Chef Aaron Thayer has a deep respect for how food is grown, and sourcing is at the core of the dishes he serves at Petit Crenn. Speaking with me while on a daily run to the farmers market, Chef Thayer, Petit Crenn’s executive sous chef, has an undeniable commitment to local.
When asked why he decided to cook a dish for Grazing at the Kitchen Table, he shares that a colleague at Petit Crenn suggested he get involved because of his love of local, expertly grown food. He is excited to help promote and honor the work of local farmers. “You can just taste all the care and love in the products that are grown by these small-scale farmers. That translates well into how much love I put into my cooking.”
Chef Thayer cooks in a way that represents his style of eating. His cooking is grounded in comfort food traditions, and he aims to provide a nostalgic and sentimental food experience for his guests. He is inspired by Chef Sean Brock, known for serving Lowcountry cuisine that utilizes lost ingredients. Chef Thayer has a passion for preserving heirloom grains, and loves making dishes like the Southern classic Hoppin’ John to bring these disappearing grains to new audiences.
With the changing of the seasons, comes the changing of Petit Crenn’s menu. One of his current favorite offerings is Gnocchi à la Parisienne. This dish showcases summer’s bountiful sweet corn in a number of unique ways. Aaron shares that corn is one of his favorite foods. That might be because he grew up in Hadley, Massachusetts -- next to a cow farm and across the street from a corn field.
From there, he attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, and cooked in several well respected Boston area restaurants including Mooo, a modern steakhouse in Boston’s Beacon Hill, as well as Ken Oringer’s legendary Clio, that has since closed. Two years ago, he made the move to San Francisco, and couldn’t be happier.
Chef Thayer looks forward to celebrating local growers at Grazing. His goal of the evening is to create awareness of the incredible growers in our community and use his dish as a vehicle to highlight the hard work of these farmers.
Grazing at the Kitchen Table takes place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday, September 22, 2016 (this week!) at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco. Get your seat today! Follow #GrazeAndGive2016 for updates.
Photos courtesy of Petit Crenn & Aaron Thayer.