Master the Summer: Keep Priorities in Check
Chef and restaurateur Erik Sun is staying true to his ethos.
Summer is high season for the high performer. It's when work, travel, and personal passions collide. But figuring out how to fit it all in isn't always easy. To inspire you, Furthermore is spotlighting five dynamic achievers whose lives marry style, sustainability, and fitness. They're putting all their energy into conquering the season. Here's how.
With two restaurants scheduled to open in his home city, his first child on the way, and a start-up gaining momentum, Erik Sun is anticipating a season full of action. A getaway to Mexico will round out his summer plans.
Formerly working at Bestia in Los Angeles, Sun became known for his sustainability-first approach to cooking. Now based in San Francisco, the chef and restaurateur runs eco-friendly kitchens by keeping short, specialized menus and using as much of each ingredient as possible. Both strategies keep his food waste to a minimum. His two restaurants, The Hunted - Yakiniku (an Asian barbecue joint) and The Hunted - Noodle Shop, will open by the end of the season.
To minimize waste, keep a running inventory of what's in your fridge and label everything so you know when it expires.
Sun is also working on the final logistics for his pet project, Pursuit Farms, a home-delivery line of high-quality dry-aged meats that will launch in late June. Although he normally cooks for diners in his restaurants, he's excited to bring food straight to people's homes, too. Each of his food ventures is unique, but sustainable practices are a common denominator in all three.
Being a chef takes more than food knowledge; it also demands endurance. "We're on our feet a lot," says Sun, an experienced hunter and spear-fisher, who relies on Allbirds Wool Runners to keep his feet comfortable from morning to night. “We’re picking stuff up, carrying things, and you don’t want to slip and get hurt.”
In the summer, I like to grill habanero peppers; blend them with olive oil, lemon juice, and onion; and throw them into my salsas for extra depth of flavor.
To prepare for the long hours, he's working with a trainer and going to the gym a few days a week. The focus is building functional strength; his hunter-chef routine, as he calls it, is made up of movements that easily translate into everyday life. "My workouts are part cardio, part endurance, and part practical movements like deadlifts and farmer's carries," he says.
Since he'll constantly be on the go this summer, it's important that Sun fuel (and dress) properly. "Before and during a shift in the kitchen, I try to eat balanced meals with a good amount of protein," he says. Breathable, lightweight shirts keep him cool in the heat.
Diving helps me focus on being present. I don't worry about life when I'm in that totally different world.
But there's also an immersive, refreshing way he's going to beat the heat this season: diving. "It helps me focus on being present," says Sun, who loves exploring the Mendocino and Sonoma coasts north of San Francisco. "I don't worry about life when I'm in that totally different world."
Amidst all the chaos that the next few months will bring, he'll balance his hectic work schedule with a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to dive up and down the Baja Peninsula. For him, no vacation is complete without a food-related objective: "Eating tacos in Mexico—that's a personal goal for the summer," he says. Yes, even seasoned chefs like him get out of the kitchen from time to time.