ most groundbreaking restaurants. At the Catbird Seat, Erik presented an ever-changing, fourteen-course tasting menu in an interactive format. This menu once again attracted much attention, leading Anderson to being named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2012. The following year, he was honored as Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef All Star”, where a talent from each class of past 25 years was highlighted. Furthermore, under Erik’s lead, The Catbird Seat also received accolades including Bon Appétit’s “Best New Restaurants in America” and one of GQ Magazine’s “Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America” as well as being featured in the NY Times and Mentions in Time Magazine. Anderson has also appeared on a variety of television shows, inlcuing Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern, PBS Series The Mind of a Chef, and Vice’s Munchies.
Erik returned to Minneapolis to revamp the 70-year-old Grand Café that focuses on neighborhood French fare – food that he loved to eat, but was not passionate about cooking. This is why when he was approached in 2017 to take over Matthew Kirkley’s position as executive chef at Daniel Patterson’s Coi in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, Anderson could not pass up the opportunity to cook the fine-dining food he was passionate about. At Coi, Erik now serves a multi-course tasting menu that highlights seasonally changing dishes, such as Dungeness crab terrine, fois gras tart, and pressed pigeon, using his prized 120-year-old duck press.
Describe your culinary philosophy in FOUR words:
Flavor, technique, flavor, technique.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Usually it’s a person, someone I know or someone I love.
What FOUR things would you take to a desert island?
Sunscreen, a boat (so I could leave DUH) ,’96 Krug and flip flops.
If you could take a plane ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
I would love to eat at Le Pyramide when Fernand Point was alive.
- Named as one of the “Best New Chefs” | Food and Wine Magazine 2012
- “Best New Chef All Star” | Food and Wine Magazine 2013
- The Catbird Seat named one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” | Bon Appétit
- The Catbird Seat named one of the “Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America” | GQ Magazine
- “People’s Best New Chef Midwest” | Food and Wine Magazine 2009
- James Beard Foundation Award nominee 2009