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Chef Anya El Wattar


Executive Chef & Owner

A Russian-born émigré and a decades-long San Francisco resident, Anya believes that creatively imagined food can connect cultures. Receiving her formal training from the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is successfully changing the perceptions around her native cuisine. Conceived in the spirit of peace, Birch & Rye is the only Russian restaurant in America on the Michelin guide. Through it, Chef Anya has found a way to share elevated elements of her heritage while offering a nurturing refuge for all to experience. Recognized for her inclusive mission and bright fare, Anya was honored as Eater SF's Chef of the Year in 2022 and as a Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2023 by the James Beard Foundation. Exuding hope, she has also co-hosted high-profile fundraisers that raised more than $100k to benefit the World Central Kitchen’s efforts in and around Ukraine. Anya’s work at the restaurant is guided by the words of wisdom, “Love everyone, feed everyone.”