Suzette Gresham-Tognetti, Chef/Proprietor
Acquerello, San Francisco, CA
Born in California of French heritage, Suzette has achieved many “firsts.” She was the first female Chef’s Apprentice to accompany the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team to Frankfurt, Germany in 1980. She was also the first to return four years later, as an individual competitor, to win a Bronze medal of her own.
After being the first Junior Member of the local ACF chapter, “The Chef’s Association of the Pacific Coast,” and Chairman of the same group for three successful terms, she was elected to the Board of Directors, and held various positions.
Suzette has been the recipient of many awards in the Culinary Arts Competition arena. She was honored in San Francisco with a Grand Award, and a Best of Show in Tucson, Arizona. One of few women to be elected “Chef of the Year” by the local ACF, she also is the holder of the prestigious Antonin Careme medal.
Most of her experience had centered around hotels and airlines, until she met her current partner, Giancarlo Paterlini…and together they opened their restaurant, Acquerello, in July of 1989.
Suzette’s style of cuisine showcases Italy’s simple but elegant approach to time-honored, traditional dishes, as well as the more modern, interpretive applications. Acquerello has received much recognition for its fine Regional Italian cuisine, expansive wine list and attentive service.
Now in its 22nd year, Acquerello continues to stay in the front line of evolving cuisine. Named the number “2″ Italian restaurant in the US by Wine Spectator, the restaurant has been featured on Check, Please! Bay Area and continues to receive outstanding reviews, including Zagat, San Francisco Magazine, Bon Appetit Magazine and Gourmet Magazine. In 2009, Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a memorable piece in honor of the restaurant’s 20th anniversary. In 2007, Acquerello received its first Michelin Star, which it still holds today.
After 30 years of cooking, Suzette still enjoys teaching and has been involved in Draeger’s Culinary Center for a number of years. Her articles and recipes have been featured in various magazines, including her article on Italian style ragu in Fine Cooking Magazine. She is a contributor to several cookbooks, and has packaged a series of Crostini toppings for the retail market. Suzette has also performed as a Guest Chef aboard the Seabourn Cruise line.
Acquerello continues to be involved in all the major food events held in San Francisco, including The Golden Glass and SF Chefs. And Suzette continually contributes to the Industry through her involvement with the local culinary schools. To date, 50 externs have successfully passed through Acquerello’s kitchen. Her goal is to continue learning and growing within her profession, passing along whatever knowledge she can to those who follow.