Louis Maldonado launched his culinary career at One Market in San Francisco, working under Chef Adrian Hoffman. This after graduating from C.CA.
After cutting his teeth at the high-wattage restaurant, the 24-year-old landed a sous chef position on the opening team for Cortez, where he enjoyed the tutelage of chef/owners Quinn and Karen Hatfield. Maldonado quickly advanced, and in 2006, was promoted to co-executive chef. During his tenure at the helm, his cooking was well received, and Cortez was awarded a Michelin Star.
“Being a chef is about creating balance
with something I like to do.”
– Louis Maldonado, Executive Chef
Maldonado has also graced the kitchens of Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry and Café Majestic, where he was awarded the “Rising Star Chef “distinction by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2009. Most recently, he worked for three years as the chef de cuisine of the Michelin-starred Aziza in San Francisco, collaborating closely with acclaimed Chef Mourad Lahlou to craft innovative Moroccan-inspired menus before coming to Spoonbar in 2012.
His move to Spoonbar marks a return for Maldonado on two levels – he is both closer to his family in Ukiah, and his cooking now reflects his original culinary roots.
At Spoonbar, he has created a menu of clean and simple dishes that honor the many culinary traditions of the United States. His artfully-crafted, market-driven cuisine of fresh, bold flavors is built around seasonally-inspired local and sustainable ingredients, and Maldonado is pleased to encourage guests to venture into new culinary realms and try dishes inspired by the melting pot of American culture.
Beyond the SPOONBAR dining space is the bar where artisan cocktails compliment Chef’s bold flavours. It is the spot to hang out with locals and visitors on any given night in Healdsburg.
Chef Louis and I met in the kitchen at SPOONBAR for our Foodie Chap chat.
5 Tasty Questions with Chef Louis Maldonado
1. Cooking to you is about…?
You know for awhile it was about life, then I realized I have more going on here; i have a son and a wife. So now it’s more about creating balance with something I love to do.
2. It’s midnight and I go to your fridge at home, what will I find?
Tortillas, cheese and sour cream.
3. In your next life you come back as something other than a chef, what might you be?
A dancer! I wish I was a good dancer and would come back as a dancer.
4. What dish reminds you of home?
Barbeque. Barbeque is always a good one. Barbeque chicken and potato salad.
5. At your last supper, you can have a couple of guests, who would they be and what would you eat?
I’d have my grandfather and my son and we’ll probably have hot dogs.
with breadcrumbs, garlic oil and bottarga
16 oz fresh spaghetti or dry
3 tbsp butter
3 cups of day old country sourdough with crust removed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup olive oil
12 cloves garlic
1 cup canola oil
A day or two ahead of making the pasta, take the crust off of one or two loaves of country sourdough depending how large they are. Dice the bread into 1 inch cubes and let it air dry until hard, if it is still moist put into a low oven to dry but try not to get any color. Process in a food processor into the size of grapenuts. In a saute pan heat up the oil and until you can barely put your finger in it and add the breadcrumbs, toast until golden and strain.
Combine the garlic cloves and canola oil in a oven safe container, cover with foil and cook in a 300f still oven for 1 hour or until the garlic is soft and roasted and the oil is aromatic, strain off the oil and use for the pasta and save the garlic for other preparations.
If using fresh pasta- Use a shallow pan and add enough water so that it will cover the spaghetti, bring the water to a boil, salt and then add the pasta, stir the pasta in the water so it will release its starch and create a pan sauce, when 60% ready, add 4tbsp garlic oil and butter and toss to combine. Finish with the bread crumbs and grate a lot of bottarga over the top.
Dry pasta- Same preparation except, put the dry pasta into a larger pot until it falls and then finish the same way as the fresh, it will take longer but achieves the same end product.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)