Chefs to Watch 2017: Kim Alter, Nightbird, San Francisco

Kate Leahy

Someone was burning sage in Nightbird’s dining room. It was August 2016—opening night—and the first guests were about to arrive at Kim Alter’s long-awaited San Francisco restaurant. The burning sage was there to clear the air of the construction delays and general frustration that came with getting the 1,400-square-foot space ready for business.

After the ritual, Alter gathered everyone in the dining...