Chef David Stockhausen learned his best lessons about food in both the garden of his grandfather and the kitchen of his grandmother. Countless days planting, weeding, and harvesting veggies in Joe “Bud” Stockhausen’s (RIP 2006) urban victory garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the early 1980’s carved out David’s appreciation for the soul and determination behind quality food. There lay the foundation of his understanding that one’s yield is only as good as one’s work and persistent attention.
Less than 100 feet away from pap-pap’s garden was the kitchen of Mary “Muttsy” Stockhausen (RIP 2012) where David first learned to cut his culinary teeth with dishes like traditional German “cushy” soup, Croatian dill bread, and fresh fried smelt. Under the tutelage of Muttsy, David observed the careful art of cultivating flavor and the joyful honor behind serving a happy guest.
Inspired by his upbringing, David’s path never veered far from the garden or the kitchen. After helping pay his way through University of Vermont working in delis, bars and coffeehouses, David found his way back to the farm working seasonally as a farm hand on organic vegetable farms, berry farms and egg farms throughout Vermont. All the while, when the snowflakes fell David was back in the kitchen helping create memorable meals.
In 2006, a thirst for bigger stakes moved him to San Francisco. After urban farm jobs and internships (including a stint helping Novella Carpenter with her backyard squat) proved incapable of covering San Francisco rent, David landed a management job at the popular Mission District brunch dive, Boogaloos. While managing Boogaloos he came up with the idea for Amyitis Gardens, a garden-to-table edible landscape operation. He installed veggiescapes and sold the produce back to Boogaloos and its sister restaurants, while making local headlines and turning a few heads in the process. Working part time as a personal chef, David got to further showcase his produce and dig a little deeper in the local food scene.
The relative success of his garden business drew David back down the primrose path to agriculture. In 2010 he left the restaurant and his business to study sustainable practice and Permaculture in Australia where he later worked teaching and managing the renowned Permaculture Research Institute of Australia with Geoff Lawton. After a year abroad David returned to the Bay Area to teach at the newly developed Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco and most recently at Santa Cruz’s own Homeless Garden Project.
Now off the farm and back to the table, David is passionately breaking ground with The Yam & Bean–offering the best of all he’s learned from the furrows of the farm and the flames of the kitchen. He’s kicked it all off with a pop-up restaurant at the newly famed Companion Bakeshop, serving fresh fish tacos featuring locally caught H&H fish and local organic produce. As a seasoned farmer, chef and educator, David is prepared to make your meal represent the bounty of our rich agrarian coast and the heart and soul of Muttsy and Bud.