Beauty and the Yeast

By Brandon Hernández
Photos by Kristina Blake

Most of them have only known each other since last October, but The Trencherman are already one of San Diego’s most buzzworthy food fraternities. Their mission: to expose the delicious symbiosis that happens when exceptional beer and cuisine collide.

It’s a passion project that was born, aptly enough, over a few brews. Toronado chef Nate Soroko was behind the bar when he overheard an exuberant Colin Murray (Brooklyn Girl) talking about food and beer. Murray’s excitement about both subjects left no question in Soroko’s mind: this guy was a chef.

Within moments of introducing himself to Murray, Soroko invited him to a dinner at the home of Soroko’s friend and fellow chef, Mark Bolton (Pacifica Del Mar), where two of Soroko’s other beer buds, Tyson Blake (O'Brien’s Pub) and Brandon Brooks (SOL Markets), were also converging. Five chefs, one guy in common-what could go wrong?

“It could have been a disaster,” says Soroko. “Any one of us could have been like, ‘these guys are assholes’, and we’d have gone our separate ways. But from the second we got there and started cooking, we got along perfectly.”

Just four months later, they’re like family and, under their official name, The Trencherman, the quintet has cooked up multiple dinners, blowing away the palates of brewing and dining industry insiders along the way. Now, they’re bringing their creative cuisine and pairings to the masses.

“It’s still a very fresh group, but with a recipe that includes five pretty cool ingredients-all of us-the sky’s the limit,” says Blake, who envisions The Trenchermen doing everything from personal beer dinners to catering for special beer-and-food events and providing brewing companies a way to show off their wares in the best possible light.

Yet, even as they grow, Soroko echoes the group’s desire to keep things intimate. “We want to stay true to our original format: events in peoples’ homes for less than 20 people.” To a Trencherman, all agree this is key to reaching people and showing them how incredible fine beer and food can be together.

Count Murray as a convert. “I was trained with wine, but beer is the perfect medium for showcasing food,” he says. “Everybody knows beer and pizza, but it’s fun to have good beer in elaborate culinary situations. And hopefully this opens eyes to beer’s versatility.”

No matter their eventual reach, The Trenchermen already regard their efforts as successful. “Everyone’s grown from this experience,” say Brooks. “Chefs don’t usually get to see each other cook, but working together like this, we get to watch each other, communicate with one another and learn from each other’s ideas and techniques.”

To get in on this beery bromance, check them out on Facebook (TrenchermanFC). In the meantime, feel free to salivate over these downright pornographic shots of their early dishes.