Meet the Chef

Executive Chef, Rafael Mayoral

Rafael Mayoral, Executive Chef

Rafael Mayoral was born in Mexico City and immigrated to North America 23 years ago. He embarked on his culinary career and became a professional chef at Star's Restaurant under Chef Mark Franz. After quickly developing a passion for cooking, Rafael eventually moved to work in different restaurants around San Francisco including Harry's Restaurant, Spuntino's, Milano's Italian Kitchen and Prego Restaurant. In 1992, he returned back to Mexico to assist at the Centro Universitario de Artes Culinarias.

"Raffa," as he is fondly called by his staff, found himself back in the city by the bay in 1993 and joined Pescatore under the supervision of Chef Chris Shepherd. Meanwhile he was also working at other proprieties such as Scala's Bistro and Puccinni & Pinetti under the wing of Chef Daniel Scherotter. Raffa shaped and improved his skills and got the chance to become the Sous Chef at Pescatore in 1999. After a year he showed the passion and dedication needed and was promoted to Executive Chef.

Raffa has a great work ethic and he leads his staff by example. He shows his ability to be creative with rustic Italian cuisine while using the freshest local ingredients.

Q&A

Q: Who is your culinary mentor?
A: I’m lucky enough to consider two exemplary chefs as my mentors: Chef Mark Franz, of Farrallon fame, and Chef Daniel Scherotter, who was at Palio d’Asti from 1990 to 2012, when he changed tracks to teach the ProStart curriculum at a high school in the Mission district of San Francisco.

Q: What do you usually cook yourself for breakfast?
A: My favorite thing to make for myself is food redolent with the flavors of my native Mexico. For breakfast, I love fried beans with chorizo, fried eggs, green tomatillo salsa and a handmade tortilla.

Q: What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
A: While there are many things that I love to cook with, there is one ingredient I can’t live without: garlic.

Q: Who would you most like to cook for?
A: Anthony Bourdain. He’s a globetrotter, and has developed a very unique palate because of it. Plus, he’s an interesting guy!

Q: What is your favorite part of your work day?
A: I still prefer the actual creation of the food. When I cook on the line I love to be surrounded by flames and great food; the line is the heart of the kitchen.

Q: What is your favorite cookbook?
A: No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, by Anthony Bourdain. Have you read it? Great photos, insights into his old show No Reservations and interesting, witty, well written anecdotes about traveling around the world to eat good food.

Q: Any other facts you'd like to share?
A: I think having a family is the foundation of stability in this business, and I'm happy to have a family of three beautiful women – my wife and two daughters.

Recipe

Want a little taste of Tuscany at home? Try chef Raffa’s Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe:
Yield: 8 portions

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 pounds ground tomato
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 liter red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Cooked spaghetti pasta.
Cook veal, beef and pork in oil over moderately-high heat. Stir and break-up meat until no longer pink--about 6 minutes.

Add onions, celery, carrot, garlic and herbs. Stir occasionally, until softened--about 10 minutes.

Stir in ground tomato and red wine and gently simmer, cover, until sauce is thickened, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and pepper, butter and remove from heat.

Mix the sauce and pasta and finished with shaved parmesan cheese on top.