Our Chefs

Jérôme Waag
Restaurant Chef
Jérôme Waag was born in Paris, France, and raised in the south of the country enjoying his mother Nathalie’s classic Provençal cooking. In 1991 he moved permanently to California after visiting and working in the kitchens of his mother’s friend, Alice Waters. He counts former Chez Panisse Chefs Paul Bertolli and Jean-Pierre Moullé as is mentors and teachers. An artist, when Jérôme is not cooking he practices his art which explores the junction of art and everyday life, particularly as it pertains to food and community.
Cal Peternell
Restaurant Chef
Cal Peternell grew up on a small farm in New Jersey and graduated with a BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. After graduation, Cal moved to Lucca, Italy, with his wife to pursue their art careers. Upon his return to the United States, he started cooking at Bix in San Francisco. He continued his career at Biba and The Blue Room in Boston, and returned to San Francisco as sous chef at Loretta Keller’s Bizou. Cal joined Chez Panisse in 1995 and has been chef since 2000.
Nathan Alderson
Café Chef
Nathan Alderson was born and raised in a farming community in Henderson County, Kentucky. He has received degrees in biology and music from Vanderbilt University. In 2001 he moved to California to pursue a career in cooking and started as an intern in the Chez Panisse kitchen in 2001. He has been sous chef in the Cafe since 2008. When Nathan is not cooking at Chez Panisse, he is cooking at home with friends and family.
Beth Wells
Café Chef
Beth Wells grew up in Friendswood, Texas, a Quaker town near Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Beth moved to San Francisco. Upon graduation from culinary school, she started as a volunteer in the Chez Panisse kitchen. She moved quickly through the ranks, becoming sous chef, and in 2008, chef of Chez Panisse Café.
Mary Jo Thoresen
Pastry Chef
Mary Jo Thoresen began her cooking career at Chez Panisse in 1981 as an intern. Under the tutelage of Chez Panisse’s founding pastry chef Lindsey Shere, she continued her work at Chez Panisse for the next 12 years, eventually becoming pastry sous chef. In 1993 she left to open Café Amici with her husband Curt Clingman on the campus of the California College of Arts & Crafts. In 1999, they opened the much-loved neighborhood bistro Jojo in Oakland, which the two ran for nearly a decade. In 2008, she returned part-time to Chez Panisse, and has been pastry chef of both café and restaurant since 2013.