Executive Chef & Partner Lewis Rossman, an award-winning culinary star, has extensive experience at top Bay Area dining spots. Rossman is a Partner in the Shenkman Hospitality Group, which includes Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay and Palo Alto, Sam’s ChowderMobile trucks, and Italian restaurant Osteria Coppa in San Mateo. Working with food is an art form for Rossman, and he is intensely passionate about creating exceptional menus.
Rossman grew up in rural Buck's County, a charming area outside of Philadelphia filled with farmlands, wineries, and local artisans, reminiscent of California's Napa Valley. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy and working at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel, he traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean. His visits to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel helped to shape his appreciation for simple, rustic cooking and fresh seafood, and inspired his keen enthusiasm for incorporating local farmer's produce into his menus.
Rossman then worked at Tuscany-inspired Acquerello, rated one of Wine Spectator's 10 best Italian restaurants in America. As chef de cuisine, he worked closely with award-winning chef Suzette Gresham, involved in all aspects of the restaurants cuisine and operations. Rossman also worked at Mediterranean style Kokkari in San Francisco. In 2001 Rossman joined Cetrella Bistro and Café in Half Moon Bay as Executive Sous Chef and opening team member. Instrumental in defining the award-winning cuisine, training and managing the staff, and delivering monthly Wine Lover's Dinners, he became Executive Chef three years later. He stayed in this position until 2006, earning a spot on the acclaimed SF Chronicle’s “Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants” list three years in a row.
In 2007, Rossman joined Sam’s Chowder House as Executive Chef/Partner. For inspiration, Rossman looks to his childhood memories spent on the eastern seaboard and the great meals he enjoyed at the laid-back fish houses on the Atlantic. He has established long-lasting relationships with a number of specialty farmers around Half Moon Bay, and says "It’s so personally inspiring when farmers bring me an incredibly fresh product that's unique to their farm." Today his mantra remains sustainable, fresh, local when possible and always seasonal. The ingredients are the foundation of every dish, and produce in the fields of Half Moon Bay in the morning often finds its way onto the salad plate at Sam’s by evening. This passion for fine, fresh ingredients is evident from the house-made dressings, and sauces, to Sam’s house-made desserts.
At Sam’s Chowder House, Rossman participates in the overall management and directs all back-of-the-house operations, including the development, creation and execution of the menus. Rossman is a partner and thought leader in all of the Shenkman Hospitality Group restaurant ventures, with overall responsibility for all food operations.
Rossman resides in San Francisco with his wife and two children. When not at Sam’s, he loves spending time with his family, the outdoors, surfing, hiking, skiing, traveling and dining out.
About Sam's Chowder House
Sam's Chowder House in Palo Alto offers a casual and authentic seafoodexperience reminiscent of a New England style seafood house. Sam's eco-friendly menu prepared by award-winningExecutive Chef Robert Holt offers Sam's signature items such as Clam Chowder, Sam's Famous Lobster Rolls, Fish and Chips, a selection of fresh daily fish, live Maine lobster, fresh local crab, Oyster Bar items, delicious seasonal sides and salads, and more. In addition, Executive Chef Holt has created many other tasty specialties.
From the seafood and meats, to the produce and artisanal cheeses, Chef Holt uses ingredients that are fresh, local when possible and always seasonal. His passion for fine, fresh ingredients shows in each dish, from house-made dressings and sauces to house-made desserts.
Committed to the environment, Sam's serves sustainably-fished seafood, and meats that are free of hormones and other additives. We use cooking oil that is cholesterol and trans-fat free, so that it can be recycled, and our to-go packaging is 100% biodegradable and compostable.