Executive Chef, Finch & Fork
Chef James Siao is the Executive Sous Chef at Finch and Fork. As the executive chef, Siao created a modern American bar and grill menu focusing on ingredients from local fishers, farmers and ranchers including shareable plates such as the flatbreads, chicken fried "oyster" sliders and deviled eggs, as well as larger soul satisfying plates such as his popular fried chicken, lamb burger and seared scallops.
Siao grew up in Ohio, and spent time working his way up in his father's Chinese restaurant. He attended culinary school in Pittsburgh and later joined the Kimpton family at Taggia restaurant, at Kimpton's Firesky Resort in Scottsdale. In 2009, he had the opportunity to help a friend open a restaurant in Italy, but returned to Taggia in 2010 with the lessons he had learned in Italy. In 2012, Siao became the executive chef of Coast restaurant in Santa Barbara, and Coast subsequently evolved to became Finch & Fork in 2013.
In his free time, James likes to participate in local charitable events, such as Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation. He also enjoys a good road trip, and is often heading up or down the coast to Los Angeles or San Francisco to check out the food scene.
- Q: Who is your culinary mentor?
- A: My father. Growing up, I worked in our family restaurant and he's shown me the creativity and passion that comes from cooking.
- Q: What do you consider your best culinary creation?
- A: I can't pin point just one but the best ones usually come to me when I have some great inspiration. A recent success I had was a homemade ramen that I made. I really enjoyed making every component of it from scratch-- from the noodles to the broth to all the condiments. It was delicious.
- Q: What inspires you?
- A: The people I met and the places that I've had the pleasure of visiting all around the world is what inspires me every day.
- Q: What are your favorite classics to cook?
- A: Cooking pasta or braised items such as osso bucco are always favorites. To me, classics are the comfort foods that I grew up around.
- Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
- A: A utility knife always comes in handy- it's great for many different tasks that require quick and precise cuts.
- Q: Who would you love to have eat at Finch & Fork?
- A: Family and friends that have supported me throughout my career. I'd love the chance to cook for them!
Finch and Fork | 31 W Carrillo St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 | Phone: (805) 879-9100 | www.finchandforkrestaurant.com