Bruce Cost is a devoted student of Asian foods and teacher of Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. He lectured at the California Culinary Academy and Food & Wine’s annual festival, as well as writing food articles for the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times Syndicate and the New York Times. He has also written two books, “Bruce Cost’s Asian Ingredients” and “Ginger East to West”.
In 1989, he opened Monsoon in San Francisco and wowed local diners and critics, propelling him to the James Beard Awards two years in a row, as Best Chef of California. In 1993, he opened Ginger Island on the former site of Great Chef Mark Miller’s Fourth Street Grill in Berkeley. The Great Chefs team had taped Chef Miller there in 1982, for a previous PBS series and returned in 1994, to tape Chef Bruce Cost for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs – Great Cities television series, where he prepared Thai Yellow Curry Noodles with Beef. He also introduced our television crew to a glass of his now famous ginger ale, made from ginger root.
In 1995, he closed Ginger Island Restaurant and moved to Chicago, to help Rich Melman and his Lettuce Entertainment Group, develop Asian restaurants (Big Bowl & Wow Bao) and to provide his ginger ale to customers of their restaurants. In 2009, he began a partnership with TMI Trading Company in Brooklyn to bottle and distribute, and in 2010, “Bruce Cost Ginger Ale” was launched with only three flavors: Original, Jasmine Tea, and Pomegranate. It was good timing for Cost, considering in mid-2016, we are in the midst of a ginger boom in craft soda.