Chef Bruce Hill has for years been one to watch for his mastery of craveable dishes: Neapolitan thin crust pizza; frozen custard perfection; and the best bar burger -- his dishes often made via wood-fired grill with the use of his patented stainless steel Chef's press. Hill is self-taught and trained with Jeremiah Tower at Stars as well as in the kitchen at Aqua. He is currently involved with the newly revamped Fog City as well as Zero Zero, Bix, Pizzeria Picco and Picco in Marin. His restaurants tend to get favorable notice from the San Francisco Chronicle and other publications and he is known as a cook with a great palate and a consistent manner.
Hill can often be spotted at the Civic Center farmers' market; more on that inspiration source in a bit. He has helped consumers learn about some tasty and unique specialty items before others caught on: black garlic and later organic soft serve ice cream with or without a swirl of olive oil. Hill was raised in Washington D.C. and has cooked locally since 1984. His team at Fog City includes Erik Lowe as Chef de Cuisine and Pastry Chef Aaron Toensing. Chef Hill’s comments have been edited for clarity and length.
Bay Area Bites: What is it like to be back at Fog City?
Hill: It’s a little bit mixed. We really have a range of different customers coming in. The building works now, and we changed the flow.
Being back in the building brings up a whole range of emotions. There are some very joyous days and there are some days we have to work hard to get people to understand what our product is. We challenged ourselves with keeping the two words of Fog City. You see the Yelps and they say, “This isn’t the Fog City Diner we remember.”
Bay Area Bites: Can you tell us more about the wood-fired dishes that utilize a custom-made grill?