Knife Point Interview with
Chef Chris Kobayashi of Artisan Restaurant

~ SLO County Restaurant Month ~

Just in case you missed the live Facebook chat with Chef Chris Kobayashi today, a transcribe is below.

Chris attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, graduating in 2002 at the top of his class. In addition, he also earned a certificate in Baking and Pastry at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. He has extensive culinary experience from Asia de Cuba at Clift Hotel, Roy's in San Francisco and Brix in Napa Valley. Artisan is built upon Chef Kobayashi's attention to detail, focus on locally sourced ingredients and fervor for refined cuisine. 

Dine In CA: Hi Chris! Thank you for joining us. Why don't you start by telling us about your restaurant Artisan.

Artisan: Our restaurant is located in Paso Robles California, a small agriculture community where we get to enjoy local produce and be close to where our food comes from. Our restaurants focus is based upon sustainable choices.

Derek Overbey: I would love to know what Chris loves most about being a chef and an owner of a restaurant?

Dine In CA: Did your childhood impact your desire to be a chef if so, how?

Artisan: Yes my childhood did impact my decision to be a chef. I always enjoyed to cook and growing up with my grandmother I learned to cook at home with her. Other influences are my aunt who had been in the restaurant industry, who owned and operated her own Thai restaurant; this exposed me to many flavors.

Lloyd Vilbar: Hello Chris what kind of food are you serving at Artisan? Because I love Japanese food I'm not crazy about sushi.

Black Ink PR: What's your favorite dish to cook for your family?

Artisan: @Derek Overbey : when you are a chef/owner, you have a feeling of how you can control your future, as far as deciding what you want to cook. A big part of being a chef is having a creative outlet and with owning your own restaurant, you're able to execute your ideas.

Artisan: @Lloyd Vilbar, that's funny. We serve modern American food. To elaborate, we're taking flavors that are familiar and updating them for today's palate, using local & sustainable ingredients.

San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau: Why did you choose SLO County to open your restaurant?

Peggy Bendel: What's the best way to introduce my family to new cuisines, such as Thai or Japanese? Is there a specific dish or two at Artisan you can recommend?

Lizzie Keenan: Hi Chris, What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?

Artisan: @BlackInkPR : My favorite meal to cook for my family is a simple steak, a fresh salad and of course, you have to have rice @Lloyd Vilbar.

Artisan: @San Luis Obispo County Visitors... SLO County is absolutely a beautiful area. Shandi (my wife) were living up in Napa and went to Southern California to visit our parents and stopped in Paso Robles. There were several aspects that reminded me of where I grew up (Bishop, CA) and I fell in love with this place; it reminded me of home. Of all the places I've cooked, I felt like I had better access to food and farms here on the central coast.

Artisan: @Peggy Bendel: to answer the first question Peggy, there are always go to dishes at a Japanese or Thai restaurant like teriyaki chicken or pad thai. These dishes originated in the U.S. for the American palate. At Artisan, our most simplistic dish that defines American culture on our dinner menu is a grilled flat iron steak and house cut french fries. Another dish that has been on our menu since the beginning is a ale fondue.

Dine In CA: If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Artisan: @Lizzie Keenan: that's a good question. a good olive oil which is what we have in this region, a lot of olive trees, is a foundation for a lot of our cooking here. We have a 50 gallon drum of olive oil from Olea Farm in Templeton. This is used from anything like vinaigrette's to sautes. Everyone who dines in the restaurant enjoys their olive oil.

Dine In CA: First word that comes to mind when I say foodie?

Artisan: If I could cook for one person, it would be Suzanne Goin. Suzanne Goin because she had a lot of influence on my ideas of food philosophy. The emphasis is based on not only local sustainable ingredients, but using interesting and obscure ingredients not only to educate but create interest on a plate.

Artisan: hipster.

Dine In CA: Place you eat most often on days off?

Lauren Tognazzini: What has been your greatest moment of being a chef so far?

Black Ink PR: I'm hungry now. What's for lunch?

Artisan: We eat here at the restaurant or at home. We have a six year old son, so we find it easier to eat at home.

Brittany Garcia: What is your favorite cuisine?

Artisan: @Lauren Tognazzini: The greatest moment of being a chef/owner, was making it past the first year. If you can make it past the first year selling your food philosophy, you've accomplished executing you culinary point of view.

Artisan: @BlackInkPR: that's a good question, I'm hungry too. What is for lunch?

Artisan: @BrittanyGarcia: if I had to pick one cuisine I would pick Japanese. That's my comfort food.

Christopher Samih Kiranbay: Chef, does the style of wine grown in Paso Robles (Rhones) affect your style of cooking or menu decisions?

Dine In CA: If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau: What is the best thing you ever made and what is the worst?

Artisan: @Christopher Samih Kiranbay: absolutely Chris. For example, in this month we do Monday Night Suppers and I create a menu based upon wines that are local to this area.

Artisan: @San Luis Obispo County Visitors... : wow. According to my wife and son, the best thing I've ever made is fried catfish that I make at home for them on our weekends. and the worst, according to my wife, is kimchee.

Dine In CA: We understand that you are moving to a new restaurant location. Would you like to tell us about the new space and inspiration behind the design?

Aaron Strout: Chris - what trends do you see happening in fine dining in 2013.

San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau: We thought for sure you'd never made a bad dish!

San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau: What is the latest culinary tend in SLO County?

Artisan: Yes we are moving this spring to the corner of 12th street and Pine on the downtown square. The inspiration behind the design reflects the food. We are trying to incorporate eco-friendly design using sustainable and greener choices. For example, reclaimed wood, cork, local wood, reclaimed windows, post-consumer recycled content materials. Fortunately I've been able to design the kitchen as well as the front of house. I'm excited!

Artisan: @San Luis Obispo County... "snout to tail" and local & sustainable choices.

Dine In CA: Our final question to you is if you weren't cooking, what would you do for a living?

Artisan: I would have liked to be a park ranger or an architect.

Dine In CA: Chef Chris, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and the questions of those that joined our Knife Point chat today. We wish you continued success.

Artisan: Thank you very much for having me at Knife Point. I appreciate everybody's time and thank you for all of your fan support!

Dine In CA: If you'd like to stay in the know about what Chef Chris is doing and when his new restaurant location opens, you can fan the restaurant page here:

Learn more about how to Celebrate California Restaurant Month in San Luis Obispo County!