What chef do the top chefs of the world have mad respect for? That would be Daniel Patterson of COI and Plum in San Francisco. In the last decade, the Michelin-starred chef has established himself as a fiercely creative chef with big ideas.
He cooks brilliant food, according to Sean Brock, who can’t wait to get back in the kitchen with him. “He’s a badass,” Brock says. “I have so much respect for him. I think he’s the most talented chef in the world. He’s the most intense person I’ve ever been around in the kitchen, so focused and serious. I’ve never been around anyone like that.”
In 2005, Patterson penned a piece for the New York Times that reflected on the tyranny of Alice Waters on San Francisco’s dining scene: “Chez Panisse, the progenitor of what we have come to call ‘California cuisine,’ has become not just one voice but the only voice speaking out on the values and the mission of that cuisine, particularly in Northern California.”
In 2006, he challenged that tyranny with COI, a restaurant that is singularly focused on California’s amazing ingredients, but brings modern innovation and technique to the table. “It’s so modern,” says Brock.
Patterson is at the forefront of the new wave that’s being led internationally by René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen. These guys are all about pristine vegetables, wild ingredients, and foraging. Last year, Patterson received an award for “produce innovation” from Cooking Light magazine. He told the magazine that cooking with vegetables is like painting with more colors.
On his iPhone, Brock has a picture of Patterson’s beet rose, which is a stunning, artistic plate that explodes with the most intense flavor. It looks simple, he says, but each component is painstakingly put together, resulting in an unforgettable dish. One that fellow chefs carry around on their phones to show others and marvel over.
Brock says he and Patterson have been trying to coordinate a dinner here in Charleston for a long time, and the stars have finally aligned. The two will collaborate on an eight-course tasting menu on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The menu is $125 per person, plus tax and gratuity, with an optional wine pairing available for $75. And while that may feel pricey, dinner at COI is prix-fixe at $165 and requires a trip to San Francisco.
Make your reservations now. Only 40 seats are available for this dinner.