Who the Heck is Howie?
In 1981, recognizing an enormous vocational error, Howard Bulka left San Francisco State University with a Bachelors Degree in Economics and began cooking professionally. Since then, he’s worked as a cook, chef, restaurateur and consultant. His travels have taken him all over the world, working for restaurants, wineries, hotels and resorts, retail centers, gourmet product manufacturers, and into the kitchens of some of the world’s most celebrated chefs. He’s learned important lessons from them all and amassed a truly extraordinary body of restaurant industry knowledge, not to mention recipes, cookbooks, knives and scars. He’s done many things in the wacky world of restaurants, but the kitchen and the craft of cooking have always been his singular underlying passion.
For the years 2001 to 2008, Howard was the chef and proprietor of Marche, a highly acclaimed fine dining establishment in Menlo Park, consistently ranked among the best Bay Area restaurants. Howard left Marche last year to devote his attentions to the development of Howie's Artisan Pizza.
Prior to building Marche, Howard spent a decade working as a consultant to the restaurant industry - mostly in the areas of concept development, business planning and kitchen operations. As the opening Executive Chef of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco, he was the driving force behind Silks, which gained recognition as one of the city’s finest restaurants. Before that, he rose through the ranks in some of California’s most celebrated restaurants, including La Toque, Square One, Narsai’s, Chez Panise, and “a bunch of fancy hotels and a whole lot more.”
The experience he most values is the year (1986) that he and his wife spent in France – working and traveling their way through the country. It was here that Howard had the opportunity to work with two great talents, Paul Bocuse and the late Alain Chapel. France changed his professional and personal life in “the most profound and marvelous ways.”
Today, Howard lives on the Peninsula with his “incredible” wife and son. “When I’m not cooking, writing, or gathered around the table with friends, I like to read, tend to my garden, work with wood and, of course, hang out with my family.”
A Great Pizza Comes to Palo Alto! (December 2009)
In the News
Melinda Sacks, Mercury News Quick Bite: Howie's Artisan Pizza in Palo Alto
Gutenberg, Daily Feed
Peninsulaeatz: Artisan Pizza is not an oxymoron
Beyond the Plate. Real food. Real stories.
Dawn Thomas, Silicon Valley and Beyond.
Carey Jones, Daily Slice: Howie's Artisan Pizza, Palo Alto, California
Sunset Magazine: Where to find the best pizza in the San Francisco Bay Area
Cooking with the Single Guy, Benjamin Seto: Howie's Artisan Pizza
Sunset Magazine Travel Guide: Best of San Francisco Area
SanJose.com Chef Howard Bulka Studies the fine art of a perfect slice in Palo Alto
Chrissa Ventrelle, Bay Area News Group: Artisanal pizza makers carry more than a little obsession Like an artisan bread baker, Bulka is part scientist, part artist …
Linda Zavoral, Mercury News: A la Carte: Howie's Artisan Pizza in Palo Alto
Food Gal, Carolyn Jung: Howie’s Artisan Pizza Delivers on the Crust
Keckler, Grub Report: 'Burb Burps: Howie's Artisan Pizza
Food Gal, Carolyn Jung: Howard Bulka’s Pizza Joint
Food Gal, Carolyn Jung: Five with Howard Bulka, A Chef Possessed By Pizza