Bruce Kalman’s Northern Italian cooking style embraces the diverse and abundant produce of California to create exquisitely balanced flavor profiles meant to warm the soul. He was the chef and co-owner of UNION in Pasadena, CA and is currently the chef and co-owner of Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in L.A.’s Grand central Market. His commitment to indigenous ingredients goes beyond the farmers’ market to build strong connections with local providers, keeping the operations’ carbon footprint low, supporting the local economy, and connecting diners to high quality vegetables, meats, and cheeses straight from the source. He is known for his passion for whole animal butchery and using 100% of the animal. He also is the founder of BK Brinery, an artisanal pickle company, providing restaurants with various pickled vegetables on the wholesale level, with retail packs available in the near future.
The mindful chef’s culinary career began in his hometown of Paramus, NJ. “I started cooking at 13 in a local family-owned pizzeria, and I never looked back,” he says. “I really enjoy it—beyond the food, it’s about the energy of the kitchen, the camaraderie, the teamwork, it’s awesome. Every day is a challenge.” He solidified his skills through a hands-on culinary program at Jersey City’s Hudson Community College, and, after rising through the ranks of local kitchens, moved to Chicago to serve as executive chef for restaurants including Okno, Green Dolphin, and Coco Pazzo. Kalman landed in Los Angeles in 2011 to help launch Santa Monica’s Misfit, and later joined West Hollywood’s The Churchill, at which he excelled in producing house made charcuteries, pastas, and desserts.
Throughout his career, Kalman has gained recognition from James Beard, with a nomination for “Rising Star Chef,” and has appeared on the Food Network to earn a “Chopped” championship title, Beat Bobby Flay in which he was victorious, as well as on Esquire Network to win “Knife Fight.” Bruce was also a cheftestant on Top Chef, season 15 filmed in Colorado. Bruce has joined forces with fellow Top Chef contestant, Tyler Anderson, conceptualizing SQUARE PEG pizzeria, opening mid 2019 in the Hartford, CT area, with more locations to follow.