Pastry Chef Jennifer Felton of Cotogna - Biography

San Francisco, CA

May 2019

Jennifer Felton grew up in San Mateo and went on to study dance at California State University, Long Beach. After building a career in dance during the better part of a decade in New York, Felton thought it would be fun to enroll in the pastry program at the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center). With zero experience (she thought she’d bring her kitchenAid with her), enthusiasm to spare, and the discipline that carried over from dance, Felton blazed through the curriculum, externing at Ben Pollinger’s Oceana.  

After graduation, she joined Pastry Chef Mark Welker’s diligent (and scrappy) opening team at The NoMad, where she unpacked endless boxes, swept away omnipresent construction dust, and spent weeks testing recipes in advance of the debut of the New York landmark in the making. A year and a half in, an opportunity arose that returned Felton to the Bay Area. She joined Pastry Chef Shawn Gawle at three-Michelin-star Saison and later Quince, respectively, with a stint in between as opening pastry chef of Old Bus Tavern alongside Chef Max Snyder.     

From sous chef at Quince, Felton became executive pastry chef of casual sister restaurant Cotogna. In 2019, she helped with the opening of the third restaurant in the Michael and Lindsay Tusk family, Verjus. She is inspired by cocktails (and relaxes with them too), and everytime she puts a dot on a plate, Felton thinks of Shawn Gawle.