Gerald began working with pastry chefs at the age of 13 in Biarritz, near the Spanish border in the Basque region of southwest France, at the foot of the Pyrenees. At 16 he moved to Paris to apprentice with master patissiers Jan Millet and Denis Ruffel. He claims his wife Cameron married him for his cream brulee!
After a few stints at Le Castel, Lafayette and then Le St-Tropez, that was owned by J.B. Lorda, also from Biarritz, Chef and Lorda decided to open Fringale’s in a section of San Francisco called South Market in 1991.
The Great Chefs television crew caught up with Hirigoyen in 1996 to film two dishes, a pork confit and a hazelnut and almond mousse cake for their Great Chefs-Great Cities series. Later the same year John Mariani of Esquire Magazine, selected Fringale’s as one of the top ten restaurants in Northern California. That year, he and Lorda opened a second restaurant, Pastis, also located in the city. In 2002, Gerald and his wife Cameron took over Pastis on their own, and transformed it into Piperade.
Living in the Bay area for more than 30 years now, Chef Hirigoyen has a fine appreciation for the California culinary sensibility, incorporating fresh ingredients into simple, scrumptious dishes that echo the local spirit as well as that of his homeland. No truer example exists of Hirigoyen’s ability to integrate the two cuisines than Piperade.