December 5, 2017 – Wine-centric Soif restaurant in Santa Cruz has a new chef, Marshall Bishop. He’s a world traveler who has trained and worked in some of the best restaurants of San Francisco and is a native of Merced.
“I’m super excited. He’s a really nice guy, very positive and forward thinking. He’s been working in some great places, so I’m optimistic,” says Soif owner Patrice Boyle.
Chef Marshall started learning about cooking at age 12 from his grandmother, who taught him the importance of fresh, local ingredients cooked from scratch with lots of love.
He graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu program of The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. There he gained experience in the kitchens of Aqua (two Michelin stars), Farallon, Rubicon and Gary Danko (one Michelin star), then in New York City at Thomas Keller’s Per Se (three Michelin stars), at West Hollywood’s Ink by Michael Voltaggio, and back in San Francisco as sous chef for Dominique Crenn at her Atelier Crenn (also two Michelin stars).
In the three weeks he has been at Soif, chef Marshall has started introducing subtle changes and EMB contributor Elizabeth Hodges was impressed, “He brought my soup out himself. When he set down an empty bowl with a few pretty toppings carefully arranged in the middle, and said, ‘Here’s your soup!’ I laughed, simultaneously nervous and a bit incredulous. Then, with a flourish he presented a pitcher of pumpkin soup and poured it into my bowl.”
Boyle says menu changes will be phased in gradually. “With a restaurant you need to be mindful of the regular customers and I want to be, because we have so many longtime fans who love Soif.” She plans to roll out a new menu and introduce chef Marshall at a special event in January.
Meantime, a new sous chef—Mark Nalgi—arrived last week. He and chef Marshall are longtime friends who worked together on the line at Michael Mina in San Francisco.
A new restaurant general manager has also been hired. She is Nina Woolf—a Santa Cruz native who is back from 18 years in New York City where she worked at The Spotted Pig and The Breslin.
Former Soif chef Mark Denham left at the end of October to take a job at Merriman’s Hawaii Restaurant in Maui.