Our gay-friendly town is about to get full of visitors. June means that the Bay Area and more specifically, San Francisco, fills to the brim with folks from all over the world to observe and celebrate the events, marches and festivities that culminate in SF LGBT Pride. Bay Area Bites is noting this 42nd annual come-as-you-are love fest by telling stories from the LBGT chefs, personalities and waiters who keep us sated 365 days of the year. Turns out, cooking and serving food here can be something of a non-issue for some of the LGBT folks we talked with.
Up first is Adam Jones, who is the Food and Beverage (“F&B” in industry parlance) Director and Executive Chef at the Embarcadero restaurant Palomino in San Francisco, where Jones said “forty per cent of our staff are gay.” Jones has spent 26 of his 38 years working in restaurants. The Kansas City native is from "the Missouri side, where it’s home of the Chiefs, restaurants and industrial stuff.” He has also cooked at the Hotel Whitcomb, and Restaurant Michael Mina. Jones was Executive Chef at the Franciscan Restaurant, which is known as much for its crab cakes as it is for being one of the only restaurants to ever sponsor a float for the San Francisco Gay Pride parade.
Bay Area Bites caught up with Jones via phone interview. His comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Adam Jones with Roland Passot at La Folie photo courtesy of Adam Jones
The culinary world has often been portrayed as quite sexist. What is your perspective and experience with regard to sexism as well as homophobia in the restaurant world?
I’ve seen way more women in the kitchen these days. It’s not just a San Francisco thing. I’ve been in kitchens all over: Paris, Venezia, Kansas City, and here. There are way more women now than there were before. I am 38 but 26 of those years have been spent in commercial kitchens. That kind of work is all I know. I have more women working for me now. I should say girls since some of them are quite young. Overall, I think having more women in the kitchen is a positive thing.