Rising Star Chef Sean Baker of Verbena - Biography

San Francisco, CA

August 2014

The son of two restaurateurs, Sean Baker grew up around food, traveling with his family, and developing a varied palate from a young age. Like many native Northern Californians, eating fresh, local produce was a part of daily life. These early experiences, along with time spent helping his parents in their restaurants, led him to an education at Portland’s Western Culinary Institute.

After culinary school, Baker landed his first job at the city’s foremost vegan eatery, Millennium Restaurant. He spent four years working at Millennium, studying the art of layering vegetable flavors under the tutelage of Chef Eric Tucker. Baker then worked at Zibibbo and Google. An executive chef position drew him to Santa Cruz’s Gabriella Café, where he focused on whole animal cookery and developed a penchant for charcuterie. Baker brought those charcuterie skills and his varied experience to Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Cellar Door, where he served as consultant executive chef.

Baker combined his talents—vegetarian finesse and meat technique—at Berkeley’s Gather, where he offered a menu focused equally on delicious vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore presentations. His close relationship with Linda Butler of Lindencroft Farms brought sustainable ingredients, heirloom varietals, and heritage animal breeds into Gather’s repertoire and earned Baker a 2013 StarChefs Rising Star Award for Sustainability. In spring 2014, Baker took over executive chef duties at San Francisco’s blossoming Verbena.