Chef Biography

Credited with developing the culinary style known as “California Cuisine”, Jeremiah Tower was born in 1942 in Stamford, Connecticut, educated in Sydney, Australia; Surrey, UK, and earned a Masters Degree in Architecture from Harvard University, because of his obsession with finding the lost city of Atlantis. After his grandfather died in 1972, Jeremiah, who was used to being taken care of and supported, found himself out of money and in need of a job. He applied for a cooks job at Chez Panisse and was hired by Alice Waters because of his skills & brazen confidence when it came to creating great French traditional food. Within a year, he became equal partners and in full charge of the kitchen.

In 1978, he wanted to open a Panisse Café and his partners disagreed, so he left and worked briefly at Ventana Inn in Big Sur, California, then taught at the California Culinary Academy, and then in 1981 he went on to try and revive the dying Balboa Café in San Francisco.

In 1982, he became Executive Chef and co-owner at Berkeley’s Santa Fe Bar and Grill. Great Chefs caught up with Chef Jeremiah Tower in early 1983 to tape 6 dishes for their second series, Great Chefs of San Francisco, where he prepared Santa Fe Black Bean Cake; grilled Goat Cheese; Poached Fish; Suckling Pig with Santa Fe Baby Vegetables; a Warm Mixed Berry Compote and a Raspberry Fig Gratin.

In 1984, Tower turned over the reins of Santa Fe to Great Chef Mark Miller, and opened “Stars” in the San Francisco Civic Center, in partnership with his Santa Fe investors, which became an overnight sensation.  In 1986, the Great Chefs television team caught up with Chef Jeremiah again, at Stars, for their new Great Chefs-Great Cities series which was breaking with a new food trend, “Southwestern Cuisine”.  He prepared a Mushroom-filled Pasta Gratin and a Ballottine of Braised Duck, Chicken, Veal, and Foie Gras. At the same time, we were able to catch another Great Chef, Emily Luchetti, who prepared several pastries for the series.

Stars was among one of the top-grossing restaurants in the United States for close to a decade. Tower went on to open multiple branches around the world until he sold out in 1988 to a Singapore group. He consulted for several restaurants in Manila, New York city, Italy and Mexico, where he is now retired. Word on the street is that Anthony Bourdain is doing a documentary on Chef Tower, so we can’t wait to see how that will turn out.


Chanterelle Mushroom-filled Pasta Gratin

Serving: 6 Print Chanterelle Mushroom-filled Pasta Gratin By Great Chefs June 11, 2014 Legendary chef Jeremiah Tower creates a dish that delights with flavor and smooth texture using only a few ingredients. Mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and sage fill pasta packets which are cooked in a bubbly sauce of heavy cream and more Parmesan […]

Ballottine of Braised Duck, Chicken Veal, and Foie Gras

Serving: 6 Print Ballottine of Braised Duck, Chicken Veal, and Foie Gras By Great Chefs June 11, 2014 The ultimate version of cabbage rolls: a stuffing of mixed meats and foie gras, topped with a ragout of tomatoes and olives and sizzled with basil oil. The rolls may also be filled with a mixture of […]

Raspberry and Fig Gratin

Serving: 12 Print Raspberry and Fig Gratin By Great Chefs June 11, 2014 Fruit, sour cream, brown sugar — brown the sugar and serve, it’s that simple. The sour cream adds its wonderful tangy flavor to this easy dessert. This is wonderful with any combination of fresh, seasonal fruit. Ingredients Raspberries – 1 cup, fresh […]

Santa Fe Black Bean Cake

Serving: 4 Print Santa Fe Black Bean Cake By Great Chefs June 11, 2014 These crisp black bean cakes with their smoky taste and chili pepper heat make a wonderful appetizer or side dish. You can adjust the size and make them smaller if you wish. If you use dried black beans, soak them overnight […]

Poached Fish with Tomatoes and Purple Basil

Serving: 2 Print Poached Fish with Tomatoes and Purple Basil By Great Chefs June 11, 2014 Drenched in butter which has been flavored with tomatoes and purple basil, these fillets are succulent and delicious. This is a wonderful way to cook fish fillets, leaving the fish very moist. The “cap” of parchment paper acts as […]

Warm Mixed Berry Compote

Serving: 12 Print Warm Mixed Berry Compote By Great Chefs June 10, 2014 The heart of California style is the idea that each ingredient should be prepared to showcase its ripe natural flavor. For this simple dessert, berries are warmed in sugar syrup, then served warm with a scoop of ice cream. Ingredients Strawberries – […]

Grilled Goat Cheese in Vine Leaves

Serving: 4 Print Grilled Goat Cheese in Vine Leaves By Great Chefs June 10, 2014 Goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes are grilled inside packets of grape leaves. The cheese melts; guests unwrap the leaves and scoop out the soft cheese with large croutons. The packets can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, then brought […]

Spit-roasted Suckling Pig with Santa Fe Baby Garden Vegetables

Serving: 6-8 Print Spit-roasted Suckling Pig with Santa Fe Baby Garden Vegetables By Great Chefs June 10, 2014 Quite a feast: spit-roasted pork with grilled, herbed vegetables. This is one for the barbecue pit, as the pig cooks on a spit. Since it takes about 6 hours to cook, it makes a wonderful center of […]

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