One of my earliest memories is of sitting in the backyard garden in Minneapolis with a salt shaker while my dad picked perfectly ripe tomatoes hot off the vine. I can still taste the fresh, warm red flesh seasoned with a sprinkling of salt.
My passion for seasonal, farm-fresh flavors has never waned. Through all those years in school, college, training in France, stints in other chefs’ kitchens, a transplanting in the West, and all the sweat and tears of running my own restaurants – I’m still just a kid in a tomato patch.
For the past 30 years, I’ve cultivated gardens and restaurants in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, setting deep roots in Napa Valley with Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and my newest sweetheart, Cindy Pawlcyn's Wood Grill & Wine Bar (CP's for short). Helping people create unforgettable celebrations, aka ‘catering’, is a natural (and joyful) extension of what we do, and serving as Culinary Partner for the Monterey Bay Aquarium (and their important Seafood Watch program) is a very special honor.
And thanks to the wonderful teams at my restaurants, I’ve been able to nurture the part of me that seeks out distant corners of the world, bringing home flavors at once exotic and familiar. I’ve managed to write five cookbooks, and while Fog City Diner is out of print, the others – Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook, Big Small Plates, Cindy Pawlcyn’s Appetizers, and Cindy’s Supper Club: Meals from Around the World to Share with Family and Friends - bring the flavors I love to kitchens far and wide.
Each endeavor is distinctly different, and I love them all equally. Just like kids.
For more on my background, read my bio.