An Extraordinary Dining Experience: Get To Know The Culinary Team at Birk’s Restaurant

What makes Birk’s Restaurant a Bay Area favorite for over 25 years? The welcoming atmosphere, great service and friendly staff are a large part of it, but it’s also the outstanding food that draws our guests back to enjoy their favorite dishes, or try new specials. Birk’s Restaurant is proud to work with a talented culinary team who come from a wide range of backgrounds; their diverse experience is what allows them to conceptualize and create the mouthwatering entrées that guests love.

Executive Chef Maurice is an international traveler who has studied culinary arts around the world. He first learned how to cook Cajun and Caribbean style food from his grandmother, and as his interest in food grew, he went on to study at the Carnegie Cooking School in British Guyana. He also took advanced cooking classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Chicago and Le Cordone Bleu in St. Helena. Over the years, he has specialized in fine dining and Italian cuisine in a variety of restaurants throughout the Bay Area. Maurice has been the Executive Chef at Birk’s for 16 years now!

Maurice’s cooking style depends largely on the ingredients. During the spring and summer months when fresh produce is abundant and full of flavor, he prefers simpler cooking methods that let the dominant flavors within the dish shine on their own. In the fall and winter months, when fresh ingredients are out of season, he embellishes the flavors of the dish more by adding herbs, slow cooking, marinating or curing them.

As for Maurice’s favorite dish at Birk’s – well, they’re all his babies and he loves them equally!

Sous Chef Julie grew up in Salinas, Monterey County. Her mother is also a chef who owned a Vietnamese restaurant, so excellent food was a part of her upbringing. She used to hang out in her mother’s restaurant and learned how to cook with fresh produce, fruit and homegrown herbs. Julie went to nursing school for a year and a half before returning to her love for food and attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in San Francisco. She first worked in Monterey, where restaurants focus on the fresh local ingredients, before moving up to Santa Clara to Michael Mina, where she grew to appreciate New American, with it’s fresh food focused menu as well!

Julie considers her cooking style New American, with emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. She prefers lighter dishes where the quality of the ingredients can shine through, with less spices required.

Her current favorite dish at Birk’s is a new spring menu item, the Island Chicken Salad, which brings in a lot of different flavors through jackfruit, pears, and a touch of coconut. It reminds her childhood and her mom’s cooking!

Sous Chef Javier started at Birk’s in 1990 as a dishwasher. However, his love of learning and inquisitive nature led him to work his way through every food station at Birk’s Restaurant as he worked his way up to his current position. Javier first started as a prep cook on the kitchen, where he supported the cooks on the line with what they needed (mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, etc.). Next, he worked in the pantry where he served the salads and desserts before moving to the sauté station, where he prepped the paella, pasta and side dishes. At the grill, he cooked meats; then the middle station where the dishes are plated and the sauces are heated. Throughout this process, Javier was learning how run and manage the kitchen from the chefs and finally was promoted to a Sous Chef.

Javier enjoys Latino style food, and his cooking style runs toward spicy food with plenty of peppers and chilies.

His favorite dish at Birk’s is the Vegetable Plate, which happens to be one of his creations. It’s a pleasure to see how popular it is every night and know that he was a part of its creation.

Assistant Sous Chef Andres also started as a dishwasher in 1989. He actually came from the same town as Sous Chef Javier, though they did not know each other personally. Similar to Javier, Andreas worked his way through the different food prep stations at Birk’s until he learned enough about the workings of the restaurant to be a Sous Chef.

There’s a diverse range of talent in the chefs at Birk’s Restaurant in Santa Clara, the fine dining restaurant of choice for the Silicon Valley’s movers and shakers. Their unique personal and culinary backgrounds are what give the food at Birk’s that extra touch of magic. Read about how all of our chefs collaborated and combined their cooking styles to create this season’s spring menu. Has all this reading made you hungry? Make a reservation with us today or place an order for delivery through!

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