After graduating with an anthropology degree during a recession when jobs were scarce especially for liberal arts majors, Iliana Berkowitz was lucky enough to unearth her true passion in life — baking.
She took a job at a bakery, followed by a stint at a French bistro, all the while honing her bread and pastry skills.
In 2016, she started a bakery pop-up and bread club in the East Bay. Both did so well that in late-2018, she opened an actual brick-and-mortar, her As Kneaded Bakery in San Leandro.
I have Deborah Kwan to thank for the added inches on my waist.
You see, the former pastry cook turned restaurant publicist, recently went on a bakery crawl around the East Bay, posting photos on Facebook along the way. When she got to La Fournee in Berkeley, I was so overcome with longing for the glorious pastries she showed, that I knew I had to make a beeline there the next time I was up that way. Thankfully, that came last Thursday.
Feast your eyes on the butterscotch-lime croissant at Butterscots.
If you’re a baked-good fiend like I am, Butterscots Bakery in St. Helena is definitely worth a stop when you’re in Wine Country.
It’s part of the Cairdean Estate, which took over and repurposed the old St. Helena Outlet mall. When I dined at the wonderful The Farmer & The Fox restaurant on-site a few months ago, my only regret was that I was there in the evening, when Butterscotts Bakery had already closed.
On a recent trip to Napa, I made up for that by making a beeline to the bakery to buy a couple of goodies. The bakery is overseen by Joseph Humphrey, who is also the executive chef of The Farmer & The Fox. Humphrey, who earned two Michelin stars at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, knows his baked goods. His popovers at the restaurant are the stuff of dreams.