“My mom made wedding cakes,” said Glessner of her Kauai upbringing. “Although it was completely a ‘sideline gig,’ I always enjoyed watching the process. Also, everyone in my family can cook, so it has been a presence in my life from the very beginning. My mom likes to joke that once when I was a kid, I asked to make something – so she told me I could whip up some brownies. After she ate one, she says from then on she knew I was on to something.”
After spending her youth on the destination isle, Glessner attended boarding school in Pebble Beach. Following high school, she continued to the University of Arizona to study nutrition – a path that led her to the kitchen. Upon graduation from culinary school in San Francisco, she had to complete an externship, in which she took on duties at Pacifica del Mar.
Her introduction to cooking was similarly an adrenaline rush, albeit with a little confusion.
“I thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’” said Glessner. “I knew pretty early on that I didn’t want to work solely on the line.”
At her first kitchen gig (more than 10 years ago), one of the first things that she realized was that she was the only female chef that wasn’t on a pastry station. While this may have seemed commonplace in most restaurants at the time, it was not. She wanted to move up the ranks, and develop her menus without the distraction of ticket times.
Glessner then took a job at Roy’s in the Gaslamp District. Like all chefs looking to move up in the world, she had to bite the bullet and jump in on the line. In less than a year and a half, however, she was promoted to sous chef.
“During my youth, I was always involved in athletics, so I am highly competitive,” said Glessner. “The early kitchen crews I worked with taught me very early that ‘In order to get to the top, you have to be the best,’ so I decided to be the best.”
This drive and determination paid off, for she was provided the opportunity to function as an executive partner at Roy’s – a position she held for more than 7 years.
After applying to her current position at Herringbone, she has indefinitely proved to be the perfect fit for founder Brian Malarkey’s seasonally-evolving menu.
“I try to change the menu seasonally,” said Glessner. “Luckily, we are able to change our produce in our sides at least four to six times per year. Also, we are trying to change up the brunch, lunch and dinner menus as much as possible. Every six to eight weeks, we are definitely trying to keep things new and interesting.”
In keeping with that tradition, Glessner said that Herringbone hosted National Oyster Day on Aug. 5, of which they anticipated such a large crowd, that they brought in 4,000 oysters.
“I wasn’t here for the last oyster day, but I heard it was crazy busy,” said Glessner.
Also, they will be hosting a wine dinner on Aug. 15, which intimately pairs unique dishes with some of the finest wineries available.
While she spends plenty of time in Herringbone’s kitchen, the chef is proud to call Ocean Beach home.
“I’m a beach bum – I’ve been in Ocean Beach for my entire existence here,” said Glessner. “It’s just me, my fiance Eric and my dog, Duke.”