December 13, 2012
Wayfare Tavern in SF hiring sous chef, reaching out to Sactown


I just got off the phone with John Gurnee, the chef who wowed more than a few foodies with his skills at Mason's and then, for a short but exciting stint, at Kupros Bistro.

Gurnee is now thriving in San Francisco as executive chef at the always-busy Wayfare Tavern in the Financial District. I checked out some of his photos on Twitter (@John_Gurnee) and his food looks fantastic, especially the dish of stone crabs, sweetbreads and harissa.

Gurnee contacted me because he wanted chefs in Sacramento to know that they're hiring - looking for a sous chef with skills, experience, drive, poise under pressure.

Gurnee is from Sacramento and wanted to spread the word about the opening.

Gurnee.jpg"I know there's a good deal of talent and not a lot of opportunities. There are only so many restaurants in Sacramento. We're a very big restaurant," Gurnee said, noting that Wayfare Tavern does 180 to 230 covers a day and, combined with private events, serves about 500 people daily.

Wayfare Tavern is owned by Tyler Florence, the popular TV chef who has branched out into the wine business.

Gurnee says the sous chef will work 55 to 60 hours a week. Yes, it's hectic and demanding. The pay is $40,000 to $55,000 depending on experience. Benefits include health insurance. Is there room to advance in the Tyler Florence Restaurant Group? Gurnee started as sous chef and now he's executive chef. Tyler Florence's restaurants are thriving.

"Working for certain people or with them in Sacramento, you get pieces of the puzzle. At this restaurant, you kind of see the whole package," Gurnee said. "We're not doing avant garde food or anything, but I've had to learn to facilitate cooking for a large amount of people at a pretty high level. This isn't Meadowood, but having enough product in house and managing a staff of 45 people is a pretty big challenge."

He added: "People are receptive here and Tyler likes to push for the next level, so we're constantly challenging ourselves to do better."

If you have experience managing a kitchen and think this might be for you, contact Gurnee via email at

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.

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