Chefs, farmers and eaters

Chatting with feeders: Staffan Terje, Perbacco Ristorante + Bar

Staffan Terje is the Chef/Co-owner of Perbacco ristorante + bar and Barbacco eno trattoria, two modern Italian restaurants in the Financial District of San Francisco. LETumEAT Chefs James Serlin and Karl Holl worked with Staffan for about four years, which is where they gained most of their Italian inspiration. Perbaccco and Barbacco are fairly large, high-volume restaurants that buy the majority of their produce and meat from local farms, not an easy feat for very busy spots like these two. Though being just a few blocks from the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market certainly helps with that.

“Staffan’s knowledge of pasta, cured meats, Italian history and the local food scene are just a few things that have shaped Karl and I into who we are today.¬†They are qualities that come through in Staffan’s food and we can only hope to come through in ours as well.” – James Serlin

Staffan and co-owner Umberto Gibin are gearing up to open a third spot in 2015. “The still-unnamed restaurant has been brewing for years. Although the core of the menu will likely be French-inspired, it will also be a place for the Swedish-born Terje to get creative with his Scandinavian roots.” – Paolo Lucchesi, SFGate

As Staffan prepares for the opening of this much anticipated third restaurant, we asked him about his growing business and how it effects his relationships with the farmers he uses.

Questions for Feeder Staffan Terje

1. What were the deciding factors on opening a third restaurant and how did you know that you were ready to take that jump?

A: It’s all about being able to commit when the right space and deal comes along. So far this year we’ve walked away from four other deals for various reasons. One was location, another was cost of development, then there was lease terms and one, the landlord was fucking crazy. All the spaces, except one, would have made great restaurants but if it doesn’t work, you can’t force it. As far as being ready, we’ve been ready for about 4 years to do something new.

2. Since the cuisine of your new restaurant will be more of an overview of Europe with a Swedish/Nordic influence, how are you going to work with your farmers to develop your menus? What are some new types of vegetables you might use?

A: Most of the fruits and vegetables that are grown in the area are already what’s used in Northern European cuisine, so it makes it pretty easy. I think it is more in the preparation and staying away from the Mediterranean and Latin favorites. Some differences are stark, but most are subtle when it comes to flavor profiles. Thyme instead of rosemary, onion and leeks instead of garlic, parsley and dill instead of basil and cilantro. More preserved vegetables and fruits because of the short growing season in Scandinavia and so on.

Don't hold back, share your thoughts