February 2, 2010

Gentry Magazine Writes about Tommy Halvorson from The Phoenix Supper Club

Courtesy of Jennifer Massoni:

"On the Rise: The Phoenix Supper Club's Tommy Halvorson has redefined the recipe for success.

Start with a wish-list tasting menu. Toss in one charming world-class chef. Add an elegant secret location. Mix with a chauffeured limousine, free-flowing champagne, and you’ve just made a must-have recipe for Saturday night. The concept behind The Phoenix Supper Club (PSC) belongs to one Tommy Halvorson. At just 28, he is the Executive Chef-Founder of San Francisco’s latest food craze. In a city that prides itself on knowing a thing or two about food, this is no small accomplishment for a former competitive skier from Kentucky with a Philosophy degree from UC Berkeley. “I decided it was time to start using my brain as opposed to just landing on it,” jokes Halvorson, who took the economy’s temperature and found an interesting way to adapt to the times (and save himself 80 hours a week in a kitchen or exorbitant restaurant start-up costs). “We want to give more of an experience, more than just going out to eat,” he explains of the concept.

Launched in late 2009, this is one supper club on the move. So far, it has popped up at a refined mansion in Pacific Heights, a bustling gallery downtown, and even at the Westerfeld House in the city’s historic Alamo Square district, and which might ring a bell by the names of those who have slept under its 1889 roof (think Janis Joplin). But on one recent chilly San Francisco night, the house lived up to the Phoenix Supper Club’s name, transforming from a local Victorian relic into an intimate bistro tucked away on top of the city. “It’s what we do,” Halvorson says. “We blow this up into something and we burn it down and build it up somewhere else.” On this particular night, that something equated to Loretto, the club’s 9- course wine-paired tasting menu inspired by the streetlights, wood floors, and live jazz of a modern-day speakeasy (starting at $220 per person). PSC also features Mephisto, a 5-course wine paired tasting menu that pops up at an edgy SOMA location and features like-minded entertainment, from a silent film to a trapeze artist in full swing (starting at $120 per person). “It’s a full sensory experience all centered around the food,” Halvorson explains.

Rest assured, this is not your mother’s dinner theater.No matter your culinary fancy, both events end with the feeling that you can’t wait to tell your friends and return to be surprised all over again. In between, the food speaks for Halvorson, who earned his own chops at Bix, Gary Danko, and Chez Panisse, as well as on the catering circuit. As the sous chef at Bix, Halvorson learned about restaurant management, food styles, and the magic of simple dishes and fresh produce. “The food has to fit the space,” he says of the lessons he’s gathered from the local culinary culture. “In a 1940’s jazz supper club you can’t do wild Asian fusion because it doesn’t fit. That was a really valuable lesson. Every space I go to I make sure the food we serve fits the overall aesthetic of the mood we’re creating.”

Check out the whole magazine or page 26 for the PSC article, http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=30729

No comments:

Post a Comment