Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns are the co-chefs and couple behind the beloved San Francisco Mission District eatery Bar Tartine (they are in the process of taking full ownership over the restaurant and will rename it Crescent). They are fiercely loyal to using local produce and to making anything and everything by hand. Nick was born in Michigan but spent some of his childhood in New York, moved to Hungary for part of high school, went to culinary school, and then traveled extensively in Japan while learning to make hand-crafted ingredients.
Cortney grew up in Chicago, spending time in Nepal and India studying the Tibetan language and cultural anthropology. She worked for years cooking in restaurants, spending her free time learning the preservation techniques of past generations from old cookbooks, memoirs, and family histories. They both ended up in San Francisco, drawn by the talent of the chefs and farmers in the Bay Area.
Their cooking is a product of the foods they grew up eating with their families in the Midwest and that they have experienced during their travels abroad. In 2014, they published Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes (Chronicle Books) which won a James Beard Award for Cooking from a Professional Point of View.