Elizabeth Falkner

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Elizabeth Falkner
Elizabeth Falkner and Scharffen Berger (3964120058).jpg
Elizabeth Falkner (middle) and Scharffen Berger
Born February 12, 1966
San Francisco
Education San Francisco Art Institute
Website www.elizabethfalkner.com
Culinary career
Cooking style Pioneering American, Italian, Mediterranean, breads, Neapolitan Pizza, Pastries, Cakes, and California

Elizabeth Falkner (born in San Francisco) is a consulting chef working and living in New York who has been cooking since 1990. She frequently appears as a competitor and sometimes a judge on many of the cooking competitions on television from "The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs", 2011 and "The Next Iron Chef, Redemption", 2012, (both Food Network), as well as "Chopped All Stars", (Food Network), "Top Chef Masters", "Top Chef", "Top Chef: Just Desserts", (Bravo), "Top Chef, Canada", "Food Network Challenge", (Food Network) on. Falkner was the executive/chef/pastry chef and managing partner of Citizen Cake for 14 years, and executive chef and co-owner/co-managing partner of Orson for 4 years, restaurants located in San Francisco, California, U.S.. Both establishments closed in 2011.[1] In 2012 Falkner won First Prize at the World Pizza Championships in Naples, Italy with her innovative "Finocchio Flower Power" pizza. Falkner relocated to Brooklyn, NY in 2012 and was employed at Krescendo for seven months.


Falkner graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1989 with a BFA in fine arts. She began her cooking career in 1990 as the chef at a French Bistro, Cafe Claude, before moving into French fine dining at Masa's with Chef Julian Serrano. In 1993, Falkner became the pastry chef at Elka in the Miyako Hotel, and in 1994 Falkner was the pastry chef under Chef Traci Des Jardins at Drew Nieporent's Rubicon.

In 1997, Falkner opened Citizen Cake at its first location in the South of Market district of San Francisco. It remained there until 2000 when she moved the restaurant to 399 Grove Street, in the Hayes Valley district. In 2001 to 2002, Falkner taught professional pastry courses in Japan; and, in 2002 to 2003, she was the chef on a team doing research for American/European pastries for Barilla in Parma, Italy.

In 2006, Falkner appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef, a reality show on the Bravo network. In 2005, Falkner competed on Iron Chef America, Tyler's Ultimate, $40 a Day, Sugar Rush, Best Of, Bay Cafe, Top Chef-Pastry and others. She has cooked at the James Beard House in New York City, the Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel, CA, and the Chef's Holiday at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. In 2010, Falkner relocated Citizen Cake to 2125 Fillmore Street.

In 2011, Falkner closed both of her San Francisco establishments, Citizen Cake and Orson,[2] and moved to New York, where she opened two short-lived Italian restaurants, Krescendo in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, and Corvo Bianco on the Upper West Side, [3] leaving each after seven months.[4][5]

Falkner identifies as lesbian .[6][7]


Citizen Cake, and Falkner in particular, are known for original and creative cake designs. As Star Chefs describes her cakes:

Three-dimensional cakes, off-center cakes, cakes with sugar shards jutting from them, a caramelized sugar teeter-totter balancing equal rounds of fruit sorbet and crème fraîche. Cakes shaped like the Guggenheim Museum. Avant-garde pastry. Dessert artist Elizabeth Falkner takes these artistically inspired visions them into culinary delights. "It is not my tendency to make anything round," she says, and her cakes are anything but. Topped with her signature explosion of sugar spirals, pulled sugar ribbons and fruit tuiles, Elizabeth Falkner’s dessert creations have become the talk of the pastry world. [1]

She was commissioned to make a birthday cake for Muhammad Ali in February, 2012. She has made cakes for several celebrities and for the California Museum of Art, as well as a cake for Sharon Stone's birthday. She often makes cakes that seem to defy gravity and uses unique ingredients such as pepper, anise, passion fruit, pears, and kumquats. Her desserts have equally unique names such as "A Chocolate Work Orange," "Get Ready Cake," "After Midnight Chocolate Cake," "Bleeding Heart," and "Tropical Shag."

Falkner is also known for her sugar art. From Star Chefs:

She uses an ultrafine baker’s sugar to create her signature pulled sugar ribbons, roses, cages, spirals and tuiles. Stalactites of sugar, teetering sugar shards, sweet hard and soft meringues. Glistening, colorful--they make you stop and look and gaze with awe before taking that first bite. [2]



  • Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (2007) Ten Speed Press, photography by Frankie Frankeny
  • Cooking Off the Clock: Recipes from My Downtime (2012) Ten Speed Press, photography by Frankie Frankeny


  1. ^ "Elizabeth Falkner Leaving for New York". SFGate. June 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Citizen Cake to Close at the End of the Month". SFGate. December 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Chef Elizabeth Falkner, from Citizen Cake to Krescendo to Corvo Bianco", Serious Eats, Jacqueline Raposo, Aug 13, 2013
  4. ^ "Elizabeth Falkner OUT at Krescendo in Boerum Hill", Eater, Greg Morabito May 2, 2013
  5. ^ "Runaway Chef Elizabeth Falkner OUT at Corvo Bianco", Eater, Greg Morabito Feb 11, 2014
  6. ^ Ask AfterEllen.com (March 24, 2009) | AfterEllen.com. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  7. ^ Jan/Feb 2005 | The World's Great Gay Chefs | Features | OutTraveler.com. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  8. ^ Culinary Hall of Fame Induction

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