Meet Chef Todd Fisher
October 14, 2019
Chef Todd Fisher admits that if he had pursued his love of art instead of cooking, it may not have worked out too well due to a fear he has of messing up a canvas. Of course, Fisher’s journey through life offered up another creative opportunity, starting at age 15, when he began working at a local neighborhood Chinese restaurant and then rounded out his high school years by starting his own catering company. Ever since, Chef Fisher’s passion for the restaurant industry has provided him with creative sustenance, which he, in turn, shares with guests who delight in dining at each of his restaurants.
A fifth-generation Californian who grew up in San Francisco and who has lived and worked for the past 25 years on the Monterey Peninsula, Fisher is an expert when it comes to using the finest ingredients, perfectly prepared. His restaurants include the Folktale Winery restaurant, that boasts an expansive tasting menu and unique dining experiences, including a wine garden. And most recently, Fisher opened Pacific Bowls and Rolls, which is a fast-casual concept restaurant, focusing on the Pacific Rim countries and their flavors. At his Niman Ranch exclusive steak house, Seventh and Dolores (7D), in downtown Carmel, California, which is well known to locals and visitors alike.
Fisher first learned about Niman Ranch while working his first top-tier restaurant job at Montrio Bistro, in Monterey, California, that opened in 1995. From that experience, the quality of Niman Ranch product remained top of mind for him, and eventually, when it came time to select meats for his own restaurants, Fisher knew he wanted to feature Niman Ranch.
Thanks to a visit from Niman Sales Director, Sean Flynn, everything fell into place and has remained so ever since: “It’s the quality and the relationship I have built with the Niman Ranch team that keeps me engaged and connected with the brand,” says Fisher before adding, “The quality and the consistency are phenomenal. Early on, we were using a different brand and had great reviews so I remember saying, Niman Ranch had better perform great right out of the dry-aging room or we’re scrapping this whole concept. Then, once we tested the Niman product in the dry-aging room, we got even better reviews from our guests. The effort that Niman Ranch goes through to provide a better quality of life for the animal produces a better-quality product for the end-user, and that means everything to us.”
And Fisher’s appreciation for Niman Ranch doesn’t only stay within the walls of his own restaurants. When asked about a memorable career experience, Fisher explains that it had to do with Niman Ranch as well, “It was such a personal goal of mine to cook at the Beard House in New York City. Not only was I able to represent myself there but I was also able to represent Niman Ranch at the same time. We prepared beautiful dry-aged steaks in a historic location with my entire team. It still stands as one of my most memorable experiences and one of the highlights of my entire career. The fact Niman was there as a partner was really special to me. “
As the father of five children, Fisher feels a responsibility to leave something behind for them — to make the world a better place, “I really check my products before I put them on my menu and to make sure I’m not putting something on there that is bad for our world. Not only that, but my customers demand it because deep down, people have a desire to do the right thing when it comes to food.”
The future is something Fisher thinks about often, even beyond the legacy he wants to leave for his children. When thinking about where he sees himself in ten years, he immediately thinks of his restaurant family — now over 40 strong — and all the opportunities he wants to give them, “I consider it a privilege to coach, manage and teach life lessons to a group of such great people.”
Showing off his sense of humor, Fisher jokes that while he suffers from an allergy to shellfish, his last meal might just include the largest, fattest jumbo prawns he can find, complete with a big jug of cocktail sauce. And, when he and his wife playfully imagine what person they would each most like to invite to dinner, Fisher doesn’t hesitate, “I think Bill Murray would be pretty hilarious,” and then adds, “I might also put Jesus on the list because it would be pretty awesome to have a real blessing over the food.”
One of Fisher’s most recent memorable meals came when he and a chef buddy visited a restaurant in Pacific Grove, California and had fish and chips. “Simple yet spectacular,” was the description according to Fisher, which pretty much sums up what everyone feels about Fisher’s food as well.