Andrea Rappaport, Chef-Owner
A morsel about me: my love of cooking was sparked at an early age with two major forces propelling it. The first was my grandmother who lovingly took the time to teach me how to prepare recipes handed down by her grandmother and the second, was my food obsessed parents who brought me and my brother to every hot Los Angeles restaurant from the time we were in high chairs.
With a passion for food and cooking deeply instilled by my family it was no surprise that when I started my first job at the age of sixteen it was at a high end specialty food shop. It was there that I was introduced to all types of delicacies from freshly made pasta and sauces to rare imported cheeses to some of the finest chocolate in the world. After high school I left home to attend college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and although I pursued a degree in sociology, I found that I was much more focused on and passionate about cooking. To nourish this passion I got a job as a line cook in the kitchen of L'Etoile, which was one of the top restaurants in Madison at the time and continues to hold onto that status today. By my senior year it was clear to me that my calling was to be a chef and after I graduated college I moved to Hyde Park, New York to attend the esteemed Culinary Institute of America. After culinary school I got a job at Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago in Hollywood, CA. That restaurant was the hotspot for the glitterati and I was fortunate enough to cut my teeth in the industry by cooking fresh, innovative California cuisine for everyone who was anyone in LA at the time. After spending a couple of years training there, I was given the opportunity to be part of the opening crew of Spago, Las Vegas and I jumped at the chance to be an integral part of Wolfgang's burgeoning restaurant empire.
My time in Las Vegas was fleeting, however, and after a few years I’d had my fill and decided to move to San Francisco. Upon moving to the Bay Area I was presented with the opportunity to be the executive chef at a soon to open, charming, neighborhood restaurant called Zinzino and eagerly accepted the offer. In my six years as the chef there, I received sparkling reviews from customers and food critics alike. I was named one of the top ten Rising Star Chefs in the San Francisco Examiner's annual list and later, I was invited to be a guest chef at the James Beard House as part of their Chef Discovery Series.
Alas, I began to burn out from the demands of chaotic restaurant life and decided to shift gears to became the private chef for a family in Silicon Valley. I had a blast cooking everything from baby food to multi-course, fine dining tasting menus, but after more than a decade there I found myself craving the creativity and freedom that came with being my own boss. In November 2014 I launched Bijou Catering to help fill what I felt was an untapped niche, a caterer who only focused on small events, and in early 2017 I expanded the business to Los Angeles as well. I love running a business where I am in complete control and where I am involved in every step of the process from designing the menu to sweeping the floors at the end of the night (ok, maybe I don't love that last part quite as much as the rest.) At Bijou my focus is on thinking outside of the box and creating inspired, imaginative food with a focus on seasonality. I use my expertise to create dishes that are well thought out with an emphasis on finding balance between complimentary and contrasting flavors, textures and appearances.
Activities and Accomplishments:
CCD Innovation Chef's Council - product development
Lotus Eater SF pop-up dinners - co-creator/chef
Castlemont Elementary School Garden, Campbell, CA - volunteer cooking instructor
San Francisco Book Review- cookbook reviewer
James Beard House, New York, NY Discovery Series - guest chef
San Francisco Examiner - named one of the "Ten Best Chefs You Don't Know Yet"
Bay Cafe- guest chef, two episodes
Activities and Accomplishments: