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Chef Proves You Can Go Home Again


Posted on May 21

ROY WILCOX

After working at a series of high-profile jobs in Hawaii, New Zealand and San Francisco, Sacramento chef Michael Thiemann is back in town. The 37-year-old recently left a gig running the kitchen at celebrity chef Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco to sign on as executive chef at Randall Selland’s Ella Dining Room & Bar.

 


Q: How do you feel about being back in Sacramento?
I’m really excited. After living in New Zealand, Hawaii and San Francisco, I’m seeing Sacramento with different eyes. This is a dream job. Ella is gorgeous.

 

Q: Talk about your tryout with Randall and the Selland family.
They told me to come in and cook a few dishes. I made artichoke soup, carpaccio with raw oyster, salmon crudo with sea beans and salt-and-vinegar chips, roasted grouper with white beans and littleneck clams, a lamb shank braised in Guinness, and a roasted half chicken with French parsley butter and a little chicken jus.

 

Q: Who’s more intimidating to cook for: Tyler Florence or Randall Selland?
I’m not intimidated by anybody.

 

Q: How do you deal with pressure?
I like it. San Francisco is a tough town to be a chef in. Working with Tyler, there was a lot of pressure. If something went wrong, it was Tyler’s name. Nobody cared about me. I’ve been on national stages in various forms. I’ve learned not to think about it.

 

Q: What’s your food like?
Cute things aren’t my style. I have no problem doing roast chicken, and I have no problem making a burger. A lot of chefs’ egos get in the way. I make a great burger, and I’ll blow your mind with that chicken.

 

Q: Do you use modern culinary tools?
I really like the Cryovac and the immersion circulator. When you use these tools, the guest just sees delicious food. They don’t know if it’s sous vide or roasted.

 

Q: What are your plans for Ella?
Basically, I just want to take it slow. I don’t want to paint a big target on my back. I’m coming in here very humble. I really respect what the Sellands have done.

 

Q: Are there any holes in Ella’s menu?
Sure there are.

 

Q: Like what?
I can’t say right now. I don’t plan on changing a lot. But I am going to tweak a lot.

 

Q: You’re not going to take the pappardelle with poached egg off the menu, are you?
Pffff. I can’t touch it.

 

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Make-A-Wish Foundation's 27th annual Wine and Food Fest

Make-A-Wish Foundation's 27th annual Wine and Food Fest

Images from the Make-A-Wish Foundation's 27th annual Wine and Food Fest Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Guests were treated to food and drink from nearly 100 local eateries and bars. Other vendors auctioned off wares and services ranging from hand-woven free trade baskets to modern art work and vintage photographs. Proceeds from the event went to the charity’s mission of arranging experiences for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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