Secrets to a Successful Career in Culinary Arts~ Restaurants, Baking & Writing

Laney College Culinary Department presents

Culinary Arts Panel of Professionals

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:30 to 4:20 PM Laney College Forum

Our topic:

Secrets to a Successful Career in Culinary Arts~ Restaurants, Baking & Writing

Our esteemed panelists:

Dominica Rice-Cisneros, Chef/Owner, Cosecha Restaurant, Oakland

• Dominica Rice-Cisneros has been cooking professionally for more than 30 years. In 1993, she dedicated her professional career to fine dining, working at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Restaurant Soleil in Mexico City, Four Seasons Hotel in New York, Stars Cafe in San Francisco, and as a personal chef for the CEO of Google. Tired of cooking for the 1%, in 2011 she opened her first restaurant, Cosecha, in an abandoned neighborhood of Downtown Oakland. A once neglected indoor market is now the bustling 100-year-old Swan’s Market, home to Cosecha and several other restaurant and retail tenants that bring good home cooking to the workers and residents of Downtown Oakland. Cosecha strives to serve high quality meals at an affordable price for all. Everything is prepared from scratch every day, with the skill of a fine dining kitchen, and served to the community in an accessible way. In appreciation for the industry that supported her from a young age, Dominica takes pride in training, supporting, and providing career opportunities for local women in the Bay Area. Dominica is a mother, community activist, and urban gardener.

Michael LeBlanc, Owner, Plāyt “Sideways Southern” Bar & Restaurant, Hayward

• In 2008 Michael LeBlanc launched the award winning, nationally acclaimed Picán restaurant in Oakland’s hot Uptown district. Michael loves Gumbo; loves the taste, the texture, the smell. “Gumbo is a true ‘melting pot’ dish … a whole lot of everything, coming together; it breaks down all class and social barriers.” Michael closed Picán in 2017, taking his “krewe” to his newest venture, Plāyt in Hayward. Plāyt melds Southern Food-ways — Cajun, Creole, Gullah and other historic traditions — and offers the best in Southern comfort food, cocktails, wine, and Southern hospitality. Committed to local sourcing and sustainability, at Plāyt, Slow-Food philosophy and practices mesh with Southern comfort.

Alice Medrich, Cookbook Author, Pastry Chef, and Teacher, Berkeley

• Alice Medrich is one of the country’s foremost experts on chocolate and chocolate desserts. Since 1976, when her renowned shop Cocolat opened and her first dessert feature appeared in a national publication, Alice’s innovative ideas and recipes have influenced a generation of confectioners, pastry chefs, and home cooks. Alice is credited with popularizing chocolate truffles in the U.S. and introducing the larger “American” chocolate truffle. She has appeared on television with the beloved Julia Child, taught baking and dessert classes across the country, and consulted for both venerable and cutting-edge chocolate companies. Among the award-winning cookbooks Alice has written are~ COCOLAT: Extraordinary Chocolate Dessert; Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts; BITTER-SWEET: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate; Pure Dessert; Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies; Flavor Flours; and Gluten Free Flavor Flours. In 2017, a revised and updated edition of COCOLAT was published. “Still learning and evolving, and still having fun,” Alice currently consults for bakery, chocolate, and confectionery companies, and teaches in cooking schools across the country.

Our moderator:

Linda Carucci, M.Ed., Culinary Educator and Cookbook Author, Oakland 

• The granddaughter of an Italian cheesemaker, Linda is the former dean of the California Culinary Academy (also her alma mater), and was the inaugural Chef-Director of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California—San Francisco. The author of Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks, Linda is an award-winning culinary instructor whose first love is teaching cooking classes across the U.S. and beyond. She’s about to take her third group of students to Italy.

All are welcome to attend the Laney College Culinary Arts Panel of Professionals. Following the panelists’ presentations, there will be audience Q&A and a book signing hosted by Luan Stuass, owner of Laurel Book Store in Oakland. Featured books will also be available for sale.

If you’d like to suggest a topic or panelist for a future Culinary Arts Panel of Professionals, please contact: Chef Chantal Martin