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S E C T I O N 2 Community S TO R I E S A B O U T P E O P L E A N D E V E N T S I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y Story by Dave Boyce Photos by Michelle Le T here are professions in which badges from a school of some kind have become a necessity: medicine, the practice of the law, the enforcement of the law. Cooking for restaurants is heading that way, says Executive Chef William Ruiz of the Woodside Bakery & Cafe. But for now, for himself, for longtime Pastry Chef Jesus Mendoza and for Sous Chef Ismael Guido, they don’t need no stinking badges. Mr. Mendoza, who is 35, came to the Woodside Bakery 20 years ago to wash dishes, and moved up by proving himself at various pastry specialties. Mr. Guido, 42, started as a dishwasher 18 years ago; he has some sous chef duties but not the long hours, and for a reason: He also cooks at a Stanford University dining hall. Mr. Ruiz, 48, puts in long hours at the cafe and says he refined his craft while working for other chefs. He’s been the head chef at the bakery and cafe since summer 2012. At times, it’s probably a high-wire act, but always with a net: it’s a family place with a menu that changes slowly, warmth that endures, and regulars who order the same thing time after time. “I think part of the magic here is being a family business. That means a lot to people. It’s like comfort food,” says Jan Sweyer, who with her brother Mark Sweyer bought the bakery and cafe out of bankruptcy in 2006. Their joint career began with the purchase of a deli in Burlingame in 1976 and went on to include an Irish pub in Cupertino and a bar and a cafe, both in Redwood City. They grew up in Woodside, went to community schools and have worked with their classmates’ children. “We have personally hired, and fired, the children of the children we grew up with,” Ms. Sweyer says. “This is our home. This is home. We’re deep in these roots.” Continued on next page Executive Chef William Ruiz braises lamb shanks in one of the kitchens at the Woodside Bakery & Cafe. [OabS`a SELF-MADE CULINARY MAGIC WITHOUT CULINARY DEGREES AT WOODSIDE BAKERY & CAFE The seating area of Woodside Bakery & Cafe at 3052 Woodside Road in downtown Woodside. February 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN13

The Almanac 02.20.2013 - Section 2

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