Chef’s Circle Executive Chef Brandon Chase Miller
Stokes Restaurant & Bar
Brandon Miller was born in San Francisco in 1964. He grew up on the waterfront and started his seafood experience in high school, cracking crabs at waterfront stands on Fisherman’s Wharf during summer vacations. At the age of 20, Miller began establishing his culinary career when he took over the oyster bar at Pacific Heights Bar & Grill in 1984. Not content with their setup, Miller spent a year redesigning the oyster bar and researching the best purveyors in town.
In 1985, Miller started in a pantry position at Fog City Diner. A year later, he was Cindy Pawlcyn’s sous chef, taking charge of everything from butchering to baking. Miller’s education in Italian cuisine began when, in 1987, he moved up to an executive sous chef position under Michael Chiarello at Tra Vigne in Napa Valley. Miller credits Chiarello as one of his primary mentors, saying “Before Tra Vigne, I’d create things off the cuff. But Michael taught me about true cuisine, traditional dishes, and food history.” During his three years at Tra Vigne, Miller’s talents were utilized again as he assisted in the original planning and setup of the kitchen.
In 1990, Miller left Tra Vigne to explore Europe. After creating the menu for a small Italian restaurant in Amsterdam, where he chefed for nine months, Miller spent three months with Georges Blanc, France’s famous proponent of nouvelle cuisine. He rounded out his European tour by simply traveling. “I finished up with a month of eating in Italy,” Miller says. “What an experience!” On his return to San Francisco, Miller worked as sous chef under Jan Birnbaum at Campton Place, where he cooked up American specialties such as beer-braised sausage and homemade red sauerkraut.
It was at LuLu Bis that Miller was first appointed as chef. There he combined his creative powers with geographical and historical food research to design a signature menu. “I worked solely with dishes from the cusp of the Northern Mediterranean, an area that runs from Spain through Southern France to Italy’s Ligurian coast.” Again at Paragon, a popular bar and grill in San Francisco, Miller was appointed executive chef where he created an innovative new menu that showcased his knowledge of local seafood as well as his diverse culinary expertise.
Miller’s twelve years of restaurant experience now culminate in a distinctive Country Mediterranean menu at Stokes Restaurant and Bar. “It’s wonderful to be in Monterey,” he said, “the history, the lifestyle and most of all, the available ingredients are a perfect match with how I want this restaurant to be.”
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