executive chef, bryan waitesBryan Waites began his culinary career at the age of twelve, going to private school part-time and working in a classic French kitchen in the Northeast an average of 40 hours per week, born of a precocious passion involving an obsession with French language and culture that started at age ten. By his mid-teens, summer jobs included making charcuterie and ice carvings for high-end metropolitan New York City banquets, and at seventeen he opened a restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina. In his mid-twenties, Waites went to Spain, specifically the Basque Country, Gipuzkoa region for a total of three years. He maintained simultaneous positions in strict Basque kitchens whose menus revolved around local, seasonal produce. He spent two years in the south of Holland continuing studies in bio-dynamics while working with a Dutch culinary team as an associate chef developing vegetarian French 'niveaux' cuisine for a top-rated hotel/restaurant group in Dordrecht. Waites then moved to the Bay Area where a decade of experience with vegetarian cuisine led him to become Sous Chef at Millennium, one of the country’s foremost vegetarian restaurants. Since Medicine opened its doors in August of 2005, Waites has been co-execuctive chef with Ryuta Sakamoto of Kyoto, Japan. In 2006, Waites was named one of the "Top Ten Vegetarian Chefs" by the World Vegetarian Society.
executive chef, ryuta sakamotoRyuta Sakamoto is a fourth generation chef at Kappo Sakamoto, his family's 16-seat kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto, Japan. During the opening year of Medicine Eatstation, Sakamoto worked side-by-side with co-executive chef Bryan Waites, perfecting the new-shojin menu. He has since returned to his family's restaurant, though maintains frequent trips to San Francisco to work with Waites in the Medicine kitchen.
Sakamoto is quick to credit his father for culinary training and sensibilities. "My father knows the art of incredible simplicity. His cooking is innovative and subtle. He is always in communication with the diners in his restaurant, not by talking but by watching their faces. He looks for smiles, indications of their happiness with the cooking. I, too, seek to bring pleasure to diners through my cooking. Pleasure is a part of health." Sakamoto notes that shojin cuisine is a philosophy toward both food and life. Healthy vegetarian cuisine is promoted through the larger lens of loving-kindness, a Buddist tenet.
Indicative of his exacting attention to detail, Sakamoto is in his fifth year of study of Hatsugama tea service at a renown Japanese tea school. The curriculum places great emphasis on how to provide refined service to customers.