John Toulze, the girl & the fig
John Toulze was born in Northern California in 1974 to a third generation French family. Cooking was and continues to be a strong passion in his family life. After several years of cooking and wine sales at Viansa Winery, John assisted owner Sondra Bernstein in 1997 as she opened the girl & the fig restaurant in Glen Ellen. At the girl & the fig, John's role was varied, dividing his work between the sous chef and floor manager. During the second year of business, John took over the kitchen as the Chef de Cuisine and concentrated on the restaurant's country food with a French passion. Almost fourteen years later, John is not only the Executive Chef but is the Director of Operations and Managing Partner of the company. During these years, John has been key to the opening of the original restaurant and every project that followed. He has also had an important role in developing the girl & the fig's FIG FOOD product line and is the recipe developer of the girl & the fig Cookbook. John received a Rising Star Chef award in June 2009. John is a completely self-taught chef and enjoys developing new recipes and training new staff, but most of all understands the importance of consistency & endurance.
Brian Anderson, Bistro 29
Before opening critically acclaimed Bistro 29 in Santa Rosa in 2008, Chef *Brian Anderson *created and oversaw execution of the remarkable dinners at Applewood Inn & Restaurant that garnered rave reviews both locally and nationally. His first inspiration came from his grandmother, who was a professional chef in California’s Gold Country. Brian’s second inspiration came when he discovered France with its long culinary history and passion for fine living and fine food. Cycling trips through the French countryside soon led to an extended stay and eventual marriage to Mademoiselle Francoise Abiven, a lovely young woman from Brittany. With the young woman came a mother-in-law who took over where Brian’s grandmother had left off, imparting centuries-old traditions of using only the freshest of local produce in the preparation of simple but exquisite dishes. Returning to California with his young bride, Brian enrolled in the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary program. Brian’s talents and enthusiasm gained him access to the kitchens of such noted local restaurants as Bistro Ralph in Healdsburg and Café Lolo in Santa Rosa (the space where Bistro 29 is located) where he cooked for seven years before moving on to Feast Bistro and then Applewood in 2004.
Shelly Kaldunski, pastry chef, freelance food stylist & cookbook author
Shelly Kaldunski was raised in Sebastopol California on a family farm. She received her culinary degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 1995. Numerous years were spent honing her skills, working for other notable pastry chefs before she eventually began work as the Executive Pastry Chef at Charles Nob Hill restaurant, followed by The Inn at Little Washington. Breaking ground in the world of publishing, Kaldunski moved to New York City where she went to work for Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Shelly spent the better part of two years developing, writing, and food styling Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. She also served as a food editor, writing and food styling stories for Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings magazines. Upon returning back to her roots on the west coast in 2005, Shelly spends her time now working as a freelance food stylist, and cookbook author, and culinary instructor, having published four books for Williams Sonoma: Cupcakes, Sweet Scoops: Ice Cream, Gelato, Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet and More, The Art of the Cookie and Ice Pops.