Guest Editor | William Werner
William Werner - the brainchild of pastry power-house Craftsman & Wolves - joins us as this weeks Guest Editor. After growing up in Florida with aspirations of a medical career, William fell heart-first into cooking after being introduced to the culinary world at a young age. After working with a slew of world-class restaurants - from The Ritz-Carlton to San Francisco's Quince, Werner opened Craftsman & Wolves in SF's Mission District where he has garnered praise from the likes of GQ & Food & Wine magazines and earned himself a nomination for Jame's Beards "Outstanding Pastry Chef" in 2013.
What drew you to the world of pastries? Where do you find inspiration for the boundary-pushing ideas people see at Craftsman & Wolves?
After cooking on the savory side for a while, I enjoyed the idea of not going home at 1AM smelling of fish, so I started assisting the pastry chef at the restaurant that I was working. It just clicked. I fell in love with the creative process and controlled chaos that is pastry. My inspiration comes from all over… conversations with my staff, market stands, a few too many whiskeys, and the morning walk with our dog Belle.
I feel being passionate about one’s craft can become all consuming, and you find yourself constantly looking for the next idea to feed the fire.
Congratulations on the recent announcement of your forthcoming opening in Culver City! What drew you to Los Angeles and Culver City in particular?
An opportunity arose to be a part of the new Platform project in Culver City and we liked the company that we would be with and the design of the space. Since it's opening, Craftsman and Wolves has had fans and supporters in Southern California, so we’re stoked to offer them something closer to home.
It’s summer! What are some of your favorite seasonal ingredients and preparations?
Tomatoes and stone fruit! Summer for me means ingredient driven dishes with minimal to no cooking. Tomatoes, torn mint, peaches, burrata, salt and olive oil is one that I’ve been enjoying a lot of lately.
The Rebel Within has fast become a signature item of yours – did you expect it to be such a hit? Do you feel a responsibility to keep it on the menu permanently?
I had a feeling that people would be responsive but never imagined the loyalty it has gained. Yes, I do feel an obligation to keep the Rebel Within on permanently…it’s a love/hate relationship.
How has the pastry world changed since the opening of Craftsman & Wolves for you and as an industry?
There has been a dynamic shift in the scene - more awareness of the craft followed by a more adventuresome palette. This is a great scenario for CAW, as we like to ride a little left of center, challenging ourselves and our guests.
It’s Happy Hour. What’s your drink of choice?
Old Fashioned with rye, no garnish.
Do you have a favorite local artisanal treat?
4505 Meats Chicharrones are a staple in our pantry.
If you could choose one of August’s featured ingredients to cook with, what would you choose and what would you make?
Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ Sauce > any excuse to make ribs.
Midnight snack of choice?
Peanut Butter, right off the spoon out of the jar.
What’s up next for you? Any exciting culinary travels or ventures to share?
I have a slew of demos and events, from Vancouver to New York, filling up the remainder of the year. I’m really looking forward to inspiring meals and new friends.
Stay up-to-date with William + Craftsman & Wolves