Tuesdays with Tastemakers – Roman Petry
Led by an industry veteran with more than 16 years of experience in international and Michelin-star kitchens, Executive Chef Roman Petry has been involved with Roka Akor San Francisco since inception, from design to menu creation. As executive chef at Roka Akor San Francisco, Petry presents a distinct take on modern Japanese robata cuisine, featuring dishes he created specifically for the San Francisco restaurant, sitting alongside Roka Akor classics. Petry’s San Francisco menu reflects what’s available from area farmers and distillers, featuring locally sourced ingredients with a minimalistic approach to preparation—paying homage to well-known Japanese flavors and traditions, while utilizing the fresh seasonal ingredients available in the Bay Area.
Why did you become a chef?
Actually, I never wanted to be anything else but a Chef, even as a young kid. It’s especially strange because no one in my family ever worked in a restaurant and back then it was certainly not as cool to be a Chef like it is now.
What is your proudest achievement?
Opening Roka Akor in San Francisco is my proudest achievement. I poured all my heart and soul into this restaurant starting from the design elements to the food on the menu. I opened many restaurants prior to this, but Roka Akor San Francisco was like opening my own home.
What is the difference between a good and great meal?
A good meal is easy to be had but for a truly great meal many components need to come together. It starts with the care for the food and the quality of the service. The company you enjoy your meal with is also an important factor. For me, a great meal also needs a sense of place to be remarkable.
Name three individuals you would like to have dinner with.
Anthony Bourdain, as I’m sure he has some great stories to tell. Eckart Witzigmann, who is the Chef of the century in my native Germany. He is a true legend and such an inspiration. Lastly, I would say my wife; meals are always better shared with her. Also she is my toughest critic.
Who is your kitchen hero or mentor?
My kitchen hero has to be Rudi Obauer; Rudi is one of the two brothers making up Obauer in Werfen, Austria, where I had my first true stint in a two Michelin-starred restaurant. I have never seen anyone work harder, care more and be more creative than him. I owe everything to the time I spent there and it’s still such a special place for me to go back to as a guest.
What is the one thing you want people to remember about your food?
The one thing I want people to remember about my food is the journey of flavors, textures and emotions they have enjoying it.
Best comment made about your food? Was it by a loved one, guest or media?
Good comments from the media are always very flattering, but to me the best comments are from my guests when I can see that they really enjoy themselves. At the end of the day I’m here to make people happy and when I can do that for someone, that’s the best feedback.