Meet Taylor Pedersen, Chef at one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants, Anchor Oyster Bar on Castro Street.
With more than twenty years under his Chef’s coat, this young rock star Chef knows his way around a kitchen….albeit a small one. “It’s a little like cooking in the galley of a boat here,” Taylor told me. He works with just two burners and on busy nights will serve up seafood specials to more than two hundred customers. No sweat – right?
“Being a chef to me is about feeding a community.”
– Chef Taylor Pedersen
Taylor trained at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. Drawing from his heritage, he is best known for his Sicilian inspired cooking and his fresh take on “peasant food.” As a regular at Anchor, I can attest to his impressive culinary skills and his ability to consistently serve up knockout dishes; pastas, cioppino, seafood stews, soups and specials. The best seat in the house is at the counter.
He credits Anchor owner Roseanne Grimm, who opened this Castro hot spot in 1977, for allowing him freedom in the kitchen and the opportunity to be creative night after night.
When not cooking you can find Taylor playing with the San Francisco Accordion Chamber Ensemble or searching for secret dining spots and adventures around the Bay.
Chef Taylor met me at Anchor Oyster Bar for our Foodie Chap chat. Over champagne and clams we talked about his diverse journey in food.
“Five Tasty Questions With Chef Taylor Pedersen”
1. Being a Chef to you is about…?
Cooking for communities. Keeping communities together and healthy.
2. What dish reminds you of home?
Pasta. Always pasta. Pasta with garlic and olive oil. Just plain with garlic and olive oil.
3. In the soundtrack to your culinary journey you could pick one song or one artist, what would be on that soundtrack?
If I’m feeling rowdy which I may, I listen to Eastern European marching bang music. Boban Markovic is one of my favorites or if I’m feeling intellectual I’ll listen to Nina Simone. Anything by Nina Simone.
4. In a second life you come back as something other than a Chef, what would you be?
A musician. A pianist.
5. At your last supper, who will be your guests at the table and what will you eat?
It would be my mom and my brother and sister. We’d be eating chilequiles with some fresh crema and salsa.
Steamed Duxbury Clams with Seared Pancetta and Baby Arugula
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chili flake
5 stems of thyme
6 lemon slices (wheels)
10 duxbury clams
3 thin slices of pancetta
3 tbsp of butter
1 handful of baby arugula
3 tbsp of sliced garlic cloves – typically 6 large cloves
1 cup white wine
Brown pancetta in a pan on high heat – press between another pan of similar size once both sides are brown, add garlic, oil, thyme, lemon, clams and chili.
Brown garlic and deglaze with white wine.
Add butter and simmer on medium heat until clams open. Once open take off heat. Adjust seasoning for heat (chili flake), acid (lemon juice)
Plate and add fresh arugula on top.
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