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With her spiky platinum hair and unstoppable creativity, Elizabeth Falkner has become one of the most recognizable faces of the Bay Area culinary world on Bravo, Food Network and beyond. She has been a frequent contestant, judge, and guest on Top Chef Masters, Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Sugar Rush, Tyler’s Ultimate with Tyler Florence, Rachael Ray’s $40 a Day, Martha Stewart Living, and more.
Falkner is the owner and Chef of two Michelin recommended restaurants in San Francisco. Citizen Cake patisserie, restaurant and bar in Pacific Heights, along with the popular SOMA restaurant bar and lounge Orson. Once known as the go-to for all things pastry, Elizabeth’s expertise is now widely acknowledged to have bridged the gap between sweet and savory.
Citizen Cake, Falkner’s first restaurant, began as a retail bakery South of Market in 1997. After three busy years, Falkner moved Citizen Cake to Hayes Valley and expanded it into an elegant restaurant, bar, and patisserie. Citizen Cake helped spearhead the development of Hayes Valley into a citywide destination for fine dining, shopping, and socializing. In June of 2010 Citizen Cake moved both it’s patisserie and restaurant to it’s new location at 2125 Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights. Citizen Cake has been awarded recommendation by Michelin and has scooped up numerous commendations from both local and national media, including Best Dessert for several years from 7x7 magazine.
At Orson, her second restaurant, Falkner explores familiar and iconic dishes with personal flair. A longtime San Franciscan and native Californian, Falkner describes herself as a contemporary California chef utilizing all of the vibrant products that the Bay Area has to offer.
Before starting her own businesses, Falkner was an acclaimed pastry chef at Rubicon, working with chef Traci Des Jardins. Prior to Rubicon, she honed her craft in the kitchens of Masa’s and Elka.
Falkner’s dramatically architectural “cakescapes” and whimsically deconstructed desserts have been featured in dozens of magazines, including Pastry Art and Design, Conde Nast Traveler, Gourmet, Food and Wine, Travel and Leisure and Epica, Japan’s travel magazine. Demolition Desserts, her first cookbook, was published by Ten Speed Press in 2007. Using vivid manga-inspired graphics, Demolition Desserts lays out the elements of Falkner’s multi-part contemporary desserts to make even the most inventive combinations easily accessible to home chefs. Falkner is also noted for her savory creations including her Citizen Steak with Blue Cheese Ice Cream and Seared Scallops with Bacon, Tomato, and Avocado Puree featured on Martha Stewart Living.
Throughout her career, Falkner has been both a leader and a mentor to many other chefs, working closely with Les Dames d’Escoffier and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR), who awarded her their Golden Bowl for Pastry in 2003. She has been named the city’s “Best Pastry Chef” by San Francisco magazine and a Rising Star Chef by the San Francisco Chronicle. Bon Appetit magazine hailed her as one of America’s 10 top pastry chefs in 2003, and named her Pastry Chef of the Year in 2006. In 2005, she was nominated for the pastry chef of the year award by the James Beard Foundation (JBF) and has been a featured guest chef for JBF hosting dinners for the foundation for the past five years.
A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute with a particular interest in film, Falkner often finds culinary inspiration in film, art, and sculpture. For benefits and celebrity events, she has created striking interactive “dessert performances” like the Man-Powered Taffy Pull, Chocolate-Painted Models, and the World’s Largest Pavlova, displayed in Union Square in spring 2006.
Working frequently with Bay Area’s Center for Culinary Development, she has taught and consulted all around the world for clients including Barilla, Molino Bianco, California Walnuts, Hershey’s, Williams-Sonoma, Ghirardelli, Haagen-Dazs, Pepperidge Farms, and many more.
Dedicated to education, the arts, and social justice, Falkner has been a tireless advocate for many Bay Area organizations, donating time, goods and services to The Edible Schoolyard, Human Rights Campaign, Share Our Strength, America’s Second Harvest, Project Open Hand, Glide Memorial Church, Frameline, ODC, Slow Food, and many other school and arts programs. In June 2008, she made the City Hall wedding cake for lifetime partners and longtime lesbian activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.Website: http://www.elizabethfalkner.com/
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