Boca Steak and Seafood, Novato CA
taped at Aqua, San Francisco
From the day he opened Aqua with Michael Mina, chef George Morrone garnered applause. Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle weighed in with four stars; the city´s mayor chose the restaurant for his wedding reception. Aqua, which was devoted to seafood, had arrived.
Morrone himself arrived from his native New Jersey by way of New York. He did a youthful apprenticeship at a neighborhood bakery before moving on to the Culinary Institute of America, and from there to Charlie Palmer´s River Cafe.
After three years gazing at New York´s skyline from the shores of the East River, Morrone attracted the attention of Bradley Ogden at San Francisco´s Campton Place Hotel. There, Morrone´s classical training from the CIA was a good match with Odgen´s innovative, regional American style.
All of age twenty-six, on the strength of his work at Campton Place, Morrone was tapped to serve as executive chef at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. Paul Zuest, the demanding general manager, had hired and fired three top chefs before finding the right match in Morrone.
At the end of five years at the Bel-Air, Morrone followed his heart back to San Francisco to open Aqua, and the restaurant did swimmingly. When Morrone chose to leave Aqua, he worked at Ogden´s One Market, and then at The Fifth Floor at the Hotel Palomar. Next he was the chef for Tartare in San Francisco, now closed and missed. Recently he has opened a steakhouse, Boca, in Novato, up in Marin County north across the Golden Gate.