Chef Grégoire Jacquet opens SOCCA OVEN in Berkeley’s new Epicurious Garden BERKELEY – March 18, 2006 – Chef Grégoire Jacquet has created another new concept in takeout dining with the launch of SOCCA OVEN today in Berkeley’s new Epicurious Garden. A popular street food in Nice, soccas have been around since at least the mid1800s, when vendors would roll their wooden carts between job sites and cook them on the spot in charcoal ovens as a mid-morning snack for workers. Traditionally, soccas are rustic crepes or pancakes made exclusively from chick-pea flour, then baked quickly at extremely high heat, much like pizzas. Chickpeas were first grown in ancient Egypt, then spread throughout the Mediterranean by the sea trade. Today, soccas can be found in such other countries as Italy (where they’re called farinata), Spain (calentita) and even Argentina (faina). For his new restaurant, Jacquet is giving classic soccas a new dimension by topping them with marinated and grilled or sautéed vegetables, meat, chicken or fish. Like Jacquet’s popular GRÉGOIRE Restaurant, the SOCCA OVEN will emphasize certified natural or organic ingredients, including regionally-grown fresh produce and wild-caught fish. In addition, Jacquet plans to use only the finest imported chick-pea flour, olive oil, and cracked pepper. To give his soccas a crispy, crusty, golden-thin bottom, Jacquet has equipped the SOCCA OVEN with a hand-crafted gas-fueled Wood Stone oven designed to provide a wood-fired flavor.