interview: Fedele Bauccio

The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the most remarkable food stories in the country. Telling that story begins with the many chefs and restaurateurs who make up the cast of characters. I’ve only met a few of these food emissaries, so during 2015 it is my intention to meet and learn about more of the people who make food so grand in our world. Beginning with my friend Fedele Bauccio…I invite you to come along!



Once upon a time, cafeteria food wasn’t. Food I mean. Back in my college days, followed by my early days in the corporate world, college and corporate cafeterias served ‘surprise souffle’ and ‘mystery meat’. Then, sometime in the early 1990s, I worked on my first corporate food service project with Bon Appetit Management Company. I was working for a firm that did the interiors for Oracle Corporation in Redwood Shores. We were tasked with creating not a ‘cafeteria’ but a ‘dining room/marketplace’ for Oracle employees to be run by a chef who would serve various food items from several open kitchen stations. The market would also sell meat, fish and veggies to take home and cook for dinner that night. As we progressed through the design and build of the Oracle campus, we added a smaller dining facility in each new building.

Years later, in 2007, I finally met Fedele Bauccio, the founder and CEO of Bon Appetit. Fedele is my favorite kind of client. He’s passionate about what he does and pushes until his vision becomes everyone’s vision. He’s spoken to congress about the treatment of animals, started the farm to fork initiative, nearly single-handedly changed the treatment of tomato workers, and been involved at the forefront of every food initiative we now think of as ‘normal’. His excitement is limitless as well as his energy. Fedele is the client who meets not with a handshake but with a hug. He surrounds himself with people he trusts, respects and cares for…I’ve always felt lucky to be included in his world, even peripherally!

Beginning in 2007, I worked on several projects for Fedele, all on university campuses. Many of Bon Appetit’s projects are on private university or corporate campuses or museums. But recently Fedele has opened several restaurants with local chefs including Public House, Mijita, The Commissary and Arguello at the Presidio (if you eat at The Commissary go early and sit at the kitchen counter….amazing), and most recently Stem in San Francisco’s newest neighborhood, Mission Bay. All of Fedele’s projects include sustainability at their core: locally sourced ingredients, ingredients in season, humanely raised ingredients, even restaurant design.

a few questions

I posed 10 questions to Fedele and asked him to choose which he’d like to answer. These are his choices with his answers:

  1. What are you most proud of? Bringing a new model of success to the food service industry.   To create a chef driven company known for its culinary expertise with a commitment to socially driven practices.  I really believe we revolutionized an industry.
  2. What smell reminds you of home? Oregano, onions simmering in olive oil, Sunday sauce cooking on the stove, fresh basil.
  3. Who taught you to cook? My Italian mother and grandmother.  Need I say more?
  4. If you could spend five minutes with the President, what would you discuss? The broken model we have in Agriculture.   The need to move to a more ecological model that is environmentally sound, socially just, and economically viable for everyone.
  5. How do you manage stress? When you do what you love and it is your passion, it’s never stress.
  6. If you did not work to support yourself what would you do with your time? Go crazy from boredom.

a project

Stem is no exception to the Bon Appetit sustainability story. And here, locally sourced is a bit of an understatement….Stem picks ingredients from their own garden on the premises.

all photos courtesy Bon Appetit Management Company, © 2014,

Let me know if there is someone you’d like to meet and I’ll reach out.

Keep in touch,