Mark Franz - Chef / Owner

"It’s all about the food - let the ingredients guide the dish," says Mark Franz, chef/owner of San Francisco’s Farallon Restaurant. "The servers at Farallon actually hate it when I cook. They serve a dish to a guest, come back to pick up another of the same dish, and I’ve already changed it. My whole focus is always concentrated on the food I’m preparing at that moment. I want it to be perfect which for me means letting the food speak for itself."

Franz opened the 160-seat Farallon in 1997 with designer and restaurateur Pat Kuleto. Surrounded by an interior that draws diners into an underwater fantasy, Franz serves his sophisticated interpretation of "coastal cuisine." Franz’s menu changes daily, allowing him to highlight the freshest fish and shellfish available, as well as seasonal meat and game dishes. He is able to prepare selections a la minute in a way that he has not been able to previously, which, he says, gives him a sense of connection with his diners that he enjoys.

A Bay Area native, Franz spent over a decade as executive chef at Jeremiah Tower’s Stars and is credited with making major contributions to other Tower restaurants. Before Stars, Franz, a California Culinary Academy graduate, worked with Tower at the Balboa Café in San Francisco and at the Santa Fe Bar & Grill in Berkeley. He also worked with chef Jacky Robert at Ernie’s in San Francisco.

Nominated by the James Beard Foundation as one of the best restaurants in the nation, Farallon was also chosen as one of the best newcomers in the country by national magazines such as Esquire, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. Recognized for its cuisine, décor and service, Farallon was the highest-rated newcomer in the 1999 Zagat Survey.