Cindy Pawlcyn has pioneered seasonal, sustainable wine-country cuisine since opening Napa Valley’s legendary Mustard’s Grill in 1983. She’s also the founder/owner of Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and operates a third restaurant, Cindy’s Waterfront, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Born in Minneapolis, Pawlcyn trained at Le Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris. She moved to San Francisco in 1979 and has partnered in the creation of more than a dozen iconic restaurants, including Fog City Diner, Roti and Tra Vigne. Pawlcyn is also the author of five cookbooks, including the James Beard Award-winning Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook.
1. Kosher & Maldon salt. I use kosher salt as an ingredient in recipes and Maldon sea salt for finishing a dish. Salt is the key to pulling all of the flavors together.
2. Ra Chand citrus juicer. It’s a hand-crank juicer that I purchased in Mexico years ago. It looks cool and does a great job.
3. My 2,000° kiln. I’m a potter and I make platters, plates, and salt dishes for my restaurants. It’s like another form of baking.
4. Colorful chef’s coats. I wear pink clogs and a pink chef’s coat in October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have a red coat for Christmas and Valentine’s. I need an orange one for Halloween.
5. My chilaquiles recipe. Chilaquiles was one of the first things I learned to cook, and it makes a great weekend brunch dish for guests.