Waiting outside Liberty Station I watch as the numerous commercial flights take off from Lindbergh Field. At times the sound is deafening. It is an early Spring morning and the weather is perfect. People are coming and going into the market. But I am waiting on one person. She is extremely talented and bit edgy. Lori Sauer is someone I have wanted to work with since her days at George’s in La Jolla. This is going to be fun interview.
Tell me a little about your upbringing and culinary background
“I started cooking really young with my Mom. It was pretty apparent that cooking was what I was going to do. I tried the savory side for a bit but that wasn’t my thing, so pastry was it for me. Funny but I even thought for a bit I wanted to be a truck driver. We took a lot of road trips when I was young and when I would see a trucker go by I would do the universal sign to have him blow his horn. I would even talk to them at the truck stops. I don't know maybe that’s why I like trucker hats so much. But obviously that didn't happen.
I started cooking when I was sixteen which was a manager of a coffee shop. I wasn’t baking all that much and was mostly box type baking. But that was my first big experience. Eventually went to culinary school and then after worked multiple jobs. I delivered the newspaper at night and cooked in the morning. Made nothing, just trying to survive. I worked in gnarly kitchens with angry chefs. I've been cooking in San Diego for 10 years. I was doing pastry as Jr sous at Pechanga for 3 1/2 years. Then I opened Anthology with Bradley Ogden. From there I went with Jeff Jackson and eventually ended up at George’s for 6 years. Currently I am corporate executive pastry chef for the Blue Bridge Hospitality Group.”
What inspires you?
“Art. Other people’s art (she say’s this as blast of sound comes over head from a jet taking off).”
Who do you look up to?
“Super bizzare but it’s always been Francisco Migoya. I’ve only just met him recently. He so artistic but also scientific.
What are your thoughts about the label of female chef?
“I was one of the boys. Did everything they did, cigarette breaks, got trashed after work, stripped joints, etc. So I don’t really care about the label female chef. I did just read a magazine article about all the amazing chefs in San Diego and the list was all men. But whatever. I just don’t like it when someone gets graced for something and they’ve never worked in a kitchen. They have nothing behind them except a marketing department. That’s the thing I don't like.”
What kind of advice would you give to the aspiring chef?
“If they were thinking about going to culinary school I would say not to go. You can learn skills by just doing, starting off as a dishwasher. I think most legitimate chefs would take you by the hand and show you choose skills. I mean we all want to be mentors.”
If you weren’t a chef what would you be doing?
“Thats a tough one but I’ve always wanted to be a cosmetologist. (We pause as another dam jet flies over head) My mom was a cosmetologist. She told me no right from the get go. But if I were to retire from pastry now I would do pilates and work with wounded veterans.”
What would your last dish be if you could have anything?
“That’s a really difficult one because I like so many things but definitely for dessert it would be doughnuts and ice cream.”
Lori is cool. I like Lori. She wears her emotions on her sleeve. She is somewhat of a throw back. She doesn’t give a shit about what people think of her. She is super passionate about her craft and a very giving person. In some ways we are a lot alike. Well I mean we both like trucker hats and doughnuts.