— The farmhand team —
General Manager and Wine Director
Erin Cochran-Bruce and John Hall
Farmhand is a collaboration of longtime friends, John Hall and Erin Cochran-Bruce. They met at New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, and have been cooking for a collective 40 years. After graduating, Erin moved to New York and worked in a few crazy kitchens before moving to California to work in a few crazy kitchens. John moved to his home state of Arizona and opened his own restaurant in the wine growing community of Sonoita, then spent some time in Phoenix running a couple of restaurants for his friend Chris Bianco. They stayed in touch over the years, and after John moved to San Francisco in 2014, they decided to get back in the kitchen together.
In 2014, after deciding that her fire-escape tomato plants just weren’t going to cut it, Erin enrolled in an apprenticeship program at Green String Farm in Petaluma. There she learned from Bob Cannard, the long-time farmer of Chez Panisse, the art of ‘natural-process’ farming, a way of working with nature to not only grow fruits and vegetables, but to also grow the life within the soil. The next year she started her own farm in Sonoma, and grew produce for the kitchens of Octavia, Foreign Cinema, Atelier Crenn, to name a few. In late 2017, she and her wife put literal roots in Cotati, where she now grows food entirely for Farmhand Kitchen.
John lives in Oakland with his wife Keri. When not cooking for other people’s families he is busy baking at home and trying to keep up with his rascal toddler, Hugh. He scours the farmer’s markets four times a week, visiting farm partners and picking up items to round out Farmhand’s menus.
Together, Erin & John specialize in simple farm-to-table food, thoughtfully prepared with great ingredients, often from our own farm in Cotati.
The crazy kitchens Erin & John have worked at include: Heirloom Cafe, Foreign Cinema, Octavia, Bar Jules, Jane Bakery, Petit Crenn, Tom Douglas Group (Seattle), Canela (Sonoita, AZ), Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix), Craft (NYC), and The Kitchen (Sacramento).
Stephen has worked in restaurants since 2010. After studying philosophy for many years, Stephen moved to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy and got his start cooking in kitchens at both La Ciccia and Heirloom Café. While working in these restaurants, he fell in love with wine and made the transition to the front-of-house. Before joining the Farmhand team, Stephen was the wine director at Heirloom Café where he helped manage a 10,000 bottle wine program. He loves having the opportunity to work in a variety of settings and helping to create memorable experiences for Farmhand guests.