shuna lydon

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« Edible San Francisco: Autumn 2007, Pears. | Main | tall white flowers::petals like snowflakes »

05 October 2007


Shuna, what a beautiful statement that sums up you as the amazing pastry chef you are. How anyone could look at your menu and think of you as a minimalist I have no idea. Artist and explorer more like it.

Hooray for explorers, and for the ability to open your eyes and see -- and appreciate -- what is right in front of you. Give me real food, beautifully conceived and served with pride, than chemical wizardry any day.

Shuna, you inspire me. You make me want to strive for more, to challenge myself, to cook, to study, to create, to learn. In the end, you make me want to be a better person. Thank you.

How dare us. How dare us get bored. When there's so much to study! To learn!

I would rather be humbled than bored.

god is in the details

In the boredom we seem to have come to, we are looking for new things to keep us up at night. To keep our minds racing. So we can dull them later on with more, better and stronger drugs.

>>>'nuff said. i totally agree.

btw, I interviewed Elizabeth Falkner for Curve about two months back -- I think the article is coming out Real Soon Now, I know I just signed a contract and all. And I got to read the advance proof of her cookbook, that was fun. I learned a lot! And I had a great afternoon talking with her over tea.

When I think of your desserts, I don't think "minimalist," I think "elegant." Not too fussy or overstyled, but definitely not stark or unadorned either. Subtle, quietly playful. I am extremely fond of your approach to dessert. It's very thoughtful, and confident. And it feels concrete, grounded in real ingredients and real seasons.

I should not write comments like this before breakfast. Excuse me, I need to go eat now...

I'm gonna go reread this when I get home, but when she said that to me I didn't quite agree, you know that yeah?

I knew I'd love your food before I tasted any of it, and I do...just for the record.

Wow Shuna! I am so happy you've found a restaurant environment that supports your creativity. You are ON FIRE! And we are so blessed!


Really great post...its great to see a chef that stands by their food, and doesnt feel a need to follow. And knoll figs are awesome. Good luck this weekend.

mouth as sex organ. if anyone could find a way to make dessert genderqueer, i should've known it'd be you. :)

Focused with deliberate intention; without the minimalism of Phillip Glass or Richard Serra— you create perfect endings with your plated symphonies; beautifully composed of color, taste, texture, - with all the senses that reflect Sens. You have the Final Word/Taste of the evening's repast.

I've had a cold since Monday and the tastebuds are swaddled in my cotton-mouth. Yet, I can tell you how the cumin pot de creme wraps a silken thread from behind my teeth to the back of my throat and I can recall immediately the crunch of sweetness of the autumn slaw of apple, walnut, white fig as it blossoms into a fragrant perfume. I can feel the tiniest shards of melon granita pass my lips, dipped with almond milk gelee, falling into the undulating softness of a thumb-ripe fig. I can suck in deep dark chocolate as teeth shatter sesame.
Yes, there is restraint; nothing overblown or without reason - we should all enjoy the attention to details, I know that I do. I'm the Gal Who Doesn't Eat Dessert... until Now. Never Bored, thanks to Shuna.

The pastry chef will never go extinct. My theory is that chefs who believe all the focus should be on culinary don't want to touch pastry, not with a 10-foot clown pole. They don't like the exactness, the science. They'd rather delegate that to someone else so they can kick it free and loose and do their pinches and adjustments that aren't bound by rules that can't be broken. A chef who does both culinary and pastry and does them EQUALLY WELL is what a good chef should be and it something I am striving for. I can make kick ass braised short ribs one day and blow your mind with a killer chocolate dessert that uses 3# of chocolate and yields eight servings or make you feel like you stepped back in Grandma's kitchen with the smell of homemade bread. A good chef will have a respect for pastry, not act like it's not worth their time or too hard to do. You've got to be well-rounded in order to be a valuable player in the BOH.

To me, "minimalist" = confident. I don't know if that was the critique's intent, but that's how I read it.

What I like about the way you think and cook is that you don't feel the need to make the elements taste like something they're not. You bring out what is best in each element of a dish, and that takes confidence. There's nothing I hate more in a restaurant than when there are 900 ingredients all competing against one another and you have no idea what it is you're eating because someone didn't know when to stop. Dishes like that, to me, are gross displays of arrogance covering for a chef or cook who has low self-esteem.

You do the work of a very confident person who knows her shit and isn't afraid to let the ingredients speak for themselves. It's rare, and it's good, and I love it.

If those desserts I tasted are any indication, you m'darling, are way more like an over-the-topist than a minimalist. Or perhaps a deliciousist?

I could not agree with you more. We are poisoned daily by chemicals. Why would anyone want to eat them by choice? Food should be whole, natural, remind us of where we came from.

I used to live in San Francisco. How I long to be back, eating your innovations. You and San Pasqual are my muses. I cook because I love it. It's a passionate art. Thank you for reminding me.

Just wanted to let you know that a friend and I dropped by Sens for dessert last weekend, because I could not stand reading about your desserts and let another week go by without trying them.

They were GORGEOUS. My friend loved the chocolate, I adored the pear and buckwheat, and we jousted spoons over the cumin and apple.

I loved tasting them and trying to figure out what your inspirations were, what notes you were drawing out, what aspects of texture and acidity and suavity you were highlighting with each combination of ingredients.

Thank you, thank you, for making a lovely night with a good friend even lovelier.

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