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Monday, March 5, 2012

03/06- The "Delicate-C's" - Caviar and Crepes

Deborah Keane
Owner and founder
California Caviar Company

A long time expert in luxury products, Deborah Keane “Caviar Queen” is the founder and CEO of California Caviar Company, the only woman-owned and woman-run caviar company in the world.

Using her inexhaustible caviar knowledge to blend old world caviar traditions with modern culinary trends, Deborah’s expertise and impeccable palate is often sought out by many top chefs in the industry.  She has produced private labels with world-renowned chefs such as Jacques Pepin and Todd English. 

Additionally, she has supplied caviar lines to such culinary powerhouses as Williams-Sonoma, Dean and Deluca, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  She has also taught at the renowned De Gustibus Cooking School in Macy's, Manhattan and lectured at the top culinary school, Johnson and Wales.
Deborah is recognized throughout the industry as a leader and expert in sustainably farmed caviar and has honed her skills with the pioneers of the industry who have set the standards for sustainable farming worldwide. 

Taking her medical background and melding it with her interest in nutrition led Deborah to recognize the numerous health benefits of caviar. This in turn has lead to partnerships working with charities towards the prevention of cancer.

Deborah is a true innovator in the caviar industry promoting sustainability, accessibility and affordability for all.

Joël Hoachuck
La Crepe
Oxbow Public Market, Napa

(The following story isfrom the Napa Register, January 16 by Paul Fransen)
Many cultures have their own version of pancakes, and now Napans can enjoy the French version, crêpes, year-round. The operators of the popular La Crêpe booth in the orange tent at last summer’s Napa Farmers Market have opened an eatery inside the Oxbow Public Market, and they’re serving sweet and savory crêpes from breakfast through dinner and dessert.
Joël Hoachuck and Barbara Schwartz Hoachuck have wanted to open a crêperie — crêpe restaurant — ever since they moved to Napa Valley 20 years ago. Instead, Hoachuck started working in restaurants.
At the time, Napa had a popular creperie, the Crêpe Place, on Pearl Street where Bui Bistro now serves Vietnamese-French food, including crêpes. The owner closed the old restaurant in the mid-’90s.
“People have fond memories of the Crêpe Place,” said Schwartz Hoachuck. “Many tell us about their experiences there.”

Hoachuck is well known locally for managing Bouchon and now Bottega in Yountville. Born in France, he learned to make crêpes from his grandmother — and to enjoy eating them.

Schwartz Hoachuck has owned Zoom Design in Napa for 18 years, creating graphics, shooting photographs and developing websites for many local customers. She designed the La Crêpe logo and the Oxbow space. She is responsible for the marketing of La Crêpe.

Last summer, the Hoachucks opened a crêpe booth in a bright orange tent at the biweekly farmers market in the Oxbow Public Market parking lot. Their stand became a market favorite, and this led to talks with Steve Carlin, the founder and manager of the Oxbow.

The result is their new booth, which has a definite French flair. The Hoachucks hope to heighten that experience with art from local artists. They played French music during the summer and that may return, too.
Customers like to watch their crêpes being made on the special French griddles. The crêpe makers pour on a measured amount of batter, then spread it out with a special T-shaped paddle. It quickly browns, then is flipped over and the fillings added.

Both sweet and savory fillings are available. The sweet ones include sugar and Nutella, the chocolate-hazelnut spread so popular in Europe, along with seasonal fruit and whipped cream, chocolate sauce with fruit, caramelized apples and nuts.

The sweet crepes with thin fillings are folded twice, creating a tasty quarter-circle. They range in price from $4 (for just sugar or cinnamon sugar) to $7. They can be dessert or breakfast — my granddaughter likes Nutella for lunch.

Savory crêpes are served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, though I suspect few Frenchmen really eat them for breakfast. They’re mostly lunch fare.

However, many Americans would happily choose the “Breakfast Americain” with cheddar cheese, morning sausage, scrambled eggs and maple syrup for $8.

The “Breakfast Francais” (“French breakfast”) is mozzarella cheese and ham for $7; an egg can be added for an additional $1.

Schwartz Hoachuck says the most popular crêpes are the“Forestiére” with sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella, roasted chicken and crème sauce for $9; the “Florentine” with spinach, mozzarella and béchamel sauce for $8; and the “St. Tropez” with roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto and prosciutto for $10.

As with the sweet crêpes, you can add or leave out ingredients or even invent your own favorite. They serve any crêpe at any time, and offer specials using seasonal ingredients each day as well. Almost everything is organic, and local produce is used as often as possible.

La Crêpe also prepares its own fresh fruit and vegetable juices using organic produce. It doesn’t have a license to sell alcohol, so can’t offer wine or the cider traditionally drunk with buckwheat crêpes in Brittany; but many other vendors offer wine in the market, and the Wine Merchant sells a pear-flavored cider.

Speaking of buckwheat crêpes (“galettes de sarrazin”), the specialty of Brittany, the Hoachucks are working on them. One appeal is that they are not only tasty, but potentially gluten-free. The traditional versions contain some wheat flour, so La Crêpe is looking into a version without it.

Also in the future may be a possible satellite; the operators of the planned movie theater behind Home Depot have asked them about opening there, and there are many other farmers markets in the area that might beckon.

Schwartz Hoachuck has an even bigger vision: She sees La Crêpe as a familiar face around the world one day.

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