Food

Post image for Chantale Doinel becomes chef in a second career

Chantale Doinel has been an esthetician in Menlo Park since 2000, and many know her in that role. So, it may surprise some to learn she’s also a chef.

Her second profession is something that came initially out of necessity. The financial crisis of 2008 saw her business plummet. “Facials are thought of as a luxury, and my bookings fell 50%,” she explained. “What kept me going was cooking for people. Growing up, my mother had taught me well.

“I also started offering French cooking classes for small groups. The class included the preparation of a dinner from beginning to end.

“People started calling me ‘chef,’ and I’d tell them ‘I may be a good cook but I’m not a chef.’ Slowly the idea of returning to school, which I did at age 62, attending the International Culinary Center.”

Chantale, who also lives in Menlo Park, apprenticed at the Village Pub in Woodside under then chef de cuisine Orlando Pagán, whose praises she sings. “Working with him significantly contributed to my growth and helped me define what I wanted to do as a chef. I learned how to harmonize food, about presentation. My school was very good, but working with Orlando, I learned what perfection is.”

Today Chantale caters events like a recent wedding at the Bohemian Grove and The Taste of Woodside. She also enjoys doing large dinner parties. “Now I have two jobs,” she said. “Tuesday through Saturday I do skin care. My work as chef and caterer is always planned in advance. So neither interferes with the other.

“I love people and love pleasing people. When I put food on the table for people, they leave happier than when they came. I’m proud of what I do!”

You can learn more about Chantale’s style of cooking on her website and on Instagram.

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2018

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Getting a first look at Park James Hotel O+V’s patio courtyard – and taste testing its food and drink options

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The Park James Hotel in Menlo Park is now open as is the lovely patio bar, O+V Courtyard, from 5:00 to 11:00 pm daily. Oak + Violet restaurant, featuring California farm-to-fork cuisine, will be open for dinner starting Monday, October 8. Breakfast, lunch, and brunch to follow in the weeks ahead. There is free valet parking […]

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Current exhibit at Cafe Zoë features artwork by ARTogether workshop participants

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Through at least the first week of October, Cafe Zoë is hosting a special exhibition displaying works of art from ARTogether workshop participants and photos from the workshops themselves. We stopped by yesterday afternoon to visit with Menlo Park residents Alexandra Pettet (second from left) and her husband, Hossein Namazi (right), who serve on the […]

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Learn about Filipino Cooking, vegan-style on Sept. 22

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Can Filipino cuisine be vegan, healthy, and delicious – without losing its soul? Chef RG Enriquez says yes! Learn more at the Menlo Park Library on Sept. 22 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. Enriquez, a self-styled “passionate purveyor of vegan Filipino recipes,” will take you along step-by-step as she prepares her own take on […]

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Blessed be the fruit – “Handmaid’s Tale” Emmy snack

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The Handmaid’s Tale is nominated for 20 Emmy Awards this year. It is cause for celebration or as they would say in Gilead, “Praise Be!” It is a dark and suspenseful story, and I felt like we needed a little brightness and levity to enjoy during the show, which is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 17 at 5:00 […]

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Good wine, good food, good vibe at Taste of Woodside

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The Rotary Club of Woodside Portola Valley hosted Taste of Woodside last Sunday evening with proceeds benefiting the Club’s many school, community and international projects. Held on the grounds of the Woodside Village Church, the event featured wine tasting, music by the Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers (below) and a dinner catered by Chantal. The neighborhood kids proved […]

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Much anticipated Camper opens in Menlo Park

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Chef-Partner Greg Kuzia-Carmel had just returned from the Palo Alto farmers market when we encountered him last Saturday at his new restaurant, Camper, which officially opens Labor Day weekend in Menlo Park. But if you go to OpenTable you’ll discover a few reservations available starting today and over the next few days (at least as […]

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Tian Mayimin brings artisan bread to the Menlo Park Farmers Market

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At last, there’s bread to buy at the Menlo Park Farmers Market. Very good bread baked in a Willows neighborhood kitchen that’s been certified by the County of San Mateo. The baker is Tian Mayimin, who we sat down with on a recent Sunday after what she’d brought to the market was sold out (as […]

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New chef comes to Mademoiselle Colette in downtown Menlo Park

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Nicolas Agraz is the new Executive Chef at Mademoiselle Colette in downtown Menlo Park, bringing many years of experience with the renowned top chefs in Paris, namely Pierre Hermé, Christophe Michalak as well as Christophe Vasseur (chef at the bakery “Du Pain et Des Idées” that serves the restaurant Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée). Leveraging his passion for amazing pastries and fine Parisian gastronomy, […]

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Melody Hu launches Petit Bakery with Asian mochi the “secret sauce”

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A new bakery springs from the prolific rental kitchen of Studio Cake in Menlo Park. At the beginning of the year, Melody Hu launched her patisserie business, Petit Bakery Co. A native of Taiwan who moved to the Bay Area in her teens, she admits to falling into — rather than planning — her newest […]

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Local writer Rebecca Bloom co-authors “The Anti-Cook Book”

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Menlo Park resident Rebecca Bloom is a lawyer turned writer. Her writing “partner-in-crime” and one-time college roommate, Shelly Onderdonk, is a veterinarian. It’s natural that the two, neither chef nor food critic, would combine for a new book, The Anti-Cook Book. And not to be mis-understood: They are not against cooks, meaning the people who […]

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