Danville Express

Living - June 22, 2007

Not just desserts

Danville confectioner goes bigtime with favorites from Patrick David

by Jordan M. Doronila

The savory dessert is ready: Chocolate soufflé and vanilla ice cream Ö Split the soufflé and chocolate syrup oozes onto the plate ... Mmmm.

Local entrepreneurs Amy Phillips and Patrick David Schoolcraft have formed a new line of frozen desserts called "Patrick David's Fine Foods," which includes chocolate soufflé and chocolate chip brioche bread pudding.

The desserts are Schoolcraft's most popular items at his highly acclaimed Patrick David's Restaurant and Bar at the Danville Livery on Sycamore Valley Road. They are gluten-free and have no preservatives. The desserts are being sold in all the Costco's in Northern California, 17 Whole Foods Markets, plus Lunardi's and Draeger's stores, said Phillips.

They also have been sold to the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills and to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. And the desserts are scheduled to appear on the QVC television channel.

Schoolcraft and fellow chef Jeff Mahin created the sweet treats.

"These two desserts are fantastic," said Phillips, an Alamo resident. "They are packaged in single serving containers. The desserts go from oven to plate in 20 minutes or less."

"I really love the soufflé," she added.

Phillips and Schoolcraft knew each other because their children went to the same schools in the community, Phillips said, adding she worked in real estate and marketing but enjoyed the desserts at Schoolcraft's restaurant.

She wanted a better solution for offering a gourmet experience at home, and the two chefs developed the desserts that catered to her idea.

"There are people across the country just like me," Phillips said. "We love to entertain at home, but between working and being a mom it has been hard to find the time to create gourmet desserts."

"As a huge admirer of Patrick's work, I knew his ability to create unique mouthwatering desserts, and my sales and marketing expertise could bring a restaurant-style dessert home for us all to enjoy," she added.

Phillips said she used her business connections throughout the Bay Area to get the desserts sold in the big retail chains. She mentioned that getting Whole Foods to buy their product was difficult.

"It was a tough interview," she said.

But she managed to develop rapport and told the executives at Whole Foods: "You've got to see my product."

Eventually, they tried it - and they liked it, and purchased stocks of the desserts.

She is persistent, said Mahin.

Meanwhile at Costco, she noted, 500 have been sold on one day.

Schoolcraft has owned and operated a variety of restaurants for more than 30 years. Prior to opening his own restaurant and catering company, he spent time in some of New York and San Francisco's prestigious kitchens.

He has recently returned from New York City, where he studied with the renowned Chef Daniel Boulud of Restaurant Daniel.

Schoolcraft's restaurant, which has been operating for 11 years, has been named "best new restaurant" by Diablo Magazine. He also has a full service catering and event planning company.

His wife Laura had 16 years of experience in sales and marketing, and partnered with him to start the restaurant venture, helping develop corporate catering.

"Laura and Patrick's first love is the catering, and you are more likely to see them at an event than in the restaurant," states their Web site.

The birth of Patrick David's Restaurant and Bar took place in April 1996. Schoolcraft developed a food menu of Asian Pacific Rim, which was well-received in the community.

He recently completed an expansion and renovation by adding a bar and a new Montague Excalibur island stove.

The Schoolcrafts live in Danville with their two children.

Patrick David's Fine Foods plans to expand its line of products with hors d'oeuvres, entrees and more desserts. Phillips said the chocolate soufflé and chocolate brioche bread pudding are neck and neck in sales.

"We are local," Phillips said. "Our goal is to bring it home across the country."

To find more information about Patrick David's Fine Foods, visit www.patrickdavidsfinefoods.com/.

Contact Jordan M. Doronila


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