Elizabeth Koch, Owner
My love of cooking began as a child. My mother, though not a particularly adventurous cook with 4 young children to feed, was born and raised in San Francisco introduced us to Dungeness crab, artichokes, avocados and other foods available in Northern California even in the early 60s.
I early on became the family baker – my mother had received a KitchenAid mixer in 1951; the only Kitchen Aid I saw in any home the entire time I was growing up! (Now, of course, everyone has one in a designer color – hers is still running and much stronger and quieter than those made today). I began with cake mixes and soon realized that the recipes from Betty Crocker were almost as easy and much more delicious than the mixes! I made chocolate chip cookies and brownies and Mexican Wedding cookies and rum balls for Christmas. I loved sweets!
Cooking was not a career option at that time in my family. I was fortunate to be accepted at the University of California, Berkeley and the move to the Bay Area began the next step in my culinary awakening – Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in 1971 and as students we saved and saved for each special and sparkling evening in her wonderful little dining room. None of us had ever experienced such wonderful combinations of fresh foods and wines, such expert yet unintimidating service.
We ate seafood at Spenger’s when it was still owned by the family and drank Irish Coffee at Brennan’s Pub. We drove to North Beach in San Francisco and stood in line on the sidewalk outside Little Joe’s drinking chianti from tumblers while we waited to sit at the crowded counter 3 feet from the cooks as they made us pesto, and grilled zuchinni and amazing chicken parmesan.
I actually began my culinary career while a student of Journalism, not realizing it might be more than a fun and creative way to earn extra money! After graduating and moving to Santa Fe, I quite happily continued working in restaurants. I worked as a line cook, and baker, and soon began doing specialty baking for various restaurants and individual clients. I met Duke Klauk when he opened 10,000 Waves and wanted lemon bars, brownies and cookies for his new venture.
After 4 years front-of-the-house at the wonderful Victor’s Restaurant in the early 80s, I was hired to help open the Zia Diner on Guadalupe Street. Our vision for the Zia from the first day was that it would be a home away from home for Santa Fe locals – a place that had the easy comfort of the diners from the 50s. With years of hard work and good intentions, we have now celebrated our 20th Anniversary and look forward to 20 more!
After catering for our Zia Diner customers for years, we purchased Angel Food Catering in the fall of 2005 from Shirley Pisacane, having respected and admired Shirley as a chef for all the years I’ve lived in Santa Fe (since 1978). We have continued Shirley’s tradition of delicious, seasonal food with a Mediterranean sensibility as well as expanding our offerings of new menus from Southwestern to Asian.
In 2007, we expanded the sweet side of our business with a pastry shop specializing in special event cakes, as well as chocolate truffles, marzipan and delicious cookies. Look for more soon!