Pastry chef Deanie Hickox is known to Northern California diners for her work at Manresa, Ubuntu, Rubicon and her current post, Coi. This year, Hickox received a semi-finalist nomination for the coveted James Beard 2010 Outstanding Pastry Chef award. She worked with Jeremy Fox at Ubuntu and Manresa. The two were married but parted ways after Ubuntu. Her Beard nomination was for her work at Ubuntu in Napa. She is a grad of the San Francisco California Culinary Academy pastry program, and was a 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef, a 2008 Best Pastry Chef and a 2009 Napa Sonoma Rising Star Pastry Chef.
Hickox's picks cover Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Napa, with some good finds in between. Her comments have been edited for length.
THE CHEF CONNECTION
I have to admit I am biased when it comes to where I like to eat on my days off. I really enjoy eating at places where my friends are the chefs. I'm fortunate enough to know some really talented people so I eat very well! Commis and Aziza definitely top the list. And two of the best meals I had this year were at Cellar Door at Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz where my old friend, Charlie Parker, was the chef. He'll be moving on to Plum in Oakland soon so I'm really looking forward to eating there once he's settled."
One of the restaurants I'm most excited about hasn't even opened yet...Plate Shop in Sausalito. Kim Alter is a rock-star... she's definitely one to watch and I can't wait to see all her hard work pay off.