The Michelin-starred Russian Hill restaurant, Lord Stanley, made a bold choice in 2021 – they started hosting traveling chefs. Their concept is called Turntable at Lord Stanley and they host month-long residencies with talented chefs from the Bay Area and across the globe.
The decision to make this shift came from the restaurant’s owners, co-chefs, and husband-and-wife team Rupert and Carrie Blease. The Bleases made Lord Stanley an instant hit with their modern European cuisine, polished service, and stunning interior. The transition to residencies could be seen as a gamble, but it seems to have been a successful one.
“Turning the table with each chef comes with challenges but is also very exciting,” said Carrie. “For example, each month we readjust the kitchen with new equipment. Some chefs prefer a gas grill, or woks instead of pans. Last month for Pecking House we got 3 fryers! By the end of the month, the kitchen staff is already anticipating the new menu and ready for something fresh and exciting. We approach it as: What are we going to learn this week?”
Each visiting chef develops their own tasting menu and to-go offerings during their 1 month residency. They enjoy the support of Lord Stanley’s expert cooks, seasoned front-of-house staff, and wine director Louisa Smith deftly pairs natural wines with each new concept. The result is a program that provides both stability and creative freedom, to the delight of everyone who visits.
Current and Future Chefs
February’s guest chef is State Bird Provisions alumni Kevin Law. Law’s concept, immi, brings an Asian-American Tasting Menu and à la Carte Menu of Chinese and Japanese-inspired dishes. This will be Law’s second round at Turntable, where he’ll offer a la carte items like mushroom congee, Egg and Egg (tomagoyaki and Tsar Nicoulai caviar), and even a wagyu short rib hot pot.
In March’s Turntable will host Argentinian Eduardo Gonzalez, who is currently cooking in Paris. Chef Gonzalez was recommended by past Turntable chef Mecha Solis.
Selecting the right chef for each residency can be difficult but also hugely rewarding. “We’ve been fortunate to have some outstanding chefs come through Turntable already, and both our team here and our clientele have been happy with the change,” Rupert expressed.
When asked about the criteria for visiting chefs Carrie added that “it always comes down to the food: it is something we want to eat and is totally different from the last few menus. Plus it must be conducive to take-out and higher-end in-door dining.”
Finding the right chef for Turntable each month is no easy task, but based on their success thus far, it seems like all the hard work has certainly paid off.
Learn more about Turntable at Lord Stanley at their website. Lord Stanley is located at 2065 Polk Street in San Francisco.
Featured image: @turntable_sf via Instagram