Chef Gerald Hirigoyen

In 2002, Chef Gerald Hirigoyen and his wife Cameron brought authentic Basque flavors to downtown San Francisco with the opening of Piperade. Its owners describe the restaurant as “West Coast Basque Cuisine,” bringing together various cultures by incorporating fresh local ingredients into French, Spanish, and Basque dishes.

Gerald is an enthusiastic supporter of Meals on Wheels, he has been involved in the Star Chefs & Vintners Gala since 2003 and has participated in more than 15 Live Auction Lots!

Gerald recently recorded a casual conversation with long-time friend and fellow chef, David Lawrence. In the late 1990s, David pioneered high-end interpretations of comfort food that have become more common in recent years —variations on chicken and waffles, for example. Trained in Michelin-starred establishments in Europe, and having called the Bay Area home for more than 25 years, he’s institutionalized some favorites on the menu of his restaurant 1300 on Fillmore.

They discuss their early beginnings in the industry, and the valuable lessons they’ve learned along the way. Watch the video here.

Gerald named his restaurant after pipérade, a Basque vegetable stew that combines tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions; here he uses a pipérade puree to braise chicken. He says children love this lightly sweet sauce. He shared his recipe below.


1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
12 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
2 pounds plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
Piment d’Espelette or hot paprika (see note)
20 chicken thighs (about 8 pounds)
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sherry vinegar

1. In a very large ovenproof skillet, heat 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened and all of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes longer.

2. Transfer the vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth. Season the vegetable puree with salt and Piment d’Espelette.

3. Wash and dry the skillet. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in each of 2 very large ovenproof skillets. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 10 of the thighs to each skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until the chicken is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat. Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour off the fat in the skillets.

4. Add 1/4 cup of the brown sugar to 1 of the skillets and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until melted, about 1 minute. Off the heat, carefully whisk in 1/2 cup of the vinegar; turn away to avoid the fumes. Cook over moderate heat, whisking and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until thick and syrupy, about 1 minute. Add half of the vegetable puree and bring to a boil. Return 10 of the chicken thighs to the skillet, skin side up. Repeat with the second skillet and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup of vinegar, puree and chicken thighs. Cover both skillets and simmer the chicken over low heat until cooked through, about 12 minutes.

5. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat. Uncover the skillets and broil the chicken until the skin is lightly browned and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, spoon the sauce on top and serve.

Note: Piment d’Espelette is a smoky, mildly spicy ground chile native to the Basque region. It is available at specialty food shops and spice shops.

Piperade offers outdoor dining Tuesday – Saturday 11:30am – 8:30pm. For reservations call 415-391-2555 or via RESY