Erik Lowe, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, began his culinary career by way of the Pacific Northwest. Ever since he was a boy, he and his family have visited relatives in Washington State where he learned to fish for Dungeness crab and taste water to table cooking for the first time. During high school, he worked at a few local restaurants in Salt Lake City before taking a position at the Porcupine Pub & Grill where his passion for cooking began to take hold. One blizzard-struck day, Lowe decided to skip class at the local community college and go skiing. En route, his car broke down. He proceeded to hitchhike his way to the slopes when chef Gary Pankow of the lauded Café Diablo serendipitously picked him up. What began as a casual conversation during the ride ended in a job offer. Lowe skipped town and moved to southern Utah where he spent the summer season cooking refined Southwestern food.
In 2001, Lowe enrolled at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Upon graduating in 2003 he took a job at Jeanty at Jack’s under the tutelage of chef Justin Deering. Lowe quickly ascended to sous chef, a post he held for two years. From there, he helped launch the now-closed Tartare restaurant and intermittently cooked at Piperade and Bocadillos. In 2006, Lowe joined Hiro Sone’s team at Ame as Greg Dunmore’s exectutive sous chef. Together, the team was awarded a Micheline star in 2008. In 2009, he landed the chef de cuisine job at BIX, a beloved San Francisco fine dining establishment. He helmed the kitchen for four years before helping chef-owner Bruce Hill and the Real Restaurants team re-open another San Francisco institution, Fog City.
It was during his time at BIX and Fog City that Lowe met his now business partner and pastry chef Aaron Toensing. Together, they began to joke about opening a restaurant, a fantasy that evolved from a burger spot to a traditional red sauce joint to Spaghetti Bros., a refined San Francisco eatery serving up innovative American standards.
At Maybeck's Lowe’s plan is to create comfortable American cuisine with an open minded approach. The food will be straight forward and seasonal with a hint of smoke from his new favorite toy, the Josper Grill.
Born in St. Croix Falls, a small Wisconsin town bordering the Mississippi River, Aaron Toensing launched his culinary career on a riverboat the summer after eighth grade. In a region where dining out was rare and restaurant options slim, the boat offered a glimpse into the exotic world of fine dining and entertainment. That summer, and every summer until high school graduation, Toensing returned to kitchens where he continued to gain skills in service etiquette, event catering, and cooking. Buoyed up by his cooking experiences on the riverboat, Toensing enrolled at University of Wisconsin-Stout to pursue a degree in hospitality and food service. Realizing mid-education that he wasn’t interested in hotel management or food service administration, 22-year-old Toensing left Stout to work as a line cook at a nearby Hilton Hotel where he soon found himself in the pastry department. From the beginning, he was drawn to the science of desserts. In pastry, he discovered that his aptitude for precision in the kitchen was well suited to the high degree of organization and meticulous methods needed to execute consistently superior desserts.
In 1996, Toensing enrolled in the pastry program at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Degree in hand, he signed on as pastry cook at Postrio in 1998, where he stayed for three years working under Janet Rikala. 2001 brought an offer to oversee the pastry program at Bix. The restaurant provided a platform for Toensing to explore, evolve, and refine his pastry prowess in addition to meeting now business partner Erik Lowe. Toensing and Lowe worked together for four years before helping chef-owner Bruce Hill and the Real Restaurants team re-open Fog City. Shortly thereafter, Toensing and Lowe decided to open their own spot, which was originally named Spaghetti Bros., in the Marina district.
At Maybeck's, Toensing’s dessert menu reflects his “simple is better” philosophy. His five to six rotating desserts include house-made gelato; his take on traditional tiramisu; seasonal fruit dishes such as apple pie with hatch green chiles and a cheddar-flecked crust; and grilled nectarines with brown butter. Toensing also oversees the pasta program at the restaurant. His pastas are made using an Italian brass extruder, the sound of the machine echoing the hum of a Mississippi River paddle wheeler.