San Fran's Dirty Habit Names New Executive Chef and Bar Manager
Dirty Habit, San Francisco’s alluring bar and restaurant known for one of the City’s largest selections of small-batch whiskey and its rare outdoor patio, announced Thomas Weibull as Executive Chef and Raul Ayala as Bar Manager. The duo will introduce revived menus at the edgy destination, featuring new interpretations of Dirty Habit’s signature inventive small plates and brown spirit cocktails.
Weibull brings nearly two decades of culinary experience to his role, earned at upscale hotels and fine dining establishments throughout California and beyond. Most recently, he was Executive Chef at Clift Hotel in San Francisco for the past four years, developing and overseeing all menus for the 370-room boutique property and iconic Redwood Room bar. Prior, Weibull was Executive Chef at Sea Salt in Berkeley, Executive Sous Chef at the acclaimed Rubicon in San Francisco’s Financial District, and Executive Chef at San Francisco’s Plouf, where he earned three-star reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle and recognition as a Top 100 restaurant. Originally from Philadelphia, Weibull received classic French culinary training from the Kristinaberg Hotel & Restaurant School in Stockholm, Sweden.
“At Dirty Habit, there’s something new to discover around every corner, with every bite,” says Sietse Nabben, general manager of Hotel Zelos San Francisco. “Chef elevates this entire dining and drinking experience to create memorable, tailored and delicious moments for guests. He’s a uniquely creative talent with great character and we couldn’t be happier to have him at the helm of our kitchen.”
Nabben says, “We are equally fortunate to have a young, up-and-coming talent like Raul Ayala as Bar Manager. Ayala has been with Dirty Habit since its inception—his cocktail creations are inventive yet composed, oftentimes utilizing the Bay Area’s bevy of fresh produce and seasonal ingredients. Dirty Habit’s pulsing ambiance and social bar scene create a perfect setting for his energy and vision.”
Ayala was hired as a bar back at Dirty Habit upon opening in 2014. What started as a personal passion for creating innovative cocktails, evolved into a career as he continued to work his way up the ranks and gain inspiration from mentors including Brian Means, now Corporate Lead Bartender & Mixologist Director for Mina Group, and Sarah Ruiz, Bar Manager of Dirty Habit DC. Ayala has developed a distinct style of bartending and implements seasonal, original craft libations with careful attention to detail. Ayala was born and raised in the small town of Tanhuato Michoacán, Mexico, and moved to the United States when he was 13 with a desire for a better future.
In their new roles, Weibull oversees all culinary aspects of Dirty Habit, including kitchen operations, curating rotating menus, VIP parties and all catering events. He describes his cuisine as California-inspired modern American, drawing influences from around the world, notably northern Europe and Asia. Ayala manages Dirty Habit’s craft cocktail and libations menu, rare whiskey selection, bar culture, and execution of the entire cocktail program. Weibull’s and Ayala’s new menus will debut in early 2017.
Perched five floors above the streets of San Francisco's bustling SOMA neighborhood, Dirty Habit is a dramatic and scintillating restaurant and bar set within Viceroy Hotel Group’s distinctive Hotel Zelos. The backstage-like environment and spacious heated outdoor patio lures locals and visitors alike, creating the ultimate nighttime gathering place.