Chef Peter Cham

Paul Wellman

Chef Peter Cham

Chef’s Corner: Peter Cham

Serving Up California Classics and Culinary Pop-Ups at Finch & Fork

Tenure: As the Canary Hotel restaurant’s executive sous chef since 2016, Peter Cham combines farm-driven California cuisine with creativity, inspiring his menus seasonally with an electric array of new culinary pop-ups around town.

Résumé: An artist and chef, Cham is a culinary grad of City College of San Francisco, having staged at such notable restaurants as Coi, Quince, and Fifth Floor in San Francisco. A Santa Barbara native, he returned in 2015 as the chef de cuisine at Hungry Cat.

Dishes he digs: Inspired by the weekly markets, Finch & Fork’s menu changes seasonally. This winter, try the roasted heirloom carrots with a vadouvan spice, topped with honey, crispy shallots, and a mint yogurt.

“I love Santa Barbara and its farmers’ markets,” said Cham. “I recognize the same farmers weekly; it’s nice to build those relationships into our menus.”

One of Cham’s favorite specials is Thursday’s Pork & Cork. Billed as “Pork. Done 52 Ways,” this rotating night offers a main pork dish alongside a glass of wine. From Cuban to Italian to Cambodian, anything goes. “This night is always incredibly fun for us,” said Cham. “We love to push ourselves to do something different, to venture outside the box and experiment.”

Eat ramen to support Chefs Cycle: Cham will be joining his Finch & Fork colleague Chef James Siao and dozens of other California kitchen stars in this year’s Chefs Cycle, a three-day, 300-mile ride to benefit No Kid Hungry.

To raise money for the ride, Cham will be hosting a Ramen Pop-Up on Saturday, February 25, at Telegraph Brewing Co. and again on Saturday, March 4, at M.Special Brewing Co. in Goleta. The winner of the 2016 Ramenfest at The Goodland Hotel, Cham loves the fatty goodness of his tonkotsu ramen. Paired with braised or smoked pork belly and a marinated egg, the toppings can change but the rich broth remains. So slurp away for a good cause.

Cham is also hosting his own benefit for the Chef’s Cycle: Chamily Meal, a seven-course pop-up dinner at Sama Sama Kitchen on Tuesday, March 21. For more information, visit

31 West Carrillo Street, (805) 879-9100,

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