Award-winning Executive Chef & Partner Lewis Rossman brings his creative energy and a commitment to excellence to Sam’s, along with 14+ years of culinary experience. His mantra is sustainable, fresh, local when possible and always seasonal. He was recently featured in TasteTV’s popular new book, “Sexy Dishes” – a guide to “Who’s Hot in the Kitchen,” profiling culinary artists and their favorite “sexy” recipes.
Rossman grew up in rural Buck's County, a charming area outside of Philadelphia filled with farmlands, wineries, and local artisans, reminiscent of California's Napa Valley. The eldest of five children, he inherited his parents' love of fine food and cooking – a love that would eventually guide his future. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy and working at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel, his passion for food led him to travel throughout the Mediterranean. Visits to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel helped shape his understanding and appreciation for simple, rustic preparations using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Rossman has since contributed to the success of some of the Bay Area’s top dining spots. His defining role as opening team member of Cetrella in Half Moon Bay, California, and later as Executive Chef, won the restaurant many accolades, including the acclaimed San Francisco Chronicle’s“Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants” list for three years in a row. He also earned the “Culinary Hospitality Restaurant of the Year” in the United States by the prestigious Sante, the Magazine for Restaurant Professionals, the only peer-judged awards program in America. As Chef de Cuisine at Tuscany-inspired Acquerello, rated one of Wine Spectator's“10 best Italian Restaurants in the U.S.”, Rossman worked closely with award-winning chef Suzette Gresham on all aspects of the restaurants cuisine and operations. At Kokkari in San Francisco, he learned about operations and cooking for an upscale high-volume restaurant.
The ingredients are the foundation of every dish, and Chef Rossman is routinely inspired by a view of fishing boats working their way into the nearby harbor and the farms and fields surrounding the entire area. Produce in the fields of Half Moon Bay in the morning often finds its way onto the salad plate at Sam’s by evening, and Rossman has long-lasting relationships with specialty farmers around Half Moon Bay. Seafood is treated with respect for the traditional, New England style of cooking, subtly enhancing the fresh product without overpowering it with heavy sauces.
Unique to a seafood house of this size, Rossman serves a different fresh side of the season with each entree, carefully prepared to let the natural flavors shine. This passion for fine, fresh ingredients is evident from the house-made dressings, sauces, pastas, and charcuterie, to the house-made desserts. Rossman and his staff often prepare special “crudos” of the day to delight his guests, long with daily specials that herald the season’s finest.
Rossman resides in San Francisco, enjoys the outdoors, surfing, hiking and skiing. He also loves traveling – and dining out.