Chef Thomas McNaughton took his first job at a restaurant at age 14 as a dishwasher, but he quickly fell in love with the energy of the restaurant kitchen and the craftsmanship of cooking. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, worked at some of San Francisco’s top fine dining institutions and traveled through Europe, training under renowned chefs in France, Germany, and Italy.
McNaughton returned to San Francisco to be the chef at flour + water, which was nominated as Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation in 2010. The chef, who has been nominated as a James Beard Rising Star Chef multiple years in a row, went on to open a number of other successful San Francisco restaurants, including Central Kitchen and Salumeria. His newest project, Café du Nord, opened in June, and serves food and cocktails with live music in a historic San Francisco space.
We asked the chef to put pen to paper and reveal, among other things, where he draws inspiration (hint: weather, colors, and conversations play a big part in honing his menus).
Get to know all of the members of the Williams-Sonoma Chefs’ Collective, and see their latest travels, eats, and other inspirations on Instagram under the hashtag #wschefs.