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Meet Scott Samuel, Zipongo’s Director of Culinary Innovation


“I’m most proud of my ability to share the basics of eating well with others.”

chefscott-1Zipongo’s Director of Culinary Innovation Scott Samuel has been in the food industry since he was a teenager. He started his career as a prep cook in Lahaina, Hawaii at the age of 14. After completing a degree in hotel and restaurant administration at Washington State University, he opened his first restaurant, Brie and Bordeaux, in Seattle. Scott went on to spend a summer working as a guest chef with Thomas Keller at French Laundry and was nominated for Rising Chef of the Year in 1998 by the James Beard Foundation.

After cooking in various fine dining restaurants for more than a decade, Scott shifted gears to become a culinary educator. He worked with The Culinary Institute of America for seven years and in partnership with Harvard School of Public Health. There, Scott helped develop the Menus of Change Principles, which are a group of principles that provide chefs and foodservice leaders with guidance on nutrition and sustainability. At Zipongo, Scott is focused on working with key clients and their culinary communities to help promote a more plant-based diet across their operations.

1. Tell us why you joined Zipongo

My experience developing the Menus of Change was very rewarding. Joining Zipongo was a natural progression for me because it’s a company that’s putting many of those same principles into action. For example, sharing the benefits of eating natural whole foods with others. I’m confident that our work will continue to help influence how the foodservice industry feeds America.  

2. What are you most proud of (personal or career-wise)?

I’m most proud of my ability to share the basics of eating well with others. During my career, I’ve run restaurants, taught cooking classes, developed menus for industry conferences, and collaborated with food industry leaders. Through this work, I’ve helped countless people eat more healthful and mindfully.

3. What’s your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?

Bar Tartine is my favorite. Cortney Burns and Nick Balla are cooking from their hearts with fresh local products and flavors that shine every time.

4. Can you share something that ranks high on your bucket list?

I’d like to continue learning how to sail and then take yearly trips to different tropical locations with my family. One trip will be to Tahiti, where we’ll sail, go scuba diving and have freshly-caught fish for dinner.

Want to work with Scott and the folks at Zipongo? Check out our current job openings.

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