Interview with Chef Marika Shimamoto Doob of Fifth Floor - San Francisco

October, 2005

Antoinette Bruno: What is your philosophy on pastry?
Marika Shimamoto Doob: My philosophy on pastry is that a plated dessert should first and foremost taste great, the presentation should be clean and the highest quality ingredients should be used. I enjoy creating desserts that I myself would enjoy eating and although I do not consider any of my desserts “over the top,” I try to make them interesting, playful and memorable.

AB: What restaurants have you worked in as a pastry chef?
MSD: The first job I obtained as a pastry chef was at the Waterfront Restaurant under Bruce Hill. I created desserts for two restaurants, one a Mediterranean café and the other an upscale California-Asian restaurant. From there I became the Pastry Chef at Hawthorne Lane Restaurant where, for five years, I honed my skills and created California-style desserts. In November 2004, I was asked to lead the team at the Fifth Floor Restaurant.

AB: Where did you get your pastry training?
MSD: I graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco although I was never enrolled in the Baking and Pastry program. Most of the pastry experience that I have has been self-taught.

AB: What are your favorite pastry or kitchen tools?
MSD: My favorite pastry tool in the kitchen is the silicon mat. I can’t imagine attempting to make tuile, sugar work, and decorations without it. Flexible silicon molds are great as well.

AB: What are your favorite ingredients?
MSD: The outstanding local produce (farm-fresh Olallieberries, red-flesh nectarines, and seedless Concord grapes to name a few) available here in the Bay Area make it easy to create great desserts. Balsamic vinegar, black peppercorns, vanilla and violet are among my favorite pairing ingredients. Other products that I enjoy using are feuilletine, cocoa nibs, colored cocoa butter, and luster dust.

AB: What are your favorite desserts?
MSD: Anything fruit based. Fresh strawberries smashed with sugar and cream.

AB: Who are your mentors / pastry heros?
MSD: I am inspired by the elite group of pastry chefs that compete and demonstrate their phenomenal skills and expertise at the World Pastry Forum. I want my desserts to display the same precision, creativity, energy, and love that are found in every showpiece at the competition.

AB: What are your top three tips for pastry success?
MSD: 1) Be consistent. 2) Pay attention to detail. 3) Know what the customer wants.