Q&A with Cheryl Burr and Chris Beerman, Part 1: “The Food's the Easy Part”

Chris Beerman and Cheryl Burr are friends and business partners, with a successful first restaurant and bakery — Citizens Band and Pinkie's Bakery, respectively — under their belts. The two speak fast and assuredly, and when in conversation together they finish each other's sentences with ease.

Though they came from very different places (Burr an “army brat” raised in Hawaii and California, and Beerman raised in Virginia), they both had early starts in the restaurant world. In San Francisco they met in a kitchen over a decade ago, and then continued to collide and lose touch until a combination of fate and circumstance pushed them into working together again. This is part one of SFoodie's Q&A with Beerman and Burr; part two will run tomorrow, and on Friday we'll publish one of their favorite recipes.

SFoodie: How did you guys end up in the kitchen?

BURR: Shoot, I started working in bakeries when I was in high school. I'd go to work at 4 in the morning, work until 8 a.m., go to school from 8 to 3 p.m., and then go back to the bakery to work the counter until close. I like getting up early, so getting up at 4 in the morning wasn't a big deal for me when I was 16. It still isn't.

BEERMAN: Same kind of thing for me, really-while in high school I started out washing dishes in restaurants, then starting prep cooking, and then started cutting out of high school to go to work.

BURR: Ha, I definitely did that, too! I'd skip my last class of the day to go to work early.

BEERMAN: And when I finished high school, I realized I had never really done anything else but work in kitchens and wasn't really interested in doing anything else, so I went to culinary school and then started bouncing all over the country.

When did you end up in SF?

BEERMAN: I moved out here from Colorado about 15 years ago.

BURR: I've been here about 11 years, and met Chris right at the beginning. My very first kitchen job during my first year of culinary school was working with him when he was the sous chef at Neiman Marcus at the Rotunda. I wasn't even 21 yet, shoot!

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