The Thomas Kitchen
Brad Farmerie grew up in Pittsburgh in a food-loving family. His mother, an avid home cook, exposed him to a variety of cuisines and insisted on home baked bread and vegetables straight from the family garden. Farmerie enrolled at Penn State, intent on completing a degree in mechanical engineering. Two years into his studies it became apparent that the cooking he did to pay his tuition was the real source of his collegiate contentment. Thus he took a year-long hiatus from studying the principles of physics to exploring first-hand the cuisines and wines of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Antipodes.
This travel inspired Farmerie to follow his love for food to the U.K. and then earn his “Grand Diplome” at Le Cordon Bleu in 1996. He further rounded out his education and technique at acclaimed restaurants Coast, Chez Nico and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Most influential to his own style was his experience working with Peter Gordon at the Sugar Club, and he went on to assist Gordon and Anna Hansen in opening the critically-acclaimed The Providores and Tapa Room in 1996.
In 2003, Farmerie moved back to the States to head up the kitchen of the first AvroKO-designed, owned and operated restaurant, PUBLIC, where his culinary magpie method takes cues from broad source material, looking to Asia, the Antipodes, and Europe for inspiration. The New York Times described this global approach as one that “swings for the fences with each and every dish,” and Michelin has awarded the restaurant a coveted star every year since 2009. 2006 saw the opening of The Monday Room, a 20-seat wine bar inside of PUBLIC; and in 2008, AvroKO Hospitality Group opened a gin den, Madam Geneva, which quickly became one of New York City’s most compelling drinking destinations.
In Fall of 2011, Farmerie focused his lens on traditional American grill fare to open Saxon + Parole with AvroKO Hospitality Group. The restaurant showcases domestic meat and seafood, as well as seasonal and sustainable produce, marked with Farmerie’s signature global twist in flavors and cooking methods.
Brad Farmerie has been featured across a wide range of international media platforms, including The Martha Stewart Show, the CBS Early Show, and NBC’s TODAY Show. He is also an acclaimed author, who has written for many publications such as Food Arts. Among his numerous awards and accolades, Farmerie was named a StarChefs “Rising Star Chef” in 2005; one of Food Arts’ “Emerging Tastemakers” in 2006; and has been touted as one of Global Magazine’s Top 50 “Chefs to Watch.”
After spending four years contributing to New York City’s diverse culinary scene, chef Jonnatan Leiva has returned to the Bay Area to man the stoves here at the Thomas. Growing up in San Francisco’s Mission, Leiva became interested in cooking as a boy while watching his grandmother prepare her authentic Spanish dishes. A California Culinary Academy alumnus, Leiva is a veteran of renowned restaurants like Apicius in Paris, Union Pacific in New York, La Palme D’Or at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, and San Francisco’s Fifth Floor. He also worked with noted San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino, of Incanto fame, and prior to departing for New York in 2009 he was executive chef at Jack Falstaff in San Francisco. In New York, he served as executive chef for both 10 Downing and the Lion before helming the kitchen at our sister restaurant, Saxon + Parole, in 2013. Most recently, Leiva worked with chef Charlie Hallowell of Pizzaialo and Boot & Shoe Service in opening Hallowell’s latest all-hearth cookery called Penrose.
Pastry Chef Matt Kulczycki brings the sweeter side of things to the Thomas. He elevates familiar American desserts by using classic French technique with a Napa twist. Pursuing a passion to join the world-renowned Northern California culinary scene, Matt moved to the Napa Valley to start as the Pastry Manager at Brix in Yountville. There, he developed an understanding of using farm-fresh ingredients to create seasonal dessert selections, something he continues to cultivate since coming to The Thomas as Pastry Chef in February of 2013.
Matt Kulczycki takes much of his inspiration from his roots in Warren, Michigan – a suburb of Detroit. Matt attended the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, using that education to launch him into the Las Vegas dining scene in 2007. There he took experience from positions in such establishments as Morels French Steakhouse at the Palazzo, Todd English’s Olives at Bellagio, and the Jean Philippe Patisserie at Bellagio. Ultimately, he became the Assistant Chocolate Pastry Chef at the Jean Philippe Patisserie at Aria Hotel and Casino. Working under Jean Philippe Maury and Claude Escamilla, Matt discovered a passion for creating elegant chocolate showpieces and confections.