Chef Francis Derby of Cannibal - Biography

New York, NY

January 2011

Francis Derby started his career as a 14-year-old line cook at his uncle’s Varney’s Restaurant, a local seafood restaurant adored by the locals. Two years later, Derby was working as a line cook at the Bellport Restaurant on Long Island. He became sous chef after six years of dedication under the tutelage of his mentor, Chef Taylor Alonzo.


In 2001, Derby made the move to Manhattan to work at Atlas Restaurant, which at the time was the New York starting point for Chef Paul Liebrant. In 2003, he was part of the opening team of wd~50 under Chef Wylie Dufresne, going from chef de partie and garde manger to tournant of the kitchen; during this time, Derby was able to develop new menu ideas with new techniques within the scientific approach of the restaurant. In 2005, Derby took a trip that would change the way he looked at food, working under Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz as a one month stagier.


Late in 2005, Derby was given the opportunity to head up development of new techniques and menu concepts for Chef Paul Liebrant at Gilt Restaurant in New York City. And in 2007, he opened Tailor Restaurant in collaboration with Chef Sam Mason, developing savory food around a “pastry” driven menu.



Eager to keep expanding his culinary experience with new perspectives and challenges, Derby went to work at David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar as sous chef in 2008. Finally in 2009, Derby moved west (not all the way West, just to Soho) to work with Chef Josh Eden as the chef de cuisine of Shorty’s .32 executing a market driven menu of modern American ideas.