Chef Michael Rotondo
Mitchell Nordby, Sous Chef
Chef Michael Rotondo
Chef Michael Rotondo took the helm of restaurant Parallel 37 at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco on January 14, 2013. “Living and working in San Francisco is a dream, this is a true food city where guests know great cuisine,” said chef. “There are few cities in the world where such amazing ingredients are available locally and in season year round, but also so close to the epicenter of the wine culture in the United States. Being a chef for me is about the complete food and wine experience.”
Most recently serving as Executive Chef at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, IL, Chef Michael focuses on food and wine found along the geographic latitude near the San Francisco Bay area, with an eye towards globally inspired California cuisine. “Chef Trotter taught me the art of cooking with subtlety and finesse, focusing on what’s most important, a truly balanced and exceptional dining experience,” said Chef Michael. He spent eight years honing his skills in Trotter’s infamous kitchen, eventually working his way up to Chef de Cuisine and Executive Chef.
Michael Rotondo began his culinary journey cooking with family and friends, gaining a tremendous respect for the finest seasonal ingredients. He entered the professional cooking field at the age of fifteen, working at a local restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, eventually graduating from the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, Vermont. Michael then headed towards Palm Beach, Florida working at the Five-Star, Five Diamond Four Seasons Resort, experiencing a unique type of cuisine focusing on flavors from South Florida and Latin America. Passionate about Global Cuisine, Rotondo moved to Europe for two years and worked in multiple Michelin star restaurants, traveling abroad and tasting the bounties from different countries. From there, he moved back to the United States and began his tenure under the legendary chef Charlie Trotter. During that tenure in 2008, Michael Rotondo received the “Most Promising Chef” award from Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller after competing for the United States Bocuse d’Or, widely regarded as the epitome of culinary competitions worldwide.
Mitchell Nordby, Sous Chef
Before joining Parallel 37 as Sous Chef at the beginning of 2013, Mitchell Nordby, 28, spent the last ten years travelling the world and working at multiple Michelin starred restaurants such as Noma, Librije and ultimately, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.
Born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota, Nordby began his culinary journey the summer after graduating high school when he decided to travel to Alaska to do some hiking and fishing in Glacier National Park. As fate would have it, Nordby took a job as a cook at Glacier Bay Lodge in the town of Gustavis, Alaska, where his job entailed fishing, collecting oysters and catching live crabs and cooking them at the restaurant afterwards. After spending almost a year there, Nordby decided to go backpacking in New Zealand with some friends. Little did he know that he would end up finding his passion for food and wine there, and would eventually become a resident.
While in New Zealand, Nordby worked at the country’s premier luxury resort, Huka Lodge. It was here that he met his mentor, property manager Mark Wouters, who taught him the importance of wine, horticulture and the many important aspects of hospitality that are necessary to each guest’s individual experience. It was Wouters who taught Nordby what is required at the highest level of service and the importance of setting high standards and goals for oneself. After a year he was named Junior Sous Chef, and three years later Nordby once again set out to travel the world, working in impressive restaurants including Attica in Austrailia, Noma in Denmark and De Liberje in the Netherlands. During this time, Nordby’s philosophy on food shifted. He began to see every ingredient as a whole, with a unique flavor profile and an important role to play in each dish. He learned that every ingredient has a story, and to this day he strives to tell this story cohesively and creatively in every dish he creates. When Nordby headed back to the United States three years later, he found himself in Chef Charlie Trotter’s eponymous kitchen in Chicago where he worked alongside Trotter’s Executive Chef, Michael Rotondo. For two years, Nordby and Rotondo worked side by side, successfully maintaining two Michelin stars and building a strong culinary relationship that, in turn, has become the foundation inside the kitchen at Parallel 37.
When Chef Rotondo called Mitchell and invited him to San Francisco to be his Sous Chef, he was thrilled. He says that living and working in a diverse city like San Francisco brings him back to his time in New Zealand, and already feels like home. He is excited to be once again working alongside Chef Rotondo whose consistency, finesse with ingredients and hard work ethic make for a very creative, fun and interactive dining experience that he feels is unmatched in the United States.
Beyond the kitchen, Mitchell enjoys being outside camping, hiking and fishing. He looks forward to learning more about California wines and exploring the Bay Area beyond San Francisco.
Camber Lay Creates Mixology Program for Parallel 37
Camber Lay is one of San Francisco’s most prolific cocktail consultants. Lay has over a decade of experience creating cocktails and has served as a bartender at some of the city’s most well-known and renowned restaurants. Camber Lay will lead the mixology program for Parallel 37 in bringing the kitchen to the cocktail. “I want to bring contrasts to my cocktails, bitter to dry, sweet to spicy,” Camber said.
Camber creates her handcrafted cocktails with the freshest seasonal ingredients, fruits, herbs, vegetables, spices and specialty ices. Local and artisanal spirits will be core to her new, innovative mixology program designed for Parallel 37. She envisions a cocktail menu with a combination of classic and unique cocktails to pair with the bar and dining menu. Sharing and pairing of cocktails with the bar menu will set the scene in the lounge at Parallel 37.
Most recently, prior to leading Parallel 37’s mixology program, Camber served as Mixologist for Town Hall in San Francisco. Her career has spanned some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area including EPIC Roasthouse, Frisson and Range. In 2008, she was recognized by The San Francisco Chronicle as one of their Bar Stars as an innovative up-and-comer in the industry.
In 2004, Lay served as part of the opening team at the ground-breaking San Francisco restaurant Frisson. The bar program at Frisson was influential in inspiring the present cocktail movement throughout the city.
Born and raised in Colorado, Lay spent her college years at Fort Lewis College in Durango, studying design before moving to Breckenridge, Colorado to pursue snowboarding full time. This is where she began working in the back of the house as garde manger and with pastry, building her love for the restaurant world.
Lay was first introduced to the bartending scene in 1999 when she left behind her snowboarding life in Colorado to move to San Francisco. During her first job at Zero Degrees, where she worked at the pastry station, she began experimenting behind the bar at the adjacent MC2. Her experience at MC2 led her to Frisson, where her career really took off.