The Art of Keeping It Green

“Rochelle has been an integral part of the WCR organization almost since it’s inception, and under her leadership, the organization has grown tremendously.  In fact, the 21st Annual National Conference in Chicago, held in March 2014, was the most successful in the history of the WCR organization, and it is all thanks to Rochelle and her amazing team.  Rochelle is an outstanding public speaker and renowned in the culinary world for many things, not the least of which is a highly successful entrepreneur and business owner”

– Lisa Necrason, Executive Director of Women Chefs & Restauranteurs

The theme of the 2014 Women Chefs & Restauranteurs conference was The Art of Keeping it Green.

The recent farm-to-table movement and focus on food sustainability are both important industry trends that are relevant to women in all aspects of the culinary world.

The prevailing perception is that going green in the food industry isn’t cheap or easy. But for some restauranteurs, creating & operating a sustainable business ends up being as much a sound (and less costly) financial move as it is a personal & ethical one.

To continue with the 2014 ‘green initiative’ of the WCR conference, Chefwear, Inc. launched their eco-friendly apparel line. The sustainable line was branded in 2008. The natural material’s of; Hemp, Organic Cotton, & Bamboo are used to create the fabrics.

Chefwear’s Eco Friendly Line

Chefwear, Inc. has been a proud sponsor of WCR since the organization was founded in the early 1990’s.

The 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards

The James Beard Foundation Awards has taken place in New York City for the last twenty-four years. With each passing year the Ceremony focuses on a theme. This year the Award Ceremony represented the connection between food & music.

Welcome introduction from the President, Susan Ungaro & the Board Chair, Emily Luchetti

“NO MATTER WHICH SONGS ABOUT FOOD are your favorites, we can all agree that great musicians and great chefs both have perfect pitch. Our national passion for good food, drink, and music is played out in every major city in America. That’s why this year’s Awards theme, Sounds of the City, highlights the harmony between food & music.

As many people now know, James Beard left his hometown of Portland, Oregon, for New York to make it big on Broadway or at the Metropolitan Opera. He did what many struggling actors and singers do: paid the rent by working in the food business. His side jobs–writing cookbooks and magazine articles, teaching cooking classes, appearing on television, and consulting on new restaurants–were the culinary world’s gain.

This weekend we present the 24th annual James Beard awards, honoring the best of the best at two great celebrations: the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards at Gotham Hall and the JBF Awards at Lincoln Center. Our hosts for both Awards events, James Beard Award winners Ted Allen, Mario Batali, Matt Lee, and Ted Lee, are the perfect conductors for our presentation of more than 60 awards. We’ve also arranged for a feast to follow the ceremony at Lincoln Center, tied to the musical passions of our reception chefs. You could say that the night will feature a musical menu of our chefs’ favorite foods and playlists. We think James Beard would have loved to cook and sing along.

Speaking of stars on stage, in the press, and in the kitchen, this weekend would not be possible without our sponsors, volunteer, and Awards Committees, board of trustees, talented Foundation staff–and you! The annual awards are just one important aspect of our mission to educate and inspire. Other highlights these past 12 months have included our annual JBF Food Conference and Leadership Awards, which honor visionaries who are making the world’s food system healthier, safer, and more sustainable. We are also proud of the fact that we’ve awarded over $4.6 million in financial aid to deserving culinary students.

As you enjoy this evening celebration and connect with new and old friends, let’s also remember those stars of our culinary world who are no longer with us, especially two chefs who won our most prestigious Outstanding Chef Award, Judy Rodgers and Charlie Totter. We believe that Judy and Charlie, who was named for Charlie Parker, would have appreciated this year’s theme. After all, they were both chefs who clearly hit all the right notes!”

Sounds-and Tastes-of the City

What to eat & listen to in music’s top towns:

New Orleans –> Jazz –> Gumbo

Nashville –> Country –> Hot Chicken

Seattle –> Alternate Rock –> Fair Trade cold brew with soy milk

NYC –> Hip Hop –> A magnum of Champagne

Austin –> Classic Rock –> Smoked brisket

Chicago –> R&B –> A mafia-esque rib-eye

Los Angeles –> Surf –> Fish Taco

San Francisco –> Indie Folk –> Fresh-churned almond butter

Memphis –> Soul –> Friend Okra

Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR)

The mission of WCR is to promote and enhance the education, advancement, and connection of women in the culinary industry.

Formed in 1993 by eight of the nation’s top women chefs and restaurateurs, WCR has grown to a membership of over 2,000 members, offering a variety of networking, professional and support services.

The WCR National Conference is a “Who’s Who” of the culinary world. Presenters and participating chefs represent the very best women chefs and restaurateurs in the industry. WCR enjoys working with the conference hotel to have their national chefs interact with the conference hotel chefs, especially their female chefs. All conference meals are prepared by WCR member chefs using the hotel’s kitchen facilities.

The WCR membership consists of individuals currently employed in a restaurant or in the food industry as a chef, cook, caterer, wine professional and culinary educators. The membership is 90 percent female.

The challenge is to produce a conference program that has strong educational content; includes topics of interest for every membership segment and culinary discipline; offer opportunities for suppliers to showcase their products; includes entertaining social events; and showcases the cuisine, history and culture of the host/city/region without making it the focus of the conference.

Rochelle Huppin is an original member of Women Chefs & Restauranteurs when the organization formed 22 years ago. Also, her company Chefwear is a founding corporate sponsor.

Rochelle became president of the organization in the Spring of 2012 until March of 2014.

Mini interview with Rochelle based on her experience with WCR:

1. Was being President of WCR difficult to manage while also being the President of Chefwear & the many other projects you worked with?

The group became self-run when I first became president and this was just what our organization needed at the time. As a board we became very strong because of our constant communication. During my presidency I was able to bring WCR to a place of financial stability. I feel very good that I was able to benefit the organization in this way and I will continue to help with fund-raising in the future.

2. What has been your favorite memory of the WCR?

I have so many great WCR memories.Board meetings are in different cities throughout the year and we have such a blast wherever we are. Every board meeting in each different city holds memories of great conversations, tasty meals and realizations of how much we can all benefit from our collective knowledge and how we can improve our industry for ourselves and generations to follow. The conferences are chock-full of opportunities to learn about a multitude of topics and network with other attendees about a myriad of topics.

Women Chef & Restauranteurs is a magnificent organization for women passionate in the hospitality industry to get together & show off their skills, in the best of ways.

This entry was posted in WCR.

Remarkable Business Women Award, 2001

17th day of May, 2001

“Whereas, Rochelle Huppin Fleck has been named the recipient of the Remarkable Business Women award by the Los Angeles’ National Council of Jewish Women and it is appropriate at this time to highlight her many achievements and to extend to her the special recognition of the public; and

Whereas, Rochelle Huppin Fleck, founder and president of Chefwear, created her own line of chef clothing from her own experience as a chef, and she shares her success with her husband Gary, who is the chief executive officer; and

Whereas, Chefwear is one of the most respected names in the culinary industry and she has proved herself to be a remarkable business women; and

Whereas, Rochelle and Gary have two children, Samantha and Abe; and

Whereas, The success of Rochelle Huppin Fleck serves as an inspiration for the women entrepreneurs of the state, now, therefore, be it

Resolved by Senator Sheila James Kuehl., That Rochelle Huppin Fleck be congratulated on being named the Remarkable Business Women by the Los Angeles’ National Council of Jewish Women, and extended sincere best wishes for success in the future”


Eco-Friendly additions to Chefwear

Rochelle Huppin, President of Chefwear” The features and benefits of the new line of clothing will have wide spread appeal and the best part is that we know they will give back to the environment as well.”

Organics have become a popularized trend in the hospitality industry. Everything from produce to now apparel. Chefwear became increasingly interested in producing clothing using environmentally sustainable processes. Their most popular Eco-Friendly products include chef coats, chef pants, chef hats & chef aprons. The organic items of Chefwear are made out of three different types of fabric; 100% organic cotton, bamboo, & hemp.

It is beneficial for the consumer as well as our earth to wear organic material. The quality of clothing produced from organic cotton is also substantially higher. Organic cotton plants produce longer-stable cotton fibers which yield stronger yarn & more durable fabrics.

Eco-Friendly Apparel by Chefwear

What are the benefits of Eco-Friendly materials?


Organic Cotton:

– Rain fed instead of irrigated, using a lot less water

– Grown without using pesticides or insecticides

– Farmers use composted manures and cover-crops to replace synthetic fertilizers

– Innovative weeding strategies are used instead of herbicides

– Beneficial insects & trap-crops are used to control pests

– Nature’s frost & water inducement prepare plants for harvest, instead of using toxic defoliants


Bamboo: is a grass, & grows like a weed

– Usually grows on rain water

– No need for pesticides or insecticides

– Generates more oxygen than trees

– The pulp from bamboo is ground up, with superior performance

– Bamboo wicks moisture, keeps you cooler, and is naturally antimicrobial so it doesn’t retain odors



– No need for pesticides or insecticides

– Industrial hemp is also a grass & grows like a weed, because it is one

– Grows on rain water

– Superior performance compared to cotton

– Hemp materials are more durable

-Provide better UV protection, wick moisture, & anti-microbial

– Hemp is the most environmentally positive crop, actually improving the condition of the soil

– Requires no herbicides & naturally resistant to insects, fungus, & other pests

“At Chefwear, we make most of our apparel in the U.S., right in the Chicago area where we are based. Like chefs who buy local produce, we do our part to support a healthy local economy & reduce global greenhouse gas emissions caused by overseas shipping. Chefwear apparel thoughtfully minimizes the use of manmade fabrics & intentionally uses a higher cotton content (100% in many cases), because cotton is naturally biodegradable material. Cotton is also what makes Chefwear soft, breathable & the most comfortable foodservice apparel.”

Baker’s Dozen

Blood Orange Chiffon Pie

with Chocolate Crumb Crust

(pages 144 – 145, 127 & 336)

“Here’s an updated version of the refreshing chiffon pie, using garnet-red blood orange juice and a chocolate crumb crust. blood oranges, once an imported crop from the Mediterranean, are now grown in our country, where they are in season during January & February. Navel oranges may be substituted. Chiffon pie recipes used to have beaten raw egg whites for volume, but we substitute whipped cream and cook the egg yolks” – Rochelle Huppin

Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 servings


Chocolate Crumb Crust (page 127)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2  ¼ teaspoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh blood orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated blood orange zest ( 1 or 2 oranges)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream

Whipped Cream Topping (page 336)

Six to eight 3-inch strips of blood orange zest (use a channel knife or zester), for garnish

  1. Make the crumb crust; refrigerate
  2. Pour the water into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the gelatin softens. Add 3/4 cup sugar with the orange juice, lemon juice, yolks, and orange zest and whisk well.
  3. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to heavily coat the spatula (an instant read thermometer inserted in the mixture will read 185ºF). Do not allow the mixture to boil, or the yolks will curdle. Strain through a wire sieve into a medium bowl to remove any bits of cooked egg white.
  4. Refrigerate uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture is cooled but not set and thick enough to form a small mound when dropped from a spoon, about 45 minutes.
  5. In a chilled medium bowl, beat the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar just until soft peaks form. Do not over beat or the cream won’t fold smoothly into the lemon mixture. Fold the whipped cream into the orange juice mixture. Pour into the crust and cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate until the filling is chilled and completely set, at least 2 hours. (The pie can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered, and refrigerate.)
  7. To serve, place a dollop or pipe large rosettes of whipped cream around the edge of the filling. Tie the orange zest strips into an overhand knot and garnish each dollop with a knot.

Lime or Lemon Chiffon Pie: Substitute 3/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice for the blood orange/lemon juice combination and 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon or lime zest for the blood orange zest. Garnish with strips of lime or lemon zest. Use vanilla wafer or graham cracker crust.


Baker’s Note: BE SURE NOT to let the orange mixture set completely when chilling. Frequent stirring helps you can an eye on its progress.

Support for Veggie U

Patterns for a Purpose  – 

Chefwear is proud of its continuous support of Veggie U’s efforts to educate children about nutrition and the prevention of childhood obesity. This national not-for-profit provides teachers across the country with curriculum-ready Earth to Table kits, which are designed to tach students the importance of vegetables in a well-balanced diet. Since 2003, Veggie U has delivered 2,600 classroom kits and graduated 80,000 children from its program.

10th Annual Veggie U Food and Wine Celebration ‘clip’

“Chefwear has announced its support of Veggie U and the release of their Spring 2013 catalog, which features the 10th Annual Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration. To show its own support, Chefwear has added a veggies pattern to its Patterns With A Purpose collection, and will give a portion of the pattern’s sales back to Veggie U to help put Earth To Table kits in classrooms nationwide.

“Chefwear has joined the growing ranks of those interested in helping children fight the battle of obesity and diabetes by coming to our summer Food & Wine fundraiser to photograph the next catalog series,” said Chef’s Garden founder and Veggie U champion, Lee Jones. ”This series features those great chefs who volunteered their time and culinary artistry to raise money for the Veggie U program.”



Rochelle Huppin, Chefwear Founder, added, “We draw inspiration from the needs of chefs as well as customer requests, the latest fashion trends and new apparel technology. Chefwear was founded on the idea that in order to create the very best chef’s clothes, we must understand the daily routine and needs of a chef. This way of thinking has allowed us to continue to serve the culinary community with the most stylish and comfortable culinary apparel.”

About Chefwear 
Chefwear was founded by pastry chef Rochelle Huppin over 23 years ago when her comfortable, stylish, 100% cotton baggy pants caught the attention of chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay. Chefwear has continued to revolutionize chef fashion and remains the top choice among leading chefs all over the world.

Order from a complete stock of culinary apparel at the Chefwear site, and support Veggie U each time you include the new Veggie Pattern (207), which is available in adult chef pants and classic bib apron and children’s pants, apron and chef toque!


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Vanilla Table

Vanilla Table

“The Essence of Exquisite Cooking from the World’s Best Chef’s”

Natasha MacAller


Vanilla Bean Biscotti, Two Ways

Rochelle Huppin

pages 192 – 194

Almond/Apricot/Vanilla Bean Biscotti (#1 Way)

Ingredients – Makes approximately 5 Dozen Biscotti

plain flour: 3 ¾ cup, 380 g, 13 ½ oz

fine sea salt: ½ tsp

baking soda/bicarb of soda: 1 ½ tsp

white sugar: 1 ¹⁄³ cups, 280 g, 10 oz

eggs large: 3

egg whites, large: 16, 480 m;, 16 fl oz

Heilala pure vanilla extract: 2 tsp, 10 ml

Heilala vanilla pod, split and scraped: 1

unsalted butter, melted: 1/3 fl cup, 80 ml, 2 ½ fl oz

lightly toasted almond slices: 2 cups, 180 g, 6 ½ oz

dried apricots, chopped into small pieces: 2 ½ cups, 250 g, 9 oz

crystal sugar* or white sugar for sprinkling: 1/3 cup, 70 g, 2 1/2 oz

*[ Large-grained sugar, called crystal sugar, sanding sugar or German white rock sugar, adds sparkle and crunch. It’s available at gourmet shops or online


Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit/ 180 degrees celsius

Butter two jelly-roll pans (10 ½ x 15 ½ in/ 25 x 40cm) and set aside.

In a stand-mixer bowl with paddle attachment, or by hand with a large bowl and a wooden spoon, combine the flour, sea salt, baking soda and sugar on the lowest speed for 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract, scraped seeds from the vanilla pod and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for about two minutes or until well combined.

Stir in almonds and apricots.

Divide batter equally into the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Lightly sprinkle the entire top with crystal or granulated sugar. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until set and baked through. The edges will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking sheet and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

Remove biscotti from oven. Turn oven down to 300 degrees fahrenheit while the biscotti cool.

Carefully slide biscotti out onto a cutting board. Slice very thinly with a long serrated knife. You may slice lengthwise or widthwise. Bake biscotti on wire racks placed on top of cookie baking sheets for approximately 10 minutes, and then turn over and bake another 10 minutes until dry and golden.

“Who doesn’t love vanilla? Oftentimes I have thought that my life has been one grand pursuit of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, so I have definitely had my experience with vanilla extract. However, one vanilla incident stands out amongst the rest. The year was 1987 I had just graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and I was most fortunate that my first job out of culinary school was as a pastry apprentice for the legendary talented Michael Richard. He had just opened Citrus, his wildly popular restaurant on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The stars were obviously lined up perfectly because he took me under his wing and shared his great knowledge of pastry with me. One of the biggest sellers on the dessert menu was crème brûlée. To make this dessert I had the enchanting experience of working with plump, moist Tahitian vanilla beans for the first time. I was spellbound with the ethereal fragrance… and the delicate teeny tiny crunch of the seeds against the supremely creamy custard was euphoric. My love for this miraculous fruit of the vanilla orchid will never wane.” – Rochelle Huppin, Vanilla Table

Chocolate Cherry Pecan Biscotti (#2 Way)

Ingredients: Makes approximately 5 Dozen Biscotti

plain flour: 3 cups, 360 g, 12 ¾ oz

coca powder: ¾ cup, 70 g, 2 ½ oz

fine sea salt: ½ tsp

white sugar: 2 ¾ cups, 500 g, 18 oz

eggs large: 3

egg whites, large: 16, 480 ml, 16 fl oz

Heilala pure vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Heilala vanilla bean paste: 1 tsp

unsalted butter, melted: ¹⁄³ fl cup, 80 ml, 2 ½ fl oz

pecan halves, lightly toasted: 2 cups, 170 g, 6 oz

dark chocolate, semi sweet, chopped: 1 ½, 250 g, 9 oz

dried sour cherries: 1 ½ cups, 170 g, 6 oz

crystal sugar or white sugar for sprinkling: ¹⁄³ cup, 70 g, 2 ½ oz


Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit / 180 degrees celsius

Butter two jelly-roll pans (10 ½ x 15 ½ in / 25 x 40 cm) and set aside.

In a stand-mixer bowl with paddle attachment, or by hand with a large bowl and a wooden spoon, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and sugar on lowest speed for 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract, paste and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed for about 2 minutes or until well combined.

Stir in pecans, chocolate and cherries.

Divide batter equally into the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Lightly sprinkle the entire top with granulated or crystal sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and baked through. The edges will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking sheet and the center will lightly spring back when touched in the middle.

Remove biscotti from the oven. Turn oven down to 300 degrees fahrenheit/ 150 degrees celsius while the biscotti cool.

Carefully slide biscotti out onto a cutting board. Slice very thinly with a long serrated knife. You may slice lengthwise or widthwise. Bake biscotti on wire racks placed on top of cookie baking sheets for approximately 10 minutes and then turn over and bake another 10 minutes, or until dry.

Inside the California Food Revolution

Inside the California Food Revolution

Thirty years that changed our culinary consciousness

Written by Joyce Goldstein

“Joyce Goldstein is the foremost expert on the watershed moment in American cooking when little-known ingredients began to shine and chefs came out of the kitchen. The California revolution created the foundation for the food personalities and flavors that we see globally today. This book tells the story better than any other.” Mario Batali, chef & author of Molto Italiano

Featured: Rochelle Huppin

Chefwear, Santa Monica & Venice 

(pages 167-168)

Rochelle Huppin trained as a pastry chef. At her first job, she was handed a pair of polyester pants made for men. She had to get them sized large to fit her hips, but that meant that the waist was far too big. The fiber felt terrible on her skin, so she got a note from a doctor saying that she was allergic to synthetics and made her first set of custom cotton pants. After working at the Hotel Bel-Air and then at Citrus with Michael Richard , Rochelle moved to Marin County in 1988 to open the Lark Creek Inn with Bradley Ogden. There she created the prototype baggy unisex chef pants. They had a three-inch-wide elastic waistband for comfort and tapered legs so dirt could not collect on the hems as she walked through the kitchen.

When Wolfgang Puck hired her to work at Spago, the pastry department uniform was white pants and a white jacket, both made out of polyester. Rochelle designed a pair of striped black-and-white cotton pants and started her clothing business by strategically handing out six pairs to big-name chefs. “I gave Wolfgang a pair, because I was working for him. I gave a pair to Bobby Flay, who was a friend back then, a pair to Jonathan Waxman, and then three other chefs who were working for Wolfgang at the time. When I was in New York with Wolfgang at Rockefeller Center doing a Meals on Wheels event, Linda Zimmerman wrote a little article for the LA Times, and there’s a picture of the pants and a blurb about how the pastry chef didn’t like the [old] pants and now makes them herself. There were 175 phone calls the first day”

Rochelle was surprised to find that she had hit a nerve and that she wasn’t the only one who hated the traditional chef;s uniform. Two conditions helped her new business, Chefwear, grow. First, the open kitchen put cooks on display, and they wanted to look cool. Second, more women were becoming chefs, and they needed pants and jackets that were made to fit their bodies. Rochelle’s chef pants production was an underground business at first. “I had a little white Pontiac Fiero, and after working a twelve-hour shift at Spago. I would drive around in my little car with a very small trunk. I would go to Campanile and to all these places, wherever people had called me. I had five-hundred pairs of pants made and sold them very, very quickly.”

In food magazines at the time, uniforms were publicized in tiny eighth-of-a-page black-and-white ad’s showing a tall paper hat on a chef- noticeable only if you were looking for them. In marketing her Chefwear line, Rochelle wanted to do something different. “I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, and my dad always said, ‘Don’t be afraid to spend money on advertising.’ So I took thirteen chefs, put them in front of Chinois on Main with [my] first line of clothing, everyone barefoot, and did a full-color, full-page in Food Arts. And boom, it got attention right out of the box because there wasn’t anything like that.”

The business grew rapidly. At first, people called them “clown pants,” but that soon changed. Rochelle believes that her brand of stylish and unconventional clothes helped lift chefs out of blue-collar jobs to become celebrities.




San Francisco Chronicle – Dessert Masters

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Six Pastry Chefs Rise to the Top 

Wednesday February 7th, 1990

Author: Michael Bauer (Chronicle Executive Food Editor)

Without too much thought, most people could name the top chefs in the Bay Area. But those same people would be hard pressed to identify even two pastry chefs who create the best desserts.

How ironic – because Americans love dessert. By all rights, pastry chefs should be more popular than mom or apple pie. After all, these artists can turn out a dessert that makes mom’s seem like a sad imitation.

To recognize these unsung heroes, I’ve eaten my way through scores of desserts and talked to dozen of people to find the top dessert masters in the Bay Area. Many people create good desserts, those that satisfy our innate craving for sweets. However, I was looking for those people who have the rare ability to make the whole better than the sum of the parts. I’ve found six who consistently produce great desserts and deserve a place in the Dessert Masters Hall of Fame.

  • Emily Luchetti of Stars, Star Cafe and 690, tantalizes diners with a sour cherry-almond short-cake or a praline-mocha Napoleon.
  • Rochelle Huppin of Lark Creek in Larkspur creates devil’s food cake with buttermilk ice cream, or peach dumplings stuffed with streusel and encased in flaky pie dough and served with caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream.
  • Fran Gage, owner of Patisserie Franchise in the city, concocts delightful pumpkin tarts or pear-ginger clafouti.
  • Lindsey Shere, pastry chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley and an owner of the Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, creates hearty desserts such as apple crisp or caramelized almond tart, as well as a more refined selection for the main restaurant, including orange ice cream, profiteroles and Meyer lemon floating islands.
  • David Leboyitz of Monsoon works with Oriental flavors to produce chocolate taro-root brownies or rice tarts with red bananas.
  • Marlene Haseltine of L’Avenue creates American specialities  including warm apple turnovers with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce, or a winter shortcake with toasted walnuts, vanilla ice cream, poached pears with caramel and chocolate sauces.

Rochelle Huppin

It’s ironic that at the young age of 27, Rochelle Huppin would be so enthralled with home-style American classics. It’s become such an interest, she’s working on a book of rustic American desserts. However, her execution is anything but homespun, and she’s able to give a new twist to familiar desserts. Her devil’s food cake gets its rich fuchsia color and moist texture from beets. Her butterscotch pudding is more like a creme brulee.

The desserts are a perfect marriage of sophisticated homestyle food produced by Bradley Ogden at Lark Creek Inn, housed in a secluded Victorian in Larkspur.

It’s also quite a jump from the desserts Huppin created at the Bel Air Hotel, during her six months at Citrus under Michael Richard or the years as a pastry chef at Caffe Angeli, all in the Los Angeles area.

Her passion for sweets started early. When she was 17, Huppin was ready to leave her Spokane house and head for France to learn to cook. Her parents offered to pay for cooking school if she also got a college diploma. She took them up on it and graduated with honors from UCLA with a major in Near Eastern literature and languages.

Since the restaurant opened about six months ago, she spent 14 hours a day in the kitchen, creating the breads and 10 desserts which change every few weeks.

Yet she’s gearing up for more work. Lark Creek plans to open a cafe and bakery, and she will create pastries and desserts for the public.

Without boundless energy, she tries to work on a new dessert most days, always keeping in mind a piece of wisdom from Richard: “The best dessert has not been created yet”.

Maybe not, but Huppin and the rest have come pretty close.

The original news article with recipes: 

SF Chronicle Feb 7, 1990