Chef David Nayfeld of Che Fico - Biography

San Fracisco, CA

May 2019

Native San Franciscan and self-described picky eater, David Nayfeld taught himself to make fried chicken at the age of 13, the same year he got a job as a dishwasher at a neighborhood Greek restaurant. The son of Jewish Belarusian refugees, Nayfeld didn’t care for traditional schooling, rather he was drawn to the frenetic energy of the kitchen.

He attended The Culinary Institute of America before working at Nobu in New York City, Aqua in San Francisco, Joel Robuchon’s Las Vegas eatery The Mansion at MGM Grand, New York’s Cru, and with Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park for four years.

Nayfeld gained notices as the debut chef for Los Angeles pop-up Fifty Seven before returning to San Francisco to open Che Fico with business partner Matt Brewer. The wildly popular and much-lauded 115-seat restaurant takes its name from a slang expression in Italian meaning “that’s cool.” Nayfeld spent several months in Italy working in Michelin-starred restaurants to finesse his understanding of regional Italian cooking. Despite his fine dining pedigree, he is drawn to rusticity: handmade pastas, Neapolitan pizzas, and Roman-Jewish specialties. Building on a foundation of regulars, Che Fico is part of the re-emergence and redefinition of neighborhood restaurants in America. Nayfeld is in it for the long run with more neighborhood concepts in the works.