Just weeks after Coi earned its third Michelin star came news that its chef, Matthew Kirkley, has permanently left the kitchen. Now Eater SF has confirmed that Erik Anderson, formerly of Nashville’s Catbird Seat, has taken on the role of executive chef, effective immediately.
Anderson says he’s currently working on his own menu for Coi that will go live in January, after the restaurant’s winter break. In the meantime, chef/owner Daniel Patterson will return to the kitchen to put out some of Coi’s classics through the end of the year.
“It’s very exciting to me, I’m getting exposed to a lot of different products here,” Anderson told Eater SF. “Matt [Kirkley] and I are obviously different chefs, but it’ll be refined, technique-driven food. That’s not going to change.” Anderson has spent a little time in the Bay Area over the years, starting with a stage at The French Laundry years ago and, more recently, cooking at Meadowood’s 12 Nights of Christmas.
“I love it out here,” says Anderson. “I’ve always dreamed of a way to get back and this was something I couldn’t say no to.”
Anderson has already started at the restaurant after moving to San Francisco from Minneapolis, where he and partner Jamie Malone recently revamped the 70-year-old Grand Café. Previously, Anderson was one of the opening chefs at The Catbird Seat in Nashville, a 21-seat fine-dining restaurant that shot to to the top of national “best restaurant” lists when it opened in 2011.
Kirkley has been training for the prestigious international culinary competition, Bocuse d’Or, which requires complete dedication to a rigorous, full-time schedule. Having won the USA selection process in Las Vegas on November 8, the chef will move to Napa to train until the competition takes place in Lyon, France in January of 2019.
As Kirkley began to ramp up training for the competition over the summer, he began working 16 hour days, running the kitchen at Coi and training after hours up until the week of the competition, November 5. “This is the only time in my life when I can do this competition and still work like crazy to get that done,” Kirkley told Eater SF. “I have another 35 years to run fine-dining restaurants. Coi needs a strong hand at the pass and I think they’re going to get it with Erik.”
Coi owner and former executive chef Daniel Patterson hit reset on his then-two-Michelin-starred restaurant almost two years ago as he made the decision to focus on other projects and step out of the kitchen. Now, an incredibly short time after earning a third star, his restaurant is once again hitting reset. Adding Anderson to the Bay Area dining scene will be an exciting opportunity to see what the talented chef will do. It’s also a missed opportunity for Patterson to follow through on his goal to bring racial and gender equity to the fine-dining world by hiring a woman or person of color.
Update [11.20.2017, 7:15 p.m.] Daniel Patterson sent a tweet to clarify Anderson’s heritage: “Erik is half Mexican.”
Update [11.20.2017, 7:30 p.m.] This article has been updated to clarify the timeline of chef Kirkley’s training schedule for Bocuse d’Or.