3-Minute Interview: Laurie Thomas

The owner of Rose Pistola, Terzo and Rose’s Café in San Francisco is preparing for the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs & Vintners Gala on Sunday. Thomas, 41, who recently became the vice president of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, joined the restaurant business seven years ago after working in Silicon Valley.

How did you go from Silicon Valley to running restaurants? It was one of those networking things in life: My ex-husband was friends with the owners, and I got involved as an investor. It’s not too much of a stretch — I’ve always worked at businesses that made things. I love working in the food and wine field more because it’s much more inspiring, and something different happens every day.

Any plans for opening another restaurant? We’re starting to look at different opportunities to do one of these three restaurants in another location, maybe Oakland. This year, we’ve spent time trying to respond to legislative changes in San Francisco, especially the health care changes.

What are the challenges of putting together the gala? The biggest challenge is that there has been a lot of shakeup in the organizations that can donate because some are starting to feel the pinch of the economy. We tried to get different corporate donors and went out of our way to ask people to make commitments.

Why do you take your chefs to New York and Europe? I always thought that was the key to our philosophy to try to find inspiration in authenticity of different parts of the world so you can bring it back here.

svasilyuk@sfexaminer.com

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