By Jennifer Moulaison | Photo by Manny Espinoza
Todd Fisher is the culinary mastermind behind not one but a hearty handful of unique restaurant concepts peppered across the Monterey region. Currently, he partners with the prestigious farm and livestock brand Niman Ranch and supports and educates for the brand. He is also brand ambassador for the familyowned local produce brand Duda Farm Fresh Foods. Fisher’s passion was sparked early on, and he took a unique, hands-on approach to learning the ins and outs of cuisine. The result is a signature style.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Fisher’s parents divorced early on, and thus he and his older brother lived with their father in the city. Although Fisher describes his father as a great cook, he was often too busy to prepare home-cooked meals. “It sounds crazy, but I eventually became fatigued with eating out every night. By the time I was about 12, my father gave me a budget, and I went to the grocery store daily to purchase ingredients and prepare dinners for the three of us,” says Fisher. “I loved providing comforting meals for my family, and still get that same feeling of delight when I see customers light up when tasting my food.” By age 17, Fisher made his way down to the Central Coast, where he found his footing in his first restaurant with coursed meals. “I worked with two experienced kitchen veterans who mentored me—most importantly, they taught me how to have fun in the kitchen,” he says.
Stepping into the kitchens of several other restaurants along the Central Coast, Fisher craved hands-on experience. “I couldn’t justify paying someone to teach me to cook when I could get paid to learn in working kitchens,” he explains. His work at Tarpy’s Roadhouse garnered the attention of Folktale Winery, which scooped up Fisher. He went on to create dishes for the restaurant and tasting room in Carmel Valley. From there, new opportunities opened up, and Fisher now finds himself successfully spinning multiple plates, providing unique faire across the Monterey Peninsula.
Among his most recent endeavors is a shop at 7th and Dolores in Carmel-by-the-Sea that offers artisan meats. “It was a strategic pivot, to navigate circumstances surrounding the global pandemic,” he says. “Now, more than ever, it’s important that we are able to offer consumers the opportunity to work with premium meats in their own kitchens.”
Whether it’s premier steaks, high quality butcher meats, or modern fusion, Fisher is proud to maintain what he refers to as a “leave it better than you found it” credo that aligns with Niman Ranch’s commitment to ethical, consciously raised meats. “It’s a way of life for those people to do their best by their animals, which has turned into a way of life for me in what I offer on my menus,” he says. “The greatest gift is that I’m able to serve the environment and my customers while continuing to learn. It’s an ever-evolving experience to create an even wider patchwork of flavors and combinations.”