Chef Michael Morrison

Michael Morrison
Executive Chef: The Moss Room and COCO5OO

For years Michael has been expressing his love of Mediterranean food at COCO5OO, with his handmade pastas and dreamy ragus, his slow roasted porchetta, his wood oven baked fish and grilled shellfish, spiked with lemon and olive oil and singing of the sea. Now Chef Morrison has taken the helm of The Moss Room, collaborating with owner Loretta Keller on modern California cooking. “Food is a powerful thing and we take great care sourcing, handling, and preparing everything we serve at The Moss Room and COCO5OO.” One way Chef Morrison demonstrates this philosophy is through the “whole ingredient” concept of serving meat, fish, herbs and lettuces in their complete and natural state. This helps the customer understand and appreciate the origin of foods. Serving seasonal menus throughout the year at The Moss Room and COCO5OO, nearly all of Chef Morrison’s products are sourced from sustainable and local farms.

The Moss Room

Realized by renowned chefs Loretta Keller (COCO5OO) and Charles Phan (The Slanted Door) in 2008, The Moss Room is an intimate restaurant nestled in the heart of San Francisco’s 1,000 acre Golden Gate Park. Designed by award winning local architectural firm Lundberg Designs, the restaurant ushers in the great outdoors with its living wall of ferns, moss, succulents and an open aquarium that is home to a collection of glittering Asian river fish. No other part of the country could produce a restaurant like The Moss Room — come and experience it yourself.

With a refined and elegant approach to Modern California Cuisine, Executive Chef Michael Morrison and Pastry Chef Rachel Leising serve seasonal menus with local and organic ingredients. The Moss Room’s beverage program showcases artisan producers of spirits, California micro-brews and boutique wines from California and the world.

Localize Me!

by Jen Dalton, writer and guest at Localize

“Delicious! I just feel like Monday night dining starts the week off right!” Those were the exact words of one of my tablemates at the latest Localize event held at Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant over on 1st and Folsom. It was my first foray into this exploration of incredibly delicious local eats and wine and such a pleasant experience was had by all. “Yumtacular,” that’s what I had to say about it.

I was a little late arriving but the minute I walked in the door I was greeted by Dava Guthmiller, the host and founder of the monthly eating and meeting event, and told to join one of the many tables already seated. “There are no two tops,” she told me. “We like to keep it very open and livingroom-esque.” And, of course, folks just spoke out when they wanted to, blurted out questions for our host, and joked with the evening’s chef, Ola Fendert recently of Oola fame, who cooked up a very winter and provincially French menu expertly paired with select Teira wines.

The winemaker was there to tell us all about the vino, but not in some boring may I please dig into my truffle and potato soup sort of way; rather in a let me regale you with a hilarious story of meeting Julia Child when I was 19 and how she, my Grandmother’s best friend, introduced me to the art of life, which is eating and drinking, of course.

While we enjoyed our intimate and lovely dinner of Capay Farms Organic Potato Soup with Parmesan Crisp and Shaved Truffles paired with Teira 2007 and 2005 Merlots; followed by a Stemple Creek Ranch Slow Cooked Lamb Daube with Root Vegetables paired with Teira 2006 Zinfandel, all followed by a dessert of Caramel Chocolate Cake with Yogurt Ice Cream, oohing and aahhing over it all, conversation flowed quite effortlessly. I sat at two different tables because that’s the way you can roll at Localize, (you can also help yourself to wine and chat with the chef over the open kitchen cum bar) and at each I was happy to hear people talking about food and food related topics. We talked Youth Radio Eats and the merits of a lunch at Kitchenette. We discussed Caitlin Flanagan’s diatribe against school gardens in the latest issue of The Atlantic, and showed our pleasure for the movies Julie and Julia and Ratatouille. All fun stuff and I learned a lot. I also learned that I must check out the music of the Generationalists and that Chef Fendert totally donated his time to create a very memorable Monday night feast! When’s the next one? I can’t wait to be there.

Better Olives

So I like a great dirty martini, but bad, over salty olives can ruin a perfect drink. There are so many options ( that there is no excuse for a decent bar to use cheap, old olives. My favorites are Lucques or those big super green low salt ones (I’ll get back to you on the name). But still, be a little creative or at least get the best cocktail olives you can find.

Hosts That Actually Act Like Hosts

First impressions people! If the first person who I meet at your place is rude, has not idea what’s going on, or generally forgets about me or my reservation, you’re off to a terrible start. Hosts that feel like it’s their place, in control and welcoming are awesome. They can smooth over a long wait, or simply set the tone for a totally great experience.

Good Bathroom Lighting

Good, as in it makes me look good. It needs to be bright enough for me to see the food in my teeth but not to bright as to blind me from a darker dining room. Warm lighting colors help too as this makes the skin look healthy – even if you’re a pasty white person.

Under the Counter Hooks

For the purse or the jacket, the under counter hook is an essential element to any bar or high top table. Adding your accessories to the back of a chair can get in the way for servers and other guests. Sitting these items on the floor is just poor form, and gets them dirty.

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