March 31 event will feature 12 of San Diego’s hottest pastry chefs under one roof at Herb & Wood in Little Italy.
They may not do your waistline good, but the pastries baked for the 2019 Chef-Driven Bake Sale are at least good for the San Diego community. The March 31 event, held at Herb & Eatery’s gallery space in Little Italy, is hosted by the nonprofit charity Friendly Feast with proceeds from the bake sale supporting Friendly Feast and Monarch School.
The event will feature 12 of San Diego’s hottest pastry chefs, including Erik Aronow of Puesto, Jamie Decena of Cowboy Star, Elizabeth Olson of Ironside, and Adrian Mendoza of Herb & Wood. Participating chefs will incorporate produce from local farms and food distributors, including Cyclops Farms, Stehly Farms, and Specialty Produce.
Enticing offerings will include chicken and waffle cupcakes, huckleberry almond croissants, spiced pecan and chocolate tarts, and dulce de leche cheddar cheese brioche.
Friendly Feast was launched in 2017 as an event- and program-driven nonprofit organization that gives back to the local community and the Chef-Driven Bake Sale’s supporting charity, Monarch School, is a public school in Barrio Logan that has a mission to address youth homelessness through education.
PACIFIC chatted with Friendly Feast founder Erin Jackson to find out more about the bake sale and the succulent sweets that will be up for grabs.
PACIFIC: What inspired you to found Friendly Feast?
ERIN JACKSON: I founded Friendly Feast to celebrate chefs and food producers in San Diego. Our events are a fun way to explore the local food scene and give back to the community at the same time. If you’ve ever wanted to change the world while eating delicious baked goods, this is your chance!
How were the chefs chosen for the bake sale?
Chefs are invited by me. I like to include a mix of familiar faces, local favorites and indie chefs so there’s an element of discovery at the event.
What’s the connection with Monarch School? How were they selected?
Friendly Feast is a proud supporter of Monarch School because their values align with our founding principles. This is the third year we will be donating funds from the bake sale to support their mission to educate youth affected by homelessness and give them the skills they need to break the cycle. When I toured the school, I was immediately struck by the care and compassion of the staff members and teachers. The comprehensive services they provide are absolutely crucial to the community.
Is there a competition involved?
Last year, Faye Rodriguez of Faye’s Desserts won the “most tempting” award, which means she sold out of her items first. This year, I’m changing things up by allowing people to vote for their favorite chef. The winner will be crowned “Best in Show” and will win a custom cake plate and gift basket from Trader Joe’s.
We hear Domaine Santé is donating wine grape nectar to the event, what is that?
It’s a non-alcoholic sugar substitute made from California wine grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or Sauvignon Blanc.
Have you gotten to taste all of the treats? Can you tempt our taste buds with a few standouts?
Yes, I’ve tasted all of the items. The three items that made the biggest impression with me are chicken and waffle cupcakes from Victoria Sorrisio Scully (The Wild Thyme Company), a brunch-themed creation with a sweet and savory flavor profile that is truly unique; Caramelized banana and dark chocolate pan de elote from Erik Aronow of Puesto, a sweet corn cake with flavors inspired by bananas foster; and strawberry and basil layer cake from Jamie Decena of Cowboy Star, a light and elegant option with refreshing flavors that are perfect for spring.
Complete list of participating chefs
Adrian Mendoza, Herb & Wood
Crystal White, Wayfarer Bread
Jamie Decena, Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop
Erik Aronow, Puesto
Jeremy Harville, TRUST
Vicky Sorrisio Scully, The Wild Thyme Company
Elizabeth Olson, Ironside
Faye Rodriguez, Faye’s Desserts
Ginger Niles, The MED at La Valencia
Marco Maestoso, Maestoso
Jose Alonzo, NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar
Gan Suebsarakham, Pop Pie Co.
Chef-Driven Bake Sale
When: 11 a.m. March 31
Where: Herb & Wood, 2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy
Cost: $10 donation (kids 12 and under are free); once inside, each pastry can be purchased for $5. VIP tickets also are available.