Executive Chef / Owner
As executive chef and owner of Quince and Cotogna restaurants, Michael Tusk is known for his refined and modern approach to both Italian and French regional cuisine.
A native of New Jersey, Michael developed a profound curiosity about food at a very young age. While studying Art History at Tulane University, he took his first cooking job and was immediately drawn to the industry. Michael subsequently enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he became formally dedicated to the culinary arts.
Upon graduating, Michael departed for Europe to gain experience in Michelin-starred restaurants throughout France and Italy. He was particularly inspired by his experience in Italy’s Barbaresco region, which cultivated a deep interest in Northern Italian regional cooking.
When Michael returned to the United States in 1988, he settled in the Bay Area and started working at the legendary Stars restaurant. He left a year later for a position at Chez Panisse, where he stayed for four years. Michael credits much of his culinary philosophy to the time he spent under the influential tutelage of Alice Waters and then-chef Paul Bertolli.
Leaving Chez Panisse in 1994, Michael returned to France to gain more experience before signing on to work with Bertolli at Oliveto in Oakland. During his six-year tenure at this popular Italian restaurant, the duo often traveled to Italy for menu inspiration and to hunt for new ingredients.
Determined to open a restaurant of his own, Michael left Oliveto in 2000 and spent the next few years scouting potential locations. In 2003, he and his wife Lindsay discovered a quaint corner in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights and opened Quince. The intimate, 60-seat restaurant quickly became known as one of the city’s top fine-dining destinations, and Michael gained notoriety for his relationship with local purveyors.
The Tusks relocated the restaurant in 2009 to a historic 1907 brick and timber building in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood, which gave them the opportunity to open a second restaurant, Cotogna, adjacent to Quince. In its new home, Quince has been awarded a two Michelin-star rating and four stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, and Cotogna has become a popular destination for rustic California-Italian cuisine.
In 2011, Tusk was honored with the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Pacific.”
Nicholas Rubbo is the General Manager at Quince in San Francisco. With over a decade in the food and beverage industry, Rubbo’s diverse experience and well-rounded management style contribute to the renowned service of the award-winning restaurant.
Originally from Massachusetts, Rubbo attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and studied Culinary Arts. While in school, Rubbo worked as Captain at The Spiced Pear in The Chandler Hotel at Cliff Walk, a destination restaurant in Newport, RI.
Rubbo graduated in 2005 and moved to Boston to join the front of house team at the renowned No.9 Park. As Front Server and Line Cook, he developed fundamental hospitality and culinary techniques. With a solid year of operations management experience, Rubbo headed to San Francisco, drawn to the city’s stellar restaurant reputation and close proximity to wine country. He commenced his west coast career as Food Runner at Aqua. Throughout his three and a half years at Aqua, Rubbo learned the service tenants of a Michelin two star restaurant. He was consistently promoted, eventually running the front of house operations as General Manager.
In the summer of 2010, Rubbo joined the Quince team as Assistant General Manager, bringing with him a shared vision to establish the restaurant as the city’s premier fine dining venue. Now as General Manager, Rubbo oversees all aspects of operations at Quince. Rubbo’s passion for the hospitality industry is showcased in the energy he brings to the dining room and his desire to educate others about the bounty of Northern California that contributes to the seasonal, ever-evolving menus at Quince.
In his spare time Rubbo enjoys hiking around the Bay Area, taking his dog to the beach, dining out and cooking at home.
Chris Baggetta brings six years of wine service experience to Chef Michael Tusk’s San Francisco restaurants, Quince and Cotogna. A regular presence in the dining room, Baggetta’s affable nature, attention to detail and extensive wine knowledge contribute to the restaurants’ personable approach to hospitality.
Growing up in New Jersey, Baggetta dreamed of a career in the art world. She studied studio art as an undergraduate at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and earned her Masters degree in printmaking at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2005. Upon returning to New York City, Baggetta accepted a server position in the Cafés at the Museum of Modern Art, operated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. While attending classes at the American Sommelier Association, she quickly realized that she wanted to pursue a career as a sommelier.
In May 2007, Baggetta was hired at Eleven Madison Park to work directly under Wine Director John Ragan. He helped to expand her knowledge of wine regions, pairings, wine list development and the art of sourcing fine and rare wines. During her four-year tenure as Head Sommelier at Eleven Madison Park, Baggetta helped lead the team that earned three Michelin stars, the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Wine Service and four stars from The New York Times. Curiosity about San Francisco’s food and wine culture led Baggetta to Quince in December 2011.
As wine director at Quince and Cotogna, Baggetta curates the restaurants’ extensive wine lists and enjoys working the floor to help guide her guests’ wine experience. At Quince, the selection is influenced by the restaurant’s proximity to wine country, as well as Baggetta’s love of French wine, with ever-growing Burgundy and Champagne selections. An all-Italian prix fixe wine list is featured at Cotogna, with a reserve list of higher-end Italian wines. At both restaurants, Baggetta enjoys representing small producers from various wine regions and sharing their stories with her guests.
Alen Ramos and Carolyn Nugent
Executive Pastry Chefs
Chefs Ramos and Nugent boast impressive resumes, having worked in several of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants. Their mutually shared desire to work with the most influential chefs in the industry can be traced back to their initial meeting, in the famed kitchen of Chef Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas. They come most recently to Quince and Cotogna by way of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery, Beverly Hills. Nugent and Ramos worked in tandem as Executive Pastry Chef and Pastry Sous Chef, while Nugent simultaneously lead the team of Bouchon Bakery Beverly Hills as Bakery Manager. Prior to their tenure at Bouchon, the pastry duo built one of the most recognizable and successful Patisserie programs in the country at Bottega Louie in Los Angeles.
Before arriving in California, they worked in Chicago under Chef Laurent Gras, and were equally charged with restaurant’s bread and pastry program, contributing to the restaurant’s success and its achievement of three Michelin stars. Their collective experience extend beyond the pastry kitchens of the United States, beginning with their stage at elBulli in Roses, Spain in the 2008. Upon the completion of the season at elBulli, their determination and drive led them on a culinary journey throughout Europe. They strengthened their gastronomic foundation through invaluable classical French training at Pierre Herme in Paris before proceeding to The Fat Duck in the United Kingdom.
Director of Private Dining & Events
Amanda Botelho is the director of private dining and events at Quince and Cotogna restaurants in San Francisco. As a member of the team, Amanda contributes her event planning and culinary management background to the restaurants, ensuring memorable experiences for guests.
Originally from the Bay Area, Botelho moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. Upon graduation, she headed back to San Francisco to work for Mayor Gavin Newsom’s hospitality company, the PlumpJack Group, where she learned many facets of hospitality from daily operations to investor relations and employee communications.
While reading Danny Meyer’s book “Setting the Table,” Botelho dreamed of working for the restaurateur and moved across the country in the summer of 2007 to pursue her ambition. Botelho worked as Meyer’s assistant and as the communications manager at the Union Square Hospitality Group for two years before moving back to San Francisco in 2009.
Botelho began working at OpenTable, the online reservations platform, in 2010. She was in charge of managing client relationships, and it was during her time with OpenTable that Botelho first met chef Michael Tusk and Lindsay Tusk. She was immediately drawn to their hospitality style, and joined the team as private dining and events manager in 2012.
At Quince and Cotogna, Botelho ensures that every guest is offered a special experience, distinct from their previous and futures visits. Botelho takes pride in tailoring unforgettable dining experiences where family and friends gather and create memories over great food and wine.
In her spare time Botelho enjoys practicing yoga, traveling and dining out as often as she can.