690 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Close to BART (Civic Center)
Easy Street Parking & Garages
Mulitple Bus Lines
phone: (415) 346-2665
Executive Pastry Chef, Absinthe
Board of Advisors
Chef-Owner, State Bird Provisions & The Progress
Executive Pastry Chef, Michael Mina Group
Editor-at-Large, San Francisco Magazine
Chef, 25 Lusk
Chef-Owner, 4505 Meats
Chef-Owner, Mr. Jui's
Pastry Chef-Owner, B. Patissiere
Chef-Owner, Frances & Octavia
Chef-Owner, Craftsman and Wolves
San Francisco Cooking School is an anchored institution for culinary and pastry arts education in San Francisco that reflects the global influence and on-going conversation of California Cuisine.
At the core of San Francisco Cooking School is a rigorous career-training Certificate Program designed to prepare aspiring food professionals to jump-start their culinary and pastry careers after six intense months (or twelve if enrolled in the part-time program). Certificate Programs are offered in both Culinary and Pastry Arts.
Our School is distinguished by an updated, hands-on curriculum that was developed with an advisory board of contemporary chefs, and stands apart by drawing upon California food values while celebrating global cuisine. Tossed out are old-school mainstays such as isolation teaching, and outmoded subjects like aspic and ice sculptures, and instead students will learn how the best chefs are cooking today. Our core value is building a level of Culinary Intiution into each of our students, teaching how and why things work in a kitchen versus memorizing recipe after recipe.
SFCS offers an attentive private school experience with no more than 14 students enrolled at a time. The state-of-the art kitchen is the classroom where students learn and cook in a fast-paced environment, just like a restaurant. The Program takes full advantage of the “campus” San Francisco has to offer by immersing the students into the food community with teaching field trips to farms, kitchens, and artisan producers, and culminates with an highly managed externship placement.
In addition to career training in culinary arts, SFCS offers the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking classes in the Bay Area. Our 5,200 sq ft. facility functions as a vibrant culinary center for book signings, chef dinners, celebrity demonstrations, and private cooking parties.
The building which houses our main campus at 690 Van Ness Avenue was erected in 1910 and stands as one of the earliest auto showrooms on the historical “auto row” on Van Ness. In 1988, chef Jeremiah Tower transformed the building into a restaurant and named it Speedo 690 in homage to the building’s previous tenant, Speedo Carburetor Shop. Along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck, Jeremiah Tower is widely recognized as a founding partner of “California Cuisine”, so the building’s food history makes it a natural home for San Francisco's new educational culinary center.
School Director and Recreational Instructor
Prior to founding SFCS, Jodi was a lead cooking teacher at Tante Marie’s Cooking School, where she worked for 14 years. She is also a veteran of food media with experience ranging from working the kitchens of the Food Network in New York to recipe development for Bon Appetit to writing multiple cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma, including the popular “Cooking from the Farmers’ Market”. Her latest book, “Panini”, was released in March 2013, published for Williams-Sonoma.
Jodi is thrilled to be realizing her dream of operating a cooking school in San Francisco. Over 15 years ago, Jodi was a recruiting executive who switched careers after returning home from a one-week cooking vacation in Italy with Giuliano Bugialli. She remembers the decision to “go back to school” quite well to become a culinary student, so she’s very excited to introduce these certificate programs designed for aspiring food professionals who demand a challenging educational experience that will prepare them for today’s food business.
Director of Culinary Arts and Head Chef Instructor
Catherine mentored Jodi Liano 14 years ago when she taught and oversaw the professional cooking program at Tante Marie’s Cooking School for over eight years. She also taught avocational classes at Draeger’s, Sur la Table, and Ramekins.
Prior to teaching cooking, Catherine developed her extensive culinary knowledge over many years in restaurant kitchens, including Zuni Café, Hayes Street Grill, the Ritz Carlton in Chicago, and the Quilted Giraffe in New York. She was also chef and co-owner of the critically acclaimed Zola’s Restaurant in San Francisco for nine years. Most recently, Catherine was the culinary supervisor and test kitchen chef at Ketchum Communications, a PR firm with a broad portfolio of agricultural commodity and ingredient clients.
During the initial development of SFCS over two years ago, Jodi immediately thought of Catherine as the natural choice to run the professional Certificate Program in Culinary Arts. A career chef and instructor for 25 years, Catherine shares Jodi’s passion and talents for imparting knowledge in the kitchen through teaching and mentoring.
Director of Pastry Arts and Head Chef Instructor
After winning the 2010 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Michael Bauer suggested Nicole Plue was “one of the best pastry chefs in the country.” Now, Plue is on her way to becoming one of the best pastry instructors in the country.
Los Angeles native Nicole Plue began her restaurant career in San Francisco where she led the celebrated bread program at Hawthorne Lane before jumping coasts to New York when Danny Meyer recruited her to be the pastry chef on the opening team at Eleven Madison Park. While on the East Coast, Plue also opened Terence Conran’s Guastavino’s and was tapped by Martha Stewart to develop recipes for the pastry and baking segments for Martha Stewart Living Television. Plue then went on to manage the pastry programs at the three-starred AZ restaurant and its sister restaurant Pazo where her Red Wine Tart was named by William Grimes the “Best Dessert of 2004” in Bon Appetit.
Plue returned to California to serve as executive pastry chef at Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA in Napa, and then held the same position at Richard Reddington’s Redd and Cyrus in Healdsburg.
In addition to her James Beard Award, Plue’s accolades include being named Pastry Chef of the Year 1997 by San Francisco Magazine and Rising Star Chef by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Chef Instructor, Part Time Culinary Program
Growing up in the Bay Area, Kirsten was exposed to an extraordinary array of foods. This early exposure instilled in her a great curiosity and passion for regional cuisines, food sources, and culinary arts.
In 1998, Kirsten studied cooking under the tutelage of Catherine Pantsios before working in restaurants such as Mario Batali’s famous Babbo in New York’s West Village and Nancy Oaks' Boulevard in San Francisco. Kirsten has worked in restaurant kitchens in Europe and traveled extensively in South East Asia where she took cooking courses and spent as much time as possible in the food markets of every city she visited. Kirsten has been an instructor at San Francisco Cooking School since it opened, and has also managed a thriving Bay Area personal chef and catering business.
Lead Recreational Cooking Instructor
After graduating from both the California Culinary Academy and Tante Marie's Cooking School, David spent time teaching cooking classes and working as a line cook at Zuni Cafe and Gioia in San Francisco. David has also worked as a personal chef, volunteered with the Bay Area's largest fish supplier, and, when he finds any free time in his busy schedule, he'll be in his home kitchen feeding friends and family.
Director of Admissions and Student Services
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