Interview with 2013 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Chef Mark Liberman

May 2013

Katherine Sacks: What made you interested in becoming a chef?
Mark Liberman: I didn't grow up in a household with chefs or cooks but I grew up in Northern California, so I was exposed to a lot of good cuisines and produce. Realistically what made me want to start cooking was I got into a lot of the old cooking shows, the “Great Chefs Series,” with Julia Child and Martin Yan. I wanted to get into the field, but it wasn't until I started coking at 17 that I really got the bug for it.

KS: Is there a new technique you’ve created that you really like?
ML: We play around with a lot of techniques here but I’m quick to give credit where it’s due. Like the cheese foam; there was a cold cheese foam in Modernist Cuisine. It’s their technique, but we took it and made it warm. Of course, there are some recipes that are definitely ours.

KS: What is the most challenging thing you’ve had to do in your career?
ML: ┬áProbably opening a restaurant and also I moved around a lot in the begining of my career. It’s somewhat challenging if you have a personal life, you miss all the family events. That’s hard when you are 23, being away from family and friends. I opened restaurants in Las Vegas; it was difficult but also playlandish because they throw money at everything. In the real world, where it’s your money, if you mess up you loose it.

KS: What are you most proud of?
ML: I was very proud to compete for the Bocuse d’Or. It’s not something I want to repeat but I’m happy it’s something I did. I'm very proud of AQ as well. Everyone asked why we opened here, it’s not the greatest corner, and I'm very happy with what we've accomplished here.

KS: Where will we find you in 5 years?
ML: Probably on this block. We just bought a farm, so either on this block or on the farm. We really like this area of San Francisco, and I think it will be even better in five years. I’d like to see more retail, more people living in this area; we would love to serve lunch here.