Chef Nancy Silverton began her delicious career in Sonoma, California, where she started working in a vegetarian kitchen in her college dormitory. After discovering cooking was her passion, she decided to pursue an “official” culinary education, and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in London, England. Graduating with a solid foundation in culinary arts, Silverton returned to the states to begin working at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica, CA under Jimmy Brinkeley. It was there that Silverton discovered her passion for pastry and returned to Europe to attended Lenotre Culinary Institute in Plasir, France to perfect her skills. Upon returning to the states Nancy was invited by Wolfgang Puck to be the head pastry chef at his world renowned southern California restaurant, Spago.
In June of 1989, Silverton opened the restaurant Campanile with partners Mark Peel and Manfred Krankl; an institution that all Angelenos cherish to this day. When developing the restaurant menu and sourcing premium ingredients and vendors, Silverton soon realized that the same bread she tasted and studied in Europe was nowhere to be found in Los Angeles. In fact, there was no authentic artisan bread in all of Southern California. Longing to serve a crisp crust and soft airy interior, with the tang of an all-natural sourdough starter, Silverton began teaching herself the ancient art of sourdough bread baking.
Little did Silverton know that her lesson in baking would become the nation’s top artisan bakery; on January 1, 1989, La Brea Bakery opened it’s doors in the 1500 square foot storefront bakery adjacent to Campanile. Silverton has developed hundreds of recipes, keeping the shelves stocked at La Brea Bakery. Today, as La Brea Bakery celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary, our freshly baked breads are available in 17 different countries, and maintain the same signature taste, texture, and quality that was born in on South La Brea Avenue so many years ago.
In 1990, Silverton was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. These days, you can still find Silverton busy creating and innovating in the kitchen. Most recently, she has completed her 7th cookbook, “A Twist of the Wrist”, released in March of 2007.
In November of 2006, Silverton opened her first new restaurant since departing Campanile in 2004. Pizzeria Mozza, one half of a two-part restaurant with partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, opened to rave reviews. Osteria Mozza, quickly followed in July of 2007, and was nominated as Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation for that year.
Silverton is also heavily involved in the Garden School Project of Los Angeles and the Meals-On-Wheels program in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. By supporting the Garden School Project’s commitment to nutritional education in public grade schools and raising funds and awareness for the elderly that are fed each day by Meals-On-Wheels, Silverton is dedicated to sharing her love of food with two very different generations. Silverton practices what she preaches. “Simple, all-natural ingredients lead to artful nutrition.”
In 2003 Silverton was nominated as a member of Marshall Fields (now Macy’s) Culinary Council. Macy’s has since opened six La Brea Bakery café kiosks: three in Chicago, one in Detroit, and two in Minneapolis, all inspired by the Original Bakery in Los Angeles, CA opened by Silverton in 1989.
Silverton has an amazing capacity for embracing the beauty of wonderful food, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for the rest of her ingredient inspired life. Each loaf, each leaf of lettuce, each lunch, is an entire world of its own waiting to be discovered, and she will never stop exploring.
Nancy Silverton has written five cookbooks:
Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery
Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery
Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book
Twist of the Wrist
Nancy Silverton has co-authored two books with Mark Peel.
Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton At Home; Two Chefs Cook for Family and Friends
The Food of Campanile
Nancy Silverton has received many awards including:
2006 LA Times, The West 100: The most influential people in Southern California
2005 WCR Golden Bowl Award, recognizes excellence in baking and pastry arts
2004 International Star Diamond Award for Outstanding Hospitality
2003 RCA Pioneer Award
2003 James Beard, nominated for Outstanding Service
2002 James Beard, nominated for Outstanding Service
2001 James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Award, Campanile
1999 Bon Appetite Best of Food & Entertaining, "Food Artisan"
1999 Nation's Restaurant News "50 New Taste Makers"
1997 IACP Julia Childs Cookbook Awards Nominee
1997 James Beard, Nominee, Best Cookbook of the Year, Baking
1997 DiRoNA, Distinguished Restaurant of North America
1996 Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Award
1995 Chocolatier Magazine, One of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs of the Year
1995 Southern California Restaurant Writers, Restaurant of the Year & Restaurateur of the Year
1994 Los Angeles Culinary Master of the Year, The 1994 Fine Spirit Wine & Food Tasting Exhibition
1990 James Beard "Who's Who in American Cooking"
1990 James Beard Best Pastry Chef of the Year
1990 Food & Wine Magazine, Best New Chefs