A native San Franciscan, Elizabeth Falkner graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in 1989. Falkner has earned many accolates. Recognizing the need for a contemporary, quality pastry shop in the Bay Area, Elizabeth Falkner opened the first Citizen Cake in south of Market section of San Francisco in October 1997 before moving to the present location in May 2000. Citizen Cake is a retail bakery featuring contemporary cakes, chocolates, breads, pastries and ice creams all made in house. Citizen Cake is also Elizabeth’s imaginative restaurant and bar, serving brunch, lunch and dinner. In the summer of 2005, Elizabeth Falkner stepped back into the savory side of the restaurant at Citizen Cake. She and her team of cooks have put together menus for lunch, dinner and brunch to reflect the balance and edge that her dessert menus are known for. Orson, her second restaurant, follows her Hayes Valley’s hit, Citizen Cake. As executive chef of Orson, Falkner explores familiar and iconic dishes with personal flair.
Throughout her career, Falkner has been both a leader and a mentor to many other chefs. She has been named the city’s “Best Pastry Chef” by San Francisco magazine and a Rising Star Chef by the San Francisco Chronicle. Bon Appetit magazine hailed her as one of America’s 10 top pastry chefs in 2003, and named her Pastry Chef of the Year in 2006. In 2005, she was nominated for the pastry chef of the year award by the James Beard Foundation (JBF) and has been a featured guest chef for JBF hosting dinners for the foundation in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
In 2007 her first cookbook, Demolition Desserts, was published by Ten Speed Press. Demolition Desserts lays out the elements of Falkner’s multi-part contemporary desserts to make even the most inventive combinations easily accessible to home chefs.
***Update 11/2012: After closing up Orson and Citizen Cake, Falker moved to New York. Her second cookbook, Cooking Off the Clock: Recipes from My Downtime, was published just last month by Ten Speed Press. The Next Iron Chef finalist will be opening Krescendo, a new Brooklyn pizzeria, later this fall and will be appearing again fighting for redemption on Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef premiering November 2012.