Staffan Terje at Perbacco. Photo: Frankie Frankeny
Chef and Restaurateur Staffan Terje likes it fresh at his Perbacco and barbacco eno trattoria "authentic Italian" restaurants in San Francisco. Why would a Swedish-raised chef choose to craft traditional dishes and recipes from "la cucina Piemontese?" Terje explained, "Italian food is the food that talks to me. You don't choose who you fall in love with. It just happens." Meat eaters of a certain breed may swoon to know that Terje has a curing room at Perbacco, used to make various salumi.
Perbacco is repeatedly listed as a San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 pick. 7x7 named the Perbacco Salumi on its "100 things to try before you die" list in 2009, and Conde Nast Traveler in 2007 gave the restaurant a spot on the 95 Hot Tables list.
Terje grew up on his grandfather's farm in Sweden, and became passionate about food and eating at an early age. He was surrounded by farm fresh produce, and comes from a family that loved to cook and eat. In high school, Terje was required to apprentice. Many of his classmates chose to apprentice as teachers' assistants; he chose a local slaughterhouse instead. "I was a punk rocker and naturally wanted to shock my classmates." The tactic work, and in the process, Terje realized he had a knack for butchering and quickly picked up knife skills that serve him today. Following high school, he enrolled at the Hotel and Restaurant School in Stockholm, and apprenticed at the Michelin starred Gourmet Restaurant.
Terje has been cooking in the Bay Area since 1986. Before opening Perbacco and barbacco, he was the chef at Scala’s Bistro for seven years. He has cooked at the James Beard House. Terje was responsible for new restaurant openings, menu development and training with the Piatti Ristorante group in Yountville, starting in 1988.