The San Francisco Bay Area has several little neighborhoods with special gems. Sure there are several bakeries, eateries, restaurants, and more, but Terry Paulding and her family provide the essential learning space for beginning and advanced chefs and culinary enthusiasts. Paulding & Company is a commercial kitchen located in Emeryville, a city nestled between Oakland and Berkeley. In 2003, Terry Paulding built this commercial masterpiece: a 2400-square-foot, state-of-the-art kitchen and dining area to be utilized as both a teaching and catering facility. It was the home kitchen of Top Chef San Francisco, the inaugural season of the show. Pixar animators, working on Ratatouille, trained with Terry Paulding to learn hands-on cooking skills. Clint Eastwood shot three scenes for his movie Hereafter in the kitchen, and they’ve had national TV ad shoots in the kitchen as well—it is the epitome of a great cooking classroom.
Tracy Paulding joined her mother, and the dynamic duo have been unstoppable. During the summer months, Tracy heads up COOK! Programs, a collection of summer camp culinary programs for kids. I was excited to visit to experience the Advanced Baking Series with the entire kitchen and crew! Campers range from age 9-18, and are cooking or baking up a storm from 9am to early afternoon. Tracy shares the desire of summer camp programs for children came from the great response of their parents or clients who had already experience the magic of Paulding & Co. Each year, the program grows with new ingredients, ideas, and kids who are hands on, ready to create culinary goodness.
The advanced baking session, was exactly that! I was amazed to see the different pastries and array of fillings, shapes, and scents that filled the air. Both boys and girls were filled with excitement, ready to take a bite out of the tasks of the day. All of the children work well with one another, abiding instruction from all of the chefs and interns who teach them along the way. Elazar ,15, exclaimed, “I can’t get enough of this place!” He started as a camp participant and worked his way up into Culinary Leadership Training, which entails three weeks of recipes, techniques, and commercial kitchen familiarity. While Elazar and I were hands deep in dough, or the walk-in freezer or fridge, the students were finishing up their delectable deserts, applying egg washes, berry compotes, chocolate, or putting the final aesthetic touches before the batch hit the oven. While campers were baking, a chef instructor had a group of kids working on lunch for the day, and Mediterranean was on the menu. As everyone’s dishes were being plated on the main dining tables, the work still wasn’t done, and the kids banned together to break and bus down the kitchen before partaking in the great lunch feast. It was amazing to see, taste, and smell, everything, and to know that it was made by the hands of children was even more astounding!
Overall my experience at Paulding & Co., was amazing, and Terry definitely won me over with her homemade Brown Butter ice-cream. (Recipe to follow) An iced delicacy that melts in your mouth, just like butter! If you ever want to have a private experience in a grand commercial kitchen, learn a new recipe and techniques, or have a master show your kids how to cut around in the kitchen? Head over to Emeryville and check out Paulding & Co.
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Restaurant reviews : PS – we did snarf here for free, but only write about our favorite things – this is our opinion.