Greens Restaurant, San Francisco’s vegetarian destination, announced its recent appointment of Executive Chef Katie Reicher. The New York state native plans on implementing a new menu every month guided by the seasons while sourcing fresh produce from Green Gulch Farm and local artisans. She will also organize a new dining series for May in which she will team up with other nationally recognized chefs to create a unique culinary experience—additional details to be revealed soon
“Greens is the timeless stalwart vegetarian restaurant of San Francisco and I’m so happy to carry on its 43-year-old tradition of celebrating vegetables,” says Riecher. She first developed ties to Greens during her externship for the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park (CIA) in 2015. Her initial goal was to follow her passion for veggies and live in an area that has varied produce all year long while working at a vegetable-focused restaurant. She enjoyed training under Executive Chef Annie Somerville (who worked at Greens from 1981 to 2018) so much that she moved back to the Bay Area the same day she graduated culinary school to work at Greens as a full-fledged line cook.
Raised to appreciate nature’s bounties, Reicher was heavily influenced by her mother, an avid vegetable gardener, beekeeper, and chicken egg harvester. Family meals sparked her interest in cooking, but it wasn’t until falling in love with a job at a bakery, after leaving her studies at Cornell University, when she realized she was destined to become a chef. She quickly enrolled at CIA where she graduated in 2016 with an Associates in Occupational Studies (AOS). She then trained through various positions of Sommerville’s kitchen before being named Executive Chef in June 2020. The pandemic delayed the official announcement of her appointment as all focus was dedicated to enabling the restaurant to survive.
Reicher has helped steer Greens Restaurant through difficult times, including a devastating fire in 2018, and most recently the pandemic. After almost all the employees were laid off, she collaborated with Executive Director Adam Mischlich to increase the staff from seven people to almost a hundred employees today. “Chef Katie has been a true leader during such challenging times,” says Mischlich. “She has worked tirelessly to keep our organization afloat while bringing energy and enthusiasm to our team as well as maintaining the integrity of our cuisine.”
With her leadership position, Reicher strives to carry the torch of the remarkable women who empowered Greens to challenge traditional kitchen culture. Channeling the characteristics of Greens Founder Chef Deborah Madision, Chef Annie Somerville, and Chef Denise St. Onge who led the restaurant into its 40th Anniversary, she has maintained a work environment that fosters discovery and growth. “In my kitchen, managers are taught to coach, lead by example and teach the team in an empowering way,” says Reicher. “We don’t ask anything of our team that we wouldn’t do, and we don’t ever yell. We train, and retrain. We like to think of ourselves as mentors, and we encourage people to ask questions, ask for help, and communicate with us frequently. Most importantly, we always thank our team for coming to work today.”