KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Parke Ulrich attributes his life-long interest in cooking and food to his German heritage, large family and mealtimes that were always social gatherings, inspirations that have brought him to the position of executive chef at one of San Francisco’s most desirable dining destinations. The Philadelphia native’s passion for excellence and dedicated advocacy of sustainably-sourced seafood and fresh, local, organically-grown produce are the guiding forces of Waterbar’s daily-changing menu.
Prior to his role at the helm of Waterbar, Ulrich was part of the opening team for the world renowned San Francisco restaurant Farallon, collaborating with Chef/Owner Mark Franz. During Ulrich’s ten-year tenure, which included seven years as the restaurant’s executive chef, Farallon consistently appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Restaurant list and Zagat Guides Top Ten Most Popular Restaurants. Most recently, Ulrich partnered with Franz as part of the opening team for the critically acclaimed Nick’s Cove Restaurant in Tomales Bay, California.
An English major and graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Ulrich’s professional culinary career began in Aspen in 1989 at the Hotel Jerome, where he spent three years before leaving to attend the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating first in his class, Ulrich worked under the tutelage of Georges Perrier in the classic French kitchen of the five-star Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia, where the importance of quality ingredients and the unstinting pursuit of excellence became integral aspects of his culinary philosophy.
Ulrich was introduced to the Bay Area’s focus on seasonal cooking and the bounty of fresh, local ingredients available in Northern California when he accepted a position at the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, California. Ulrich quickly rose through the ranks at Lark Creek Inn to the position of executive sous chef.
As the guiding force at Waterbar, Ulrich’s goal is to serve simple, delicious food that is unified and clear in its taste and presentation, and to create an atmosphere in which food is celebrated as a daily ritual. Ulrich sees his role as chef encompassing the ongoing education of both staff and customers in the vital importance of sustainability, presenting a daily-changing menu of fresh, healthful and environmentally friendly selections.
Ulrich currently resides in Marin County, California with his wife, Ingrid, also a chef, and their two children. When he is not in the kitchen at Waterbar he enjoys spending time with his family, a variety of outdoor activities, and all water sports, including sailing, surfing, diving and fishing.
Hard work and passion has brought Parke to the pinnacle of his career, executive chef at one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants, Waterbar.
5 Tasty Questions with Chef Parke Ulrich
1. Being a Chef to you is about?
Learning my craft and passing it on to kids that are younger. Teaching!
2. What can you always find in your fridge at home?
Homemade kimchi, peanut butter and champagne always.
3. What well known person have you had the pleasure cooking for?
I’ve cooked for a lot of people in sports, politics, and music. But the overall the best was Julia Child.
4. If you come back in another life as not a chef what would you be?
I would be a writer and travel. Maybe write about food.
5. Last super couple of guest dead or alive famous or not who would it be and what would you eat?
It’s not going to be anything fancy or anyone famous. Friends and family and hopefully a few grandchildren. We will be grilling and doing a little crab boil on the beach somewhere.
Coconut-Curry Fish Stew
By Parke Ulrich of Waterbar Restaurant
2 c. white rice, cooked
1 – 16 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 c. white wine
1 white onion, julienned
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 piece ginger (thumb-sized), peeled and cut into planks for easy removal
2 T. green curry paste
1 lb. fish filets, largely diced (recommended: mahi mahi)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
In a saucepot, sweat the onions and garlic in 1 Tablespoon of canola oil. Once soft, add the curry paste and ginger and toast. Deglaze the pot with the wine and coconut milk. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Season fish with salt and pepper and add to the saucepot. Bring to a simmer and turn of the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove the planks of ginger.
Distribute warm rice evenly in 4 bowls. Adjust the seasoning of the fish curry with salt and lime juice to taste. Spoon over the rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
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