Personalities

The A-List

Srijith Gopinathan

Executive Chef Srijith Gopinathan of San Francisco’s Campton Place Restaurant has a lot to brag about these days. The signature restaurant at the Taj Campton Place in Union Square, one of San Francisco’s most iconic hotels, has been awarded two Michelin Stars—the only Indian-influenced restaurant in the United States and Europe to obtain such a designation. The award marks the restaurant’s 10th consecutive year as a Michelin-starred restaurant under the guidance of Chef Gopinathan, firmly instilling him among the culinary elite.

“We’re proud of our unique Cal-Indian cuisine,” notes Gopinathan, “and hope to continue delighting our guests with one-of-a-kind dining experiences rich in exploratory spices, refined techniques, and fresh ingredients.”

No doubt Gopinathan’s culinary talents are influenced by the exotic spices of Southern India that filled the kitchen of his childhood home. He watched (and tasted) as his grandmother magically turned spices, like ginger and turmeric, into flavorful family meals.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Gopinathan worked in the illustrious kitchen of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at the Michelin two-starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in England. He continued his career at various upscale hotels in India before taking the helm at Taj Exotica in the Maldives. Once part of the Taj family, the transition to San Francisco in 2008 was an easy one.

Throughout his journey from the perfumed kitchen of his childhood home, to culinary school, to leading restaurants around the world, Gopinathan always credits flavor and spice as the building blocks to his creative, Michelin-star-worthy cuisine.

— Jill Layman


Floriana Peterson

With an academic focus in interior design and art history, Floriana Peterson graduated from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and not long after she crossed the globe to San Francisco.

In a city teeming with opportunity, technophiles, and hipsters, Peterson’s creativity was fueled. She dove first into the industry of production design. In the most nonchalant tone, she recalls making corporate gifts for magazine companies, professional sporting teams, and influencers such as the Rolling Stones, the San Francisco 49ers, and Oprah Winfrey. But she found herself wanting to do something bigger in both size and community impact.

The restoration of a centuries-old home marked that very transition in her professional career—from product to interior design. Peterson’s style is characterized as a melting pot of vintage and contemporary pieces. In 2015 fellow designers and homeowners chose her bathroom design in Palo Alto to appear in “150 Best New Bathroom Ideas.” That same year, Peterson earned a Best of Houzz award.

Lately Peterson’s creativity has taken on yet another form, this time as an author. Her new book, 111 Places Not to Be Missed in Silicon Valley (second edition), is a fascinating guidebook that has “no mention of landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge,” notes Peterson. “Instead I wrote about unusual locations or tourist attractions with unknown background stories.” The book is beautifully illustrated with fabulous photos by Steve Werney and Peterson’s enlightening and humorous text.

We can’t wait to see what this talented woman will do next.

—Olivia Mason


Jeremy Yun

For this young A-Lister, a recent win at the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournament in Garden City, Kansas, is par for the course. In his first AJGA career victory, 16-year-old Jeremy Yun of Menlo Park recorded eight birdies in three rounds and won the sudden-death playoff to take the championship. Finishing at five under par over three rounds, Jeremy beat out a field of 93 boys from 17 states and six countries. Not bad for someone who swung his first club just six years ago!

“Jeremy is a late-comer to golf,” says his father, Joon Yun. “He and his younger brother (Eric, 13) fell in love with the game during a family vacation in Hawaii and have been playing ever since.” Since neither Joon nor his wife Kimberly play, Joon is thankful for the “village” of family friends who have indulged his son’s passion for the sport.

A junior at Menlo School in Atherton, Jeremy started playing on the high-school golf team as a freshman. “I’m fascinated with the game itself,” explains Jeremy when asked why he enjoys golf. “Just being outside, playing with different people, making birdies, the etiquette between players—it’s really a combination of factors.”

As an AJGA tournament winner, Jeremy joins the ranks of Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods, who won similar championships on the AJGA tour before turning pro. Before this win, playing golf in college wasn’t on Jeremy’s radar. “Given my experience this summer, I’d love to play on a college team,” he notes, “but academics still come first.”

—Jill Layman

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