Craig Stoll is the co-owner of Locanda, Delfina, a nationally acclaimed Italian restaurant in San Francisco’s mission district and the Pizzerias. Craig has garnered a loyal following for preparing delicious, soulful Italian food with a commitment to local, seasonal ingredients. The flavors are focused and the preparations are simple. A New York native, Stoll has over 26 years experience in the restaurant industry.
Born into a food-obsessed family, Craig was exposed to a variety of restaurants, ingredients and cuisines early-on. In high school Stoll took after-school jobs as a busser, dishwasher and prep cook where he was smitten by the excitement of the restaurant world. Hooked by the sensual experience of cooking, the camaraderie in the kitchen and the instant gratification, cooking school was an obvious next choice.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Craig received a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management at Florida International University in Miami. In 1988, he headed West to work in San Francisco. For the next few years he gained experience at Campton Place under Bradley Ogden, Postrio, under David and Annie Gingrass, and Splendido, under Christopher Majer. The pivotal point of Stoll’s career came in 1992 when he was awarded a scholarship to attend the nascent ICIF cooking school in Torino, Italy. Daily cooking demonstrations by renowned Italian chefs and field trips to restaurants and artisan food producers exposed him to the best that Italy had to offer. His subsequent externship, working in the kitchen of Da Delfina, a one star Michelin ristorante in the heart of Tuscany changed his life and helped him to define his cooking style. Delfina is named in honor of this special place. After his return from Italy, Stoll ran the kitchens of various restaurants, including Tutto Bene, Timo’s and Palio d’Asti where he continued to develop his repertoire and to hone his skills. In 1997 he became chef at the Frog and the Peach in Mill Valley, CA. There he met Anne Spencer, manager of the Depot Café, across the street. Shortly thereafter they began dating, and then laying plans to open a place of their own. (They married in May, 2000) Ten years later, Delfina is busier than ever. Craig has embraced his role as “restaurateur”, thriving on the continuous challenges of running a flourishing business. He returns to Italy regularly. As “chef” he continues to hone his food, build his staff and develop his repertoire. And as “husband and father”, he continues to delight in the joys of what, for him, it’s really all about.