Departures and Hires: Nopa and Picán

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Amy Brown’s amazing scone at nopa. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After five years as the oh-so-talented pastry chef at ~NOPA~, Amy Brown has departed for her next venture. I caught up with nopa’s chef-partner Laurence Jossel, who said she was a huge contributor and that we have her to thank for brunch. Fortunately Amy’s recipes for the sopaipillas, scones, burger buns, bagels, French toast, and more will stay—and taking her place is Anna Lee, who has been Amy’s assistant for the past year.

Amy is going to be staging in Seattle for the next month (including Sitka & Spruce), and will then be off to Budapest and Istanbul for more inspiration for another month. (Funny side story: the Turkish president’s chef was in the restaurant recently and showed her how to make phyllo!) When she returns, she will be looking for a café space with her fiancé (Joe Wolf at Wise Sons Deli) in the Outer Richmond—stand by for more on that soon.

And over in Oakland, ~PICÁN~ has a new chef, Sophina Uong, previously at Waterbar, 900 Grayson in Berkeley, and Betty Zlatchin Catering. New dishes include Lake Pontchartrain blue crab profiteroles with hickory-smoked pimento cream, and smoked Berkshire pork belly with Creole mustard, cherry piccalilli, and pan-fried hasty pudding made from grits.