Meet The Chef Behind One65, San Francisco’s New Six-Floor French Culinary Destination

Food & Drink

Chef Claude Le Tohic

ONE65

It’s one of the biggest and most ambitious restaurant projects San Francisco has seen in a while and it’s first floor—that’s right, just the first floor of six—opens its doors to the public Thursday, May 16, with the following floors opening on the 24th. Located on the street level of 165 O’Farrell Street, ONE65 Patisserie and Boutique is one of four unique modern French culinary dining experiences that will encompass ONE65.

This one-of-a-kind multi-level culinary concept comes to you from the minds of decorated James Beard Award-winning Michelin Star Chef Claude Le Tohic and the Alexander’s Steakhouse team. Chef Le Tohic’s vision? To celebrate French cuisine without pretense, while bringing together the freshest produce California has to offer within a range of dining options fit for everyone and any taste preference, at any time of day.

The 25,000 square-foot ONE65 space is designed by D-Scheme Studio. Each floor features a completely distinct design featuring custom lighting, décor and furniture. Moreover, each offers a special ambiance and vibe unique to the dining venue. The entire building is interconnected allowing guests the ability to explore each concept as they wish, depending on what they want to eat and drink.

“On the first floor, ONE65 Patisserie and Boutique we will serve sweet and savory pastries, sandwiches, fresh to-go salads, our own coffee blend, and chocolate bars made in our very own chocolate room as well as house-made ice creams,” says Chef Le Tohic.

The Patisserie will feature high ceilings, and a floor-to-ceiling glass façade, in addition to an inviting 24-foot long quartz pastry bar where guests are invited to ogle and choose from a variety of freshly baked French goods and pastries.

“The second floor is mostly used for cooking and prepping with a cozy little area where guests can eat and watch our chocolatiers in action,” he continues. The menu will include house-made chocolates, ice cream, breads and a barista service alongside wines available by the glass or bottle.

The third floor is ONE65 Bistro & Grill will serve contemporary California/French “comfort” food that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to special weekend brunch menus. The open kitchen services the whole building and allows guests a fun, behind-the-scenes look at how everything is cooked.

Though just a guest, you’re made to feel like you’re a part of the kitchen, or like Chef Le Tohic described, “a part of the show.” Guests are invited to be one with the chef experience, to talk with the chefs, ask questions and get involved. Bar seating beside the open kitchen further encourages a dialogue between guests and those preparing the food.

“On the fourth floor is our Lounge & Bar called Elements,” says Chef Le Thoic. “This space features several different areas, including high-top cocktail tables for casual conversations, cozy leather booths for longer visits, a beautiful exposed wine cellar, and a whiskey library with spirit lockers for clients.”

Elements is one of San Francisco’s few upper-floor bars. Offering a range of cocktails, wines, whiskeys and more, it’s a luxe setting designed with three separate seating areas: high-top cocktail tables, bar seating overlooking the exposed wine cellar, and whisky library seating. Think: low lighting, a black and gold quartz bar and brass detailing, in addition to elements like plush seating and lounge areas.

“The fifth and sixth floors are dedicated to the fine dining restaurant, O’ by Claude Le Tohic. The fifth floor features arts from renowned photographer and artist Christian Andrade that represent the three elements of nature¾water, fire, and earth¾which is also the theme of our menu for O’,” continues Chef Le Tohic. “On the sixth floor we have an intimate chef table nearly in the kitchen for eight guests and two private dining rooms for larger groups.”

Combining custom pieces from artist Christian Andrade, O’ will offer an inimitable culinary and cultural fine dining experience, but don’t mistake that for being a pretentious one.

Forbes caught up with Chef Le Tohic during this exciting time to talk inspiration, approachable French cuisine and what ONE65 means to him and the future of his career.

What was the inspiration for opening such an ambitious, large scale culinary concept? And why did you decide to open it in San Francisco?

The first time I came here, it was love at first sight. San Francisco (besides being one of the most beautiful cities I ever visited) has incredible energy and diversity. People here are very open-minded and enjoy new concepts.

Do you think ONE65 will make French food more accessible to the masses?

ONE65 is a place for everyone, anytime of day and features options at all different price points. You can spend anywhere from $5 – $500 and have multiple dining experience all day long. Our different floors offer many meal options for every budget which is what makes ONE65 so unique.

How hands-on will you be at ONE65? Will you be in the kitchen daily?

Yes, I will be present on all the different levels, and will not only be behind the scenes in the kitchen, but meeting with guests as well. It is important to me to talk to people to get their feedback about our concepts.

What are some of the defining chef moments that have led you to open ONE65?

I have visited many countries and cultures in my life. These encounters helped to redefine my perception of cooking and create my own style. After working many years in Las Vegas for my mentor Joël Robuchon, I decided it was time for me to start a new chapter. People in San Francisco really care about good food and unique experiences. I just knew this city would be a good place for this project.

What are some of the things you’re most excited about in this new chapter of your career?

I feel both excited and lucky to have the opportunity to start this new chapter of my life in such a vibrant city like San Francisco, but could not have done it without my amazing and supportive ONE65 team. We all know we have a lot of work ahead of us and we will give it our best!

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