GayCities sat down with Gaby in the restaurant’s stylish yet unpretentious concrete dining room to talk about being out in the workplace, the secrets to recipes, honing her craft with award-winning chef Gary Danko, and where she eats when she’s not in the kitchen herself.Gaby’s tasting menu of small plates blends her Hawaiian roots with California’s abundance of fresh produce and game.
She strives to create a “whimsical and fun” aura in every dish, each as tasty as the next. Her presentation, in her words, is “like a diamond.” (For wine lovers, State Bird Provisions has a section dedicated to the varietal know as Gamay, which the chef says pairs well with the restaurant’s namesake commandable, fried quail.)She got her start as a line chef at Gary Danko, another renowned San Francisco eatery.“That was a big part of me as a chef,” she recalls. “Me as a gay chef.” In fact, owner and head chef Gary Danko produces some of the Bay Area’s most noteworthy chefs. “To be seriously considered in your career, there were three or four restaurants in San Francisco that you needed to work at,” Gabby says. “Gary Danko was one of them.” She acknowledges that these are often “tough houses” for budding chefs but they can also be opportunities to learn from the best. “Just shut up, put your head down, and pray they don’t notice,” she told herself during her years as an apprentice, a sacrifice that has paid off today.She said that her time working for Danko also helped her be her authentic self in the workplace. “I felt very comfortable being honest with everyone about my orientation,” she says. “Finding out that Chef Gary was gay definitely made it easier.