11 Questions with Charles Bililies — Souvla

Souvla is a modern, casual Greek restaurant in San Francisco, CA

1. What’s your best way to recharge?

A bottle of wine, couch. Or riding bikes. I grew up racing mountain bikes. That or just a good home-cooked meal. My girlfriend Jen is a phenomenal cook.

2. Kitchen tool you can’t live without?

Wine key.

3. Best advice you learned from Thomas Keller?

It’s two parts. The best piece is basically to think of any restaurant you work in as if you owned it, for every decision, as if it was your business. Second, I think the overarching thing is I learned to think like him, because I always had to be one step ahead of him. So you learn what he is going to look for, you know what he’s going to say. He’s incredibly detailed oriented, so you have to be even more detail oriented.

What does it mean to think like Thomas Keller?
You notice everything.

4. Favorite album right now?

I’ve been really digging St. Paul and the Broken Bones — we have it on vinyl at home. It’s got this old school, funk, soul thing going on.

5. What do you think is the most under-appreciated Greek food?

Taramasalata. It’s greatly appreciated by Greeks, but not by non-Greeks. It’s a spread made with carp roe and white bread.

6. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I would really like to go back to the Island of Crete and hang out for awhile.

7. If you weren’t making Greek food, what would you be cooking?

I still think I’d be doing something sandwich related. I have a deep love for sandwiches. It’s really the perfect food.

8. Favorite 3 restaurants if you’re not eating at yours.

Bar Tartine.
Zuni.
House of Prime Rib.

9. Restaurant dish you’d want to recreate?

I’d like to do anything Nick and Cortney can do at Bar Tartine.

10. What food are you embarrassed to admit you love?

I love that fake Japanese Wakame seaweed salad. I don’t really want to know what it’s made from or with.

11. Name one of your Top 10 meals.

Jen and I met over a blind date at Benu. Nineteen courses with a blind date and now we’ve been together for three years.


Want to make these dishes from Souvla at home? Check out Forage, where we help you recreate restaurant dishes at home in 20 minutes, with all the ingredients you need to cook like a restaurant chef.

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