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Kathleen Hill: News about restaurants and restaurateurs

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Crisp Bakeshop update

Stopping by Crisp Bakeshop last Sunday afternoon on my way to see “The Post,” I suddenly became the last customer at the beloved bakery.

But it didn’t just close. Andrea Koweek and Moaya Scheiman have sold the equipment and recipes to James Hahn and partners in the Sunflower Caffé and Breakaway Café. They also sold the recipes for all of the breakfast pastries, and Maria, who has made them since “day one,” will stay on location to continue to make your favorites and whatever else they come up with.

Everyone seemed fairly cheerful and no one seemed sad as I watched Andrea take pictures and the “Crisp” sign down from the wall. Moaya is excited to learn more of the raw food world and possibly create something within it, while Andrea will take the Crisp Bakeshop name and her famous cakes and more to Sondra Bernstein’s Fig caters and Suite D as “Brand Ambassador.”

Known temporarily as the Bakeshop, Hahn’s version of the bakery started immediately to turn out pastries and desserts that will eventually replace those made and served at the Breakaway by Marcia, whose pies and coffee cakes have been favorites among Breakaway devotees.

In an email James Hahn said, “We kept a lot of the awesome Crisp product and (are) adding a few of our own items too, (such as) vegan, gluten-free and new savory items as soon as possible. We did switch the coffee to Acre Coffee out of Petaluma, and have a lot of fun things in store.”

In any case, Andrea and Moaya showed real joy at the prospect of taking their young son to school and going to and from work at normal hours.

As Andrea said to me, “You know, your daughter-in-law has a bakery in L.A. It’s 24/7.” And it is.

Glen Ellen Star reopens

Erinn and Ari Weisswasser have reopened their Glen Ellen Star in downtown Glen Ellen after a spiff-up and rest for their dedicated crew.

Every Wednesday night they offer a Neighborhood night with a special menu and complimentary corkage. Wednesday, Jan. 24 brings a salad of mixed chicories, curried walnuts, crisp apple and Roquefort dressing, followed by fried chicken, rutabaga sauerkraut, pickled Fresno chilis, green beans and a buttermilk biscuit. Top it off with housemade ice cream. $36. All this in addition to the regular menu, which changes often.

Glen Ellen Star’s new winter hours run Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m., and they will again be open seven days a week starting March 1. Beginning this weekend they will offer a new French onion pizza made with sweet Vidalia onions, beef short rib marmalade, Gruyère cheese, and pickled thyme. ($21). 13648 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. 343-1384.

Suzanne Brangham celebrated

Last Friday Jack Lundgren told Suzanne Brangham they were going to one of her former properties, the General’s Daughter, for dinner. “Didn’t you hear? They are now serving Friday night dinners.” A total lie with good humor.

At a surprise gathering of her investors and a few friends, Suzanne walked in astonished and said, “Oh, a new set of investors!”

Everyone could see Suzanne’s tears and quivering lips while a letter from her beloved and successful son William was read. It was the day before her birthday and he could not be here.

The General’s Daughter/Ramekins served a bountiful buffet of seafood and passed appetizers while everyone enjoyed local wines and cocktails.

Those who have dined recently at Saddles Steakhouse, which might get a new name after its recent sale, have been very pleased with both the food and service. Happy Hours are still popular, and last week after a Mentoring Alliance meeting the dining room was full and busy.

Brangham summed up the evening with her usual spunk and positive attitude saying, “I have to buy another piece of property. You know I need a job!”

Local cheffing and hospitality jobs available

Sonoma Market and Glen Ellen Village Market are again advertising that they are hiring chefs. Their ad says “industry-leading wages, awesome work-life balance, 401(k) retirement plan, health, dental and vision coverage, up to five weeks paid vacation, and never a layoff in 90 years.” Apply at sonomamarket.net/careers. Also available in Spanish.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa will host a Career Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at the hotel’s Sonoma Valley Ballroom at 100 Boyes Blvd. in Boyes Hot Springs. They are hiring for positions in Food & beverage, the Spa, housekeeping, stewarding, front office, culinary, and swimming pool seasonal positions including servers and bartenders. You can find a list of available positions and get applications at fairmontcareers.com. They recommend that you complete the application before the career fair. Fairmont develops “colleagues” for potential worldwide jobs and careers. Noon to 7 p.m.

Maria Carillo culinary program

Good heavens! Steve Rose, who, with his wife Colleen owned Vineyards Inn and grew loads of organic vegetables to sell and serve in their restaurant and at catering events, was unceremoniously dumped as a highly-qualified volunteer in Maria Carrillo High School’s culinary program.

Back in October, according to Press Democrat columnist Chris Smith, the culinary program’s director, Mary Schiller, was reprimanded and sent on leave when she opened the Santa Rosa schools’ food truck to feed people displaced by the October fires. She quit eventually and now runs the café at Snoopy’s Home Ice, aka Redwood Empire Ice Arena. And I hear the food there has improved substantially.

Led by Steve Rose as their culinary coach, Maria Carrillo students won everything at a SkillsUSA competition, which inspires students, tests and shows off their skills, in this case culinary skills.

Apparently in reaction to his complaining in front of students that the culinary program’s kitchen was left dirty and in unsanitary condition under a substitute teacher’s supervision, Rose says he was told by school officials that it would be better if he no longer volunteered in the kitchen.

Am happy to say we have not had problems like this at Sonoma Valley High School.