At The Commissary in the Presidio of San Francisco, General Manager Tessa Vitale’s talents include more than hospitality: She is also a budding ceramicist.
After enrolling in a ceramics class at San Francisco’s Fort Mason, Tessa learned to throw dishes on a pottery wheel and then dry, trim, glaze, and fire them in a kiln. Now more than a dozen of her one-of-a-kind pieces grace The Commissary’s tables.
While some of the smaller bowls are used in the kitchen as salt cellars or as vessels for finishing sauces, many of her larger dishes are used for plating menu items, including the tuna ceviche and seasonal sorbets. “When I complete a piece, I think a dish looks fine, but when the chefs plate beautiful food on them, suddenly I’m amazed by how much prettier they look,” says Tessa.
Judging from the oohs and aahs that often accompany the arrival of the plates to a table, guests at The Commissary agree.