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.”
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.
Chef de Cuisine
Jonathan Black, born in the Bay Area and raised in Virginia, is passionate about cooking with seasonal, market-driven ingredients. As Chef de Cuisine at Quince in San Francisco, Black collaborates with Executive Chef Michael Tusk to create refined, ever-evolving tasting menus that highlight the area’s incredible, local bounty.
Black’s interest in cooking started at a young age, when his passion for discovering different cuisines collided with the Southern fare he was raised on. He was determined to learn how to cook with fresh ingredients, uniting tradition with innovation.
Black received a full scholarship to study at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and graduated with honors in 2007. He then spent the summer working at The Chefs Garden in Milan, Ohio where he learned sustainable growing techniques and developed seasonal menus for visiting chefs. In the fall of 2007, Black moved to New York City and over the course of six years, strengthened his culinary skills by working at some of the most esteemed restaurants in the city.
His professional restaurant career began as a member of the opening team at Allen and Delancey. A year later, he helped to open Corton, gaining experience in advanced culinary techniques and playing a supporting role in the documentary feature A Matter of Taste. Black then accelerated his cooking skills and took his career to the next level at Per Se as Chef de Partie. To prepare for the opening of the highly anticipated Governor Restaurant, Black staged at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Europe – NOMA and In De Wulf, among others. Upon his return to New York City, Black opened the restaurant of his dreams, taking the helm as Chef de Cuisine at Governor Restaurant in Brooklyn. In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed the restaurant and Black made the difficult decision to move on and head west.
In the winter of 2013, Black commenced his west coast career at Quince in San Francisco, inspired by Chef Tusk’s close relationship with local purveyors and frequent trips to the farmers market. As Chef de Cuisine, he works on the menu alongside Tusk, developing new dishes and gathering inspiration from the bountiful produce of Northern California.
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.
Jai Wilson is the Wine Director at Quince and Cotogna in San Francisco. As wine director, Jai is responsible for developing the wine program. His duties include evolving the wine list, maintaining inventory, and staff wine education.
An Alaskan native, Wilson graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in 2002 with a B.A. focus on business. Upon graduating, Wilson began his wine career as a wine education specialist at Late-Bottle Vintage in Seattle Washington. Continuing his wine knowledge development in Washington, Wilson entered hospitality as a wine steward, hosting tastings to educate his fellow staff members at a local restaurant and wine bar.
Wanting to be closer to the Northern Californian wine industry, Wilson decided to relocate to San Francisco. Continuing his career at Aqua, Wilson soon became an Assistant Sommelier through which he continued to train staff and manage the wine cellar. Following Aqua, Jai began his eight-year tenure at Jardiniére where through his hard work and dedication, he eventually became wine director. At Jardiniére, Jai’s duties included day-to-day management of the wine lists, formal staff trainings, tastings, and rare-bottle acquisitions.
He is a certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and the North American Sommelier Association. In his spare time Jai enjoys traveling to wine regions such as Champagne, Alsace, Mosel, Western Australia, and the American west coast. Wilson is also a featured contributor in Tasting Panel Magazine and a member of the Tasting Panel for Wine and Spirits Magazine.
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.