Alum Denise St. Onge Is Chef de Cuisine at Greens, SF's Longtime Vegetarian Restaurant

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

7X7 (SAN FRANCISCO) -- St. Onge, who is half-Thai, was raised Buddhist and grew up both in Thailand and in the Oakland hills. "My mother was a chef in Oakland, at the Vulcan Cafe," she said, "and my sister and I traveled a lot as kids, and became foodies naturally through that experience. My mom passed away from cancer in 1998, and during that journey with her, we started a vegetarian macrobiotic diet, did a lot of meditation, and came to Greens a lot. It was probably 1995. I always thought it was a really beautiful restaurant and institution, and a very peaceful place."

After studying International Relations at SF State, St. Onge decided she wanted to cook. "I started off as a stage at Michael Mina," which at the time was one of only two two-Michelin-star restaurants in the city, "and worked for free until they hired me." In the years that followed, she worked at a number of the city's most highly regarded restaurants, including Gary Danko, SPQR, Prospect and Atelier Crenn. Greens, as it happened, would prove to be something of a baptism by fire.