Stuart Brioza
558 Sacramento St.
San Francisco
(415) 434-4100

Biography »

Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking? What or who inspired you to become a chef?
Stuart Brioza: I fell into the culture of cooking.

AB: Do you feel that attending culinary school was important to the development of your skills as a chef? Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring chefs?
SB: I worked for 6 years before I went to the CIA. I enjoyed culinary school, but I would not recommend it to aspiring chefs. I think it’s more important to go to college and work for really good people.

AB: Can you talk about your mentors? Which chefs do you consider to be your peers? What chef/s do you most admire?
SB: Paul Hogan, whom I worked for at the Park Avenue Café in Chicago. Also Pete Peterson of Tapawingo in Ellsworth, Michigan. He was a showman of hospitality. He taught me how to work with guests and treat your staff with respect.

AB: Are there any unsung regional ingredients that everyone should know about? What are they?
SB: Porcini powder – I use it with mushrooms, and sprinkle on Jamaican pepper or allspice, as well as black and white pepper, salt, and sugar.

AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
SB: A chinois and a cutting board.

AB: What advice would you give to aspiring young chefs?
SB: Work hard, and don’t worry about the money - it took me 8 years to pay it off. Keep your nose to the grindstone, be enthusiastic, and focus.

AB: What is your favorite question to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
SB: A great starting point is to ask about the last dish they cooked. I want to see how they describe food. I look for the details and the enthusiasm.

AB: Is there a place that you want to travel to for culinary researching purposes?
SB: Japan – there are certain clean lines to the food, the way they build a dish with simplicity. I want to see how ingredients are dealt with, the minimalism, simplicity, and complexity all at the same time. It is very sincere food.

AB: What are your favorite restaurants in San Francisco? What is the most memorable meal that you’ve ever had?
SB: Incanto, Slanted Door, and Great Eastern in Chinatown - I love the minced squab in lettuce leaves.

AB: What trends do you see emerging in the restaurant industry right now?
SB: Spanish influences, and simple, fresh foods. In 10 years’ time there will be fewer great sauciers, which is something to think about.

AB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
SB: Developing my own cooking style, which will translate to my own restaurant. In the last 5 years my food has gotten better. I hope that going to Japan one day will influence my cuisine. I also hope to have more of an opportunity to influence young cooks and their careers.

Stuart Brioza
RUBICON | San Francisco

Stuart’s version of California Cuisine at the world renowned Rubicon is an intermingling of French technique, Asian flair, and Mediterranean simplicity. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he worked with John Hogan both at the Park Ave. Café and Savarin in Chicago before accepting an Executive Chef position at the legendary Tapawingo, in Ellsworth MI. It was there that he developed his own style of cooking, blending simplicity with seasonal and local foods. It was also where he learned about true hospitality, and how to work with his guests. Stuart left Michigan in autumn of 2003 to return to his home state of California, and in spring of 2004, he joined the team at Rubicon restaurant. No one articulates Stuart’s style of cooking more accurately than R. W. Apple Jr. of the New York Times, saying he has “an uncanny ability to synthesize elements of Asian and Mediterranean cuisines in a style that remains thoroughly American.”


Cold Terrine of Guinea Hen with Warm Brioche Butter
Chef Stuart Brioza of Rubicon – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by

Yield: 12-15 Servings


    Braised Guinea Hen Legs:
  • 2 pounds guinea hen legs
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 cloves star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bundle thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 cups tomato, diced
  • ½ gallon chicken stock
  • 8 sheets bloomed gelatin
  • Braised guinea hen legs
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chervil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 lemon rind, grated
  • 1-2 Tablespoons white soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons white truffle oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped tomato confit
  • 1 quart guinea hen braising liquid
    Brioche Butter:
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chervil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons brioche bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste  
  • 2-3 bunches watercress, washed and trimmed


For Braised Guinea Hen Legs:
Preheat oven to 300 ° F. Season guinea hen legs with garlic, star anise, bay leaves, ground peppercorns, thyme, salt and pepper. Heat grape seed oil in a skillet and sear the hen legs. In sauté pan, lightly caramelize the onion, carrot, celery, and tomatoes. Add vegetables to hen legs, cover with chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover with parchment paper and place in oven. Braise for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove from oven and rest in braising liquid for 1 hour. Remove the hen legs from liquid and strain through a chinois. Place braising liquid in saucepot and bring to a simmer while skimming. Remove 1 quart of braising liquid and add bloomed gelatin. Cool to room temperature.

For Terrine:
Pick guinea hen meat off legs and place into a bowl. Season the meat with the herbs, lemon rind, white soy sauce, truffle oil and chopped tomato confit. Place meat into a plastic wrap-lined terrine mold and cover with the bloomed braising liquid. Allow terrine to set in refrigerator for several hours before slicing.

For Brioche Butter:
Brown the butter and add the herbs, brioche crumbs, salt and pepper.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place a few sprigs of watercress onto warm plates. Slice the terrine and place over watercress. Carefully spoon the brioche butter around the terrine.


Wine Pairing:
Riesling, Prager, Durnsteiner Kaiserberg, Smaragd, Austria, 1998

   Published: October 2005