About

Brenda / Chef Proprietor

Chef Brenda grew up on the West bank of New Orleans, Louisiana in a little town called Harvey. As a girl she spent much of her time trapping crawfish in the canals behind her house, crabbing in nearby Lafitte, picking wild blackberries, gathering pecans and fishing on the local bayous and along the Gulf Coast on her family’s boat. Brenda was not only fortunate to have access to the rich abundance of local seafood and produce, but also the diverse styles of cuisine embodied by her Sicilian, French and Filipino ascendants, often enjoying the pleasures of a backyard crawfish boil one day, a big pot of gumbo the next, then feasting on pancit, lumpia and chicken adobo the next.

Upon graduating from Louisiana State University with a BFA in Painting and Drawing, Brenda decided to pursue her real creative passion and began cooking in the kitchens of New Orleans. Within a few years, she found a natural fit at Mike’s on the Avenue creating fusion cuisine and was quickly promoted to Chef de Cuisine.

In 1997, Brenda moved to San Francisco and at the age of 29 landed her first Executive Chef position at the notable fusion pioneer Oritalia. While there, she garnered much positive attention. Three stars in the SF Examiner, three stars in SF Magazine, and a listing among the Top Five Bold Newcomers in the New York Times are among her many accolades. She has twice been invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City.

Over the last 10 years in the Bay Area, Buenviaje has worked as Head Chef of Sumi in the Castro, Head Chef of Café Claude in downtown San Francisco, Consulting Chef of Snooze in Denver, Colorado and Executive Chef of DeLessio Market and Bakery.

In 2007, Brenda decided to open her own place serving her interpretation of “French Soul Food” in a casual atmosphere. From day one the response has been overwhelming!

In her spare time you can find Brenda with her lovely wife Libby and two children Max and Aurora, crabbing off of the Sausalito Pier, catching a Giants game, foraging for wild fruit to put into her next pancake special and dreaming up new ways to take over the world one beignet at a time…

(Photo: Orange Photography)

Libby / Proprietor

Libby is the co-owner of Brenda’s French Soul Food, and the proud wife of Brenda and mom to their daughter, Aurora. Born and raised in Iowa, Libby considered herself a meat and potatoes girl—until the day she met and fell for her amazing chef of a wife, who opened her eyes (and mouth) to some of the most dynamic, delicious, and sexy food in San Francisco.

In 2007, Brenda convinced Libby to leave her illustrious career as an academic and help her open a small, humble restaurant. One incredibly successful restaurant, wedding, and beautiful baby girl later, Libby considers herself to be one of the luckiest restaurateurs in San Francisco.

Luciano / Sous Chef

Luciano has been the sous chef at Brenda’s since 2008. His 13 years of experience, loyalty and dedication make him a valuable part of her team.

Luciano was born in Mexico in the state of the Yucatan. He comes from a large family with eight siblings. He grew up climbing mango trees, and eating delicious, traditional home cooked meals prepared by his Mayan mother. 

When he was 15, he moved to the United States, bringing with him a love of great food and cooking. He began in the pantry at the Old Clam House in San Francisco preparing salads and working the fryer. Within a few months, he moved to the main line continuing to gain experience, and within six months became the lead line cook preparing an assortment of seafood dishes.

His passion for food and the culinary arts led him to other restaurants around the Bay Area, including Baobab, Parkside and Winships. He also worked under renown chef, Edward Carew.

In his spare time, Luciano enjoys spending time with his wife and son, sports and gardening.

(Photo: Libby Truesdell)

Andrew / Manager

With over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Andrew Bloom has worked in and managed a number of well known fine dining and busy neighborhood establishments in San Francisco and Berkeley, including Rex Café, Zax, Zax Tavern, Foreign Cinema and Aperto. Andrew’s passion for food and wine has led him to educate himself in all aspects of the hospitality industry—from catering, to bar and wine, to underground dinner events, and even to Dijon, France for a semester abroad.

From his childhood in Denver, Colorado where food was the focal point of his multi-heritage family, Andrew took quickly to having his home be the center of entertaining—extending comfort to everyone who stepped through their door. Leading Brenda’s front of house staff, Andrew offers this experience to you.

(Photo: Myleen Hollero)