Food Secrets of Fifth Floor Chef David Bazirgan

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Chef David Bazirgan. Photo by Meigan Canfield
Chef David Bazirgan. Photo: Meigan Canfield

Don’t let David Bazirgan’s “America’s Hottest Chef” crown--from Eater readers--keep you from noticing his considerable kitchen prowess (and uni flan) as Executive Chef at Fifth Floor Restaurant in San Francisco. The Massachusetts native trained at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. As a young chef, he spent line cook time at Olives Restaurant (helmed by Todd English, who has his own history of being considered a hot chef) as well as Boston’s Number 9, a James Beard awarded restaurant headed up by Bazirgan’s mentor, Barbara Lynch.

In 2005, Bazirgan won a StarChefs' Rising Star as Baraka’s (in Potrero Hill) Chef. Bazirgan worked in the Bay Area at Elisabeth Daniel in 2003 before working with restaurateur Jocelyn Bulow at Baraka, where he turned out food that showed proper French technique, with Moroccan and Spanish influences. The San Francisco Chronicle gave Baraka three stars in 2005, and “Baz” nailed the publication’s Rising Star Chef Award the same year. In 2008, Bazirgan plied his culinary craft with Provencal touches at Chez Papa Resto (at Mint Plaza), which was awarded three stars by the San Francisco Chronicle. The newlywed chef lives with his wife Michele in Potrero Hill; the two have been together for over six years. Bazirgan said that because he’s been in San Francisco for over eight years, “it feels like home now.”

Where do you like to shop for food?
I love getting into the different ethnic neighborhoods and shopping there. I like seeing the different fresh produce, spices, and ingredients. I love going to Nijiya market in Japantown, Luen Sing fish market in Chinatown and the Mission Meat Market in The Mission.

Favorite food & drink spots?
I really love going to Serpentine for brunch—the chicken fried steak and eggs is great, and it’s in my neighborhood. I also really love the food and cocktail program at Aziza and am frequently there on a night off.


Favorite Mom & Pop joints?
I’m a big Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack fan—nothing quite like that place! Truly Mediterranean on 16th and Valencia is also a favorite spot—their lamb shawerma is so good!

Where do you go for date night?
Michele and I usually are busy checking out the newest spot, or visiting our friends’ restaurants: Aziza, Una Pizza Napolatena and Umi Sushi in Potrero Hill.

Guiltiest local food pleasure?
RoliRoti! Nothing beats that porchetta sandwich—which is often my breakfast on market days.

Any news on projects we should know about?
Nope! Just adjusting and staying busy at the Fifth Floor!

While he adjusts to the new(ish) restaurant gig, readers can now plot where to spot this chef who happens to hold a title that includes the word “hot.”

Chef David Bazirgan. Photo by Meigan Canfield
Chef David Bazirgan. Photo: Meigan Canfield