Interview with Chef Brian Best of The Matheson Roof 106

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Brian Best of The Matheson Roof 106. Roof 106 is part of one of my favorite Healdsburg restaurants, The Matheson. It was opened by my dear friends the fabulous Chef Dustin Valette and partner Craig Ramsey. To read more about Roof 106:
Rooftop 106 at The Matheson Healdsburg

So when I had the chance to sit down with Chef Brian Best, I was more than thrilled! Read on to learn more about him, his career, and his recommendations!

What was your first memory of cooking and what did you cook?

Baking with my mother. When I was little she would set me on the counter and I’d “help” measure ingredients and sneak bites of the cookie dough.

What is a knife you cannot live without?

My Misono chef’s knife. I’ve had it for almost 20 years and I use it more than anything else in the kitchen.

What is one ingredient you cannot cook without?

I love morita chiles. They are a dried Mexican chile that bring heat, sweetness, smokiness and depth to a dish. I don’t limit using them to Mexican inspired dishes.

What was one of the biggest mistakes you made your first year in the culinary industry?

Trying to stop my first chef’s knife from sliding off the table. I still have a small scar from that and it happened my first week in a professional kitchen.

When did you know you wanted to become a chef?

I got a job at Montrachet in New York while I was in culinary school. Working with Chef Chris Gesualdi and the team there really solidified my desire to be a chef.

What was your inspiration behind the FABULOUS Roof 106 amazing Pizzas?

The pizzas at Roof 106 reflect my personal culinary journey. My dough recipe is a culmination of years of making pizza in a lot of different styles and using different techniques. I think about the toppings the same way I approach any dish—with the goal of balancing flavors, textures, colors and the seasons. I love creating pizzas that are original yet have elements of familiarity.

Which of the various seasonal pizzas are you most excited about and why? (We both know my favorite is the BLT Pizza or the Hawaiian Pizza)

We get amazing tomatoes in Northern California but they are at their peak for only a relatively brief time. My BLT pizza is a testament to the bounty of summer in Sonoma County.

Who has been the most influential mentor/chef in your career?

I worked with Chef Quinn Hatfield in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade. My growth as a cook and chef during that time had an incredible impact on who I am as a chef today.

What is your favorite after work drink?

The Modern Margarita or Best’s Bait at Roof 106! The name of that second one isn’t a coincidence.

What is your favorite local spot in Healdsburg?

Lo and Behold. Great drinks, food and people. Always consistent.

Tell us something that would surprise people about you?

I was a varsity swimmer at the University of Virginia. Though I don’t swim as much as I’d like these days, the discipline and work ethic instilled in me there has served me well in my professional career.

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