Growing up, Duncan Holmes had no aspirations toward chefdom; rather, he was attracted to the big paycheck and fancy lifestyle that came along with an investment banker-type career. It wasn't until he was deep in studies at Chico State College, working on a degree in economics, that Holmes discovered cooking and the restaurant world. Rather then take the finance internship his program required, Holmes found himself as a line cook at Berkeley restaurant Eccolo, where he learned the basics and developed a strong love for the industry.
Holmes returned to college and finished his degree but was dedicated to a cooking career. After graduation, he moved to Napa, to work at La Toque and then Auberge Du Soleil. Wanting to expand his culinary vision, Holmes spent time staging in Denmark, working in the kitchens of A.O.C., Geranium, and Mathias Dahlgren, Stockholm.
Back in the United States, Holmes knew he wanted to be in the Bay Area and began staging at kitchens across the region. He worked at Saison and took a line cook position at Sons & Daughters with the plan to move to Manresa when a position opened up. But as Holmes began to take on more creative responsibility at Sons & Daughters, and create relationships with the staff and owners, he decided the downtown restaurant was the right place for him. The decision paid off. Over the past two and a half years, Holmes has worked his way up to chef de cuisine, and helped the restaurant earn its Michelin-starred status.