Thomas Weibull of Velvet Room
By: Tyler Gosnell
San Francisco Travel has sought out the inspirations, recipes and meditations of some of this city’s finest chefs. Find out where chefs eat late night, get a great recipe or learn about what makes San Francisco cuisine utterly unique. We’ll be featuring this series throughout Dine About Town June 1-15. See who’s participating at dineabouttown.com.
This week we sat down to talk with the head chef from Velvet Room at CLIFT Hotel, Chef Thomas Weibull, who shares some of his culinary inspirations, favorite SF eats, and gives us a great recipe for B.C. Savory Clams, Smoked Bacon, Scallions and Miso Aioli Sour Dough Toast. His international culinary education offers a unique menu that's prepared with locally grown, fresh ingredients. At Velvet Room, Chef Thomas Weibull prepares a beautiful collection of dishes that range from sea and sky to terrain.
The best place to eat late in San Francisco?
Nowadays there is a lot of places go, but my go to place still is Yuet Lee in North Beach.
Who is your favorite chef?
It would be, hands down, the true devil of Hell’s Kitchen Marco Pierre White; I mean that guy put the Rock Star status in the culinary world for me.
What would your last meal be in San Francisco?
Well it’s really not a dish, but it would be the bread made at Quince. My wife and I had an awesome dinner there, and I would say it was the best I ever had in SF.
What is your favorite food or style and why (seafood, Thai, Indian, etc.)?
Japanese is my favorite. I love the simplicity of it.
On sourcing local ingredients:
As chefs we get educated by the local purveyor’s about the products being grown. It brings us closer to what we cook and also showcases to our guests what we can get in our very own Central Valley.
How does San Francisco influence you as a chef?
San Francisco influences a lot in my cooking not only by the product that is readily available to us but also the diversity we see in the city. It is such a melting pot here that trying new spices takes traditional dishes to a different level.
What’s your favorite San Francisco neighborhood and why?
Mission District, that neighborhood is awesome. It always has something new there but still feels very old and unique. It has its own personality!
Recipe: B.C. Savory Clams, Smoked Bacon, Scallions and Miso Aioli Sour Dough Toast
4 lbs. savory clams or Manila clams
3 cups homemade or powder dashi mixed with water
½ cup smoked bacon
¼ cup chopped scallions
½ cup white miso
½ tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs lemon juice
1 ½ cup mayonnaise or Kewpie mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
4 slices of sourdough toast
1. Miso aioli: Begin with mixing white miso, chopped garlic with mayonnaise or Kewpie mayonnaise and slowly add lemon juice to thin out. Refrigerate after mixing.
2. Clams: Wash under cold water to remove any sand. Check for any open clams or pebbles and discard those.
3. Cut smoked bacon into small strips and sauté over medium heat in a sauce pot until crispy. Add clams and dashi and cook until clams begin to open. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
4. Brush sourdough slices with olive oil and grill on both sides. Add a dollop of miso aioli on each slice.
5. Separate finished clams in four bowls with broth. Top with chopped scallions and miso aioli toast.
Weibull, born in the United States, moved with his family to Sweden when he was 15 years old. The son of two working parents and the eldest of four children, Weibull’s favorite chore was to cook meals for his siblings. Weibull enrolled in the Kristineberg Hotel and Restaurant School in Sweden, graduating with a degree in Hospitality. During his studies he began apprenticing at a small yet busy restaurant in downtown Sweden called Östermalm Kalleren. Post-graduation he moved back to the States and lived in multiple cities before finally settling in Northern California. Quickly he began to make a name for himself with posts at some of San Francisco’s most laudable eateries such as Executive Chef at the dearly departed Rubicon in the Financial District, and Executive Chef at Plouf, where he stayed on as a consult even after moving forward to become co-owner and Executive Chef at Les Amis. Since taking the helm at CLIFT, Weibull has learned to embrace the bigger challenges, because he loves nothing more than the big wins.
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