Joey Altman

Chef, Consultant, Spokesperson & Educator

"When I was 14, I started playing with knives and fire and
I've never stopped."

This is my "About" page where I'm supposed to tell you about myself and list my experiences and accomplishments. I know, I'm boring you just getting you to think about it!  So I won't . Plus, if you want to know that stuff, you can google me. But, I will use this page to tell you why I am who I am. 

1. The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

I grew up  in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, commonly called the "Borscht Belt ".  At 13  I was washing dishes in a local diner where after a really busy night "busting suds" I realized the prep cooks were having a much better time!   The next summer I was bumped up to prep cook and realized I was going to be a chef.  I cut my teeth in the kitchens at the kosher resorts  such as The Concord and The Pines Hotel cooking for thousands of guests a day. But even with crowds so large personal service ruled the day. The Maitre 'd knew every guest by name, favorite table, and how they liked their toast, or whatever particular food demands they might have had. And no self-respecting Jew didn't have one!  There, hospitality was ingrained into my DNA.   That's still my mentality today. Everything is about making the guest not just happy but surprised at how happy they are.  


Over the course of my career I had the good fortune to work in dozens of great kitchens around the world and for over 10 years hosting my own cooking show "Bay Cafe".  I've had the pleasure to cook with hundreds of accomplished chefs.  Every situation was different, every place had their own distinct way of doing things and each experience expanded my culinary knowledge.  I know 7 ways to  peel garlic, five different uses for salmon bones and secret ways to keep pesto green.  What I found in Boston, New Orleans, Lyon, Mumbai and San Francisco, was that the commonality wasn't "how " we do this but "why" we do this: To make our guests happy. Period.    


Ok, you've made it this far so I guess I'll save you the time from having to google me. Plus, who know's what crazy stuff people are saying about me.  

Here are some of my experiences and accomplishments...

  • AAS in Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • Classically trained in France
  • Worked in New Orlean's under Emeril Lagasse at Commander's Palace and Jeramiah Tower at Stars in San Francisco.
  • 1989 My 1st Executive Chef job at 25 opening Miss Pearl's Jam House.
  • *1991 opened Ti Couz, an authentic French Creperie in the Mission.
  • 1n 1998 opened Wild Hare, a Modern American Restaurant featuring wild game
  • 1998 launched my cooking show "Bay Cafe".The show was nominated for a James Beard award for "Best Local Food Show" in 1999. We won that award in 2000, 2001 and again in 2006.
  • 2001 Co-hosted with Tori Ritchie Food Network's "Appetite For Adventure" "Where Gourmet Food Meets The Great Outdoors!"
  • 2003 Hosted Food Network's "Tasting Napa" The backroads and hidden kitchens of California's wine country.
  • 2003 Became Chef Spokesperson for Diageo Chataeu and Estates Wine Group. Hosting food and wine pairings, creating culinary content for marketing and making media appearences for a family of some of the best wines made in Californis. Sterling, BV, Acacia, Provenance and Chalone to name a few.
  • 2006 Started my restaurant consulting practice working with restaurants large and small for startups and turn arounds.


In my spare time I play guitar along with many of my chef friends. It sure beats laying on a couch talking about our mothers.
I live in San Francisco with my lovely wife Jaemie and our three kids, Johanna, Caleb and the other one. Piper, yeah that's her name.