eat. write. smile.

– three things I love to do. Come with!

Transition back after the BasqueStage…

After living the first half of 2012 in Pais Vasco, I have returned to California.  I came home with excitement, ready to start in earnest my cooking career. I left with a twinge of sadness, though, because my time in Pais Vasco was so rewarding.

Donostia’s La Concha beach, in all her turquoise glory

From a three Michelin-starred kitchen to a pintxos bar, from a cheese maker to cooking classes in gastronomic societies: Elisha Ben-Haim and I saw almost every facet of Basque food culture.

Having a laugh on a break at Martin Berasategui with James from England

I know how to work in a stressful, demanding kitchen. I also learned how to operate some of the best kitchen equipment in the business.  In terms of palate, I can now taste the nuances between different Idiazabals.

Elisha makes Idiazabal cheese at Martin Txiki.

I learned how to make blood sausage with an elegant senora who has owned a butcher shop for fifty years. I picked sweet peas, lettuces and edible flowers on a hilltop farm in Getaria.

Guisantes en Getaria- picking sweet peas with Darwin.

Most importantly, I met motivated, talented and generous people who value food and celebrate it in ways I admire. Thank you for welcoming me and teaching me.

I wish our successors, Luuk Hoffman and Brenden Darby, the best of luck in their BasqueStage adventures. Suerte y animo!!

It’s been a whirlwind getting back into life in the Golden State, but I’m finally settled with two exciting jobs:

Inspired by my baking stints in TPT Bakery and the dynamic pop-up The Loaf in Donostia, I’m working as a morning baker at artisan Mayfield Bakery. Sourdough mother starters, laminated doughs and chocolate tarts fill my mornings, and I’m learning that baking is damn hard work.

a batch of Morning Buns at Mayfield

In the afternoons, I head outdoors as the new Garden Coordinator at Castilleja School.  We are developing an Edible Schoolyard curriculum that grows vegetables in the school garden and teaches students how to cook them.

Planting in the vegetable garden.

My schedule is full, but after the BasqueStage, I feel energized, prepared and motivated to continue my career and keep learning every day.

High fivin’ our last night on La Concha

California, I’m so glad to be home. But Euskadi- I’ll be back as soon as I can!

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6 comments on “Transition back after the BasqueStage…

  1. Roxanne Rosensteel
    August 30, 2012

    Ruth! I’m in Palo Alto all the time. I’ll definitely have to come by your bakery. Glad you had a great time.

  2. jennawhunter
    August 30, 2012

    Lovely! Welcome back!

  3. SGrossB@comcast.net
    August 30, 2012

    Welcome home, Ruthie! Someday we’ll catch sight of you flying between Mayfield Bakery and Castilleja!

    ooxx, Susan.

  4. James pickford
    August 30, 2012

    Nice pictures Ruth!

  5. Anne
    August 30, 2012

    Full and very interesting lineup! Amazing stuff Ruth!

  6. brendendarby
    August 30, 2012

    So awesome thanks for the good wishes! It makes this even more awesome to know that you guys are doing so well afterwards!

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