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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Total Freedom and Tons of Running Around: Chef Chris Kronner Describes Prepping for the Thursday Night Pop-Up at Bruno's

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 11:56 AM

click to enlarge Kronner in Serpentine days, with pig's head - BROOKSOPHER VIA FLICKR
  • Brooksopher via Flickr
  • Kronner in Serpentine days, with pig's head
What's the day-to-day of running a pop-up restaurant? Chris Kronner, chef at the Thursday-night pop-up at Bruno's on Mission, told SFoodie it's a combination of exhaustion and the exhilaration that comes from calling your own shots.

Kronner cheffed at Slow Club and Serpentine before partnering up with Sam White and other restaurantistas in the conceptual OPENrestaurant project. Last week in Bruno's 40-seat Pussycat Lounge, Kronner's kitchen team did 110 covers -- a slam, more or less. On May 7, the pop-up's opening night, Kronner didn't leave the kitchen till 5:30 a.m.; last week, he slipped out at 3:15. But he's hardly crying about a 20-hour-plus day or two.

"We're doing it for ourselves," Kronner said, speaking for the pop-up's team. "It's total freedom, a creative outlet. Everything about it is intentional - that's what drives us." For Kronner, the Thursday night dinner is essentially a full-time gig, which makes him unique on the team. White still works on the floor at Chez Panisse, while the rest of the staff punch the clock at places like Pizzaiolo and Beretta.

Here's a taste of Kronner's week:

Monday and Tuesday, a lot of what he calls "logistical running around": the Tuesday farmers' markets at the Ferry Building and in Berkeley; a stop-off at F. Uri wholesale meats in Dogpatch to pick up his order from Marin Sun Farms.

For the next three days - till service on Thursday -- he's chin-deep in prep. "At the restaurant you always have staff there working, you can delegate responsibility," Kronner said. But not at Bruno's.

click to enlarge MS. ATOMIC VIA FLICKR
  • Ms. Atomic via Flickr

How long will Kronner continue with the pop-up? "As soon as it in any way feels stale, we'll stop doing it," he said. "We initially told ourselves we'd do it for six months, maybe a year." We get the feeling that being a chef of a buzzworthy restaurant and having weekends off is worth at least that.

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