Bill Fujimoto is the unsung hero of the food revolution and a candidate for one of The Nicest People in the World. I remember sorting through cases of gorgeous produce at his shop, Monterey Market in Berkeley, which was a chef’s dream. Most chefs have to rely on their produce delivery, and what comes in can be less-than-optimal. But Bill opened up his walk-ins for everyone: I’ve even seen customers poking around back there along with chefs in search of the most extra-special fruit and vegetables.
Bill would often tell me to put something back that I’d selected, then emerge from the back of his truck with a big grin, hefting a few flats of something magical, like the sweetest rosy nectarines I’d ever tasted, or pears picked at their peak of ripeness with a rose-like aroma and a texture so meltingly-sweet, I resisted doing anything to them but encouraging customers to dive right in and dig out their sticky-sweet nectar-like flesh with a spoon.