Wednesday, March 30 - 6-8pm
Join us on Wed, March 30, 6-8pm, for the return of our Community Salon at the Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion! Enjoy wine, cheese, conversation and sharing – and learn from our panel of two parents who rediscovered their careers through their passions: Patrick Ascaso (Owner of Le Marais Bakery and Lower School Parent) and Natalie Horwath (Co-owner of Matterhorn Restaurant and Lower School Parent). The panel will be moderated by our very own Julie Strong and Steve Dini.
Patrick Ascaso, Owner of Le Marais Bakery and La Grande Creperie, and Lower School Parent
Natalie Horwath, Co-owner of Matterhorn Restaurant and Lower School Parent
Julie Strong, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning
Stephen Dini, Director of Advancement
Patrick Ascaso had studied Business Management at NYU and was a Director at an online retail company, when he decided in 2011 that he wanted more. Originally from Arpajon, France, Patrick recalls one of his favorite childhood memories: “As a child, I was the one to wake up early in the morning and run down the road for the baguettes and croissants that I would bring home to my family.” He sought to recreate the boulangerie of his childhood and opened Le Marais Bakery in San Francisco in July 2013. Using only the best organic and local ingredients and the traditional methods of natural levain and long fermentation, Patrick now offers classic French dishes and pastries at three Bay Area locations, as well as shipping nationwide through Williams Sonoma. Patrick is also opening this month his Grande Creperie in the Ferry Building, offering a selection of traditional and artisanal French crepes, using seasonal Bay Area grown ingredients and butter from France.
Patrick shares, “We start with whole ingredients, because the best meals are about letting those flavors come through. We do not use a lot of salt in our food, our pastries have less sugar than most, and we do not use artificial flavorings.” Oprah has twice placed Le Marais goods on “The O List”, celebrating this “famous bakery, their slice of heaven baked goods and sinfully good croissants.”
Natalie Horwath – Co-owner of Matterhorn Restaurant and Lower School Parent
Natalie, along with her husband Jason, owns the Matterhorn Restaurant and Bakery in San Francisco. Although Natalie was surrounded by the business of food during her youth (her parents owned and operated grocery stores and a restaurant), she went to college for accounting and worked at Ernst & Young, KPMG, and Gap Inc., eventually earning her CPA license.
In 2008, Natalie decided it was time to make a professional change and enrolled in the Baking and Pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America at St. Helena. Shortly after graduation, Natalie and Jason moved to Switzerland for Jason's work. Natalie had the opportunity to work for two boulangerie/patisseries in Geneva, prior to welcoming their son Nathan (now a 5th grader at French American). It was during their time in Switzerland where Natalie and Jason fell in love with the cuisine, culture, and people and had hoped to bring an authentic fondue and raclette experience back to San Francisco one day.
Upon return to San Francisco in 2013, Natalie focused her time on raising Nathan, along with selling baked goods at farmers markets, hosting cheese fondue pop-up dinners, and working at women-owned restaurants including Jardinière, 20th Century Cafe, and Kantine—all with the intention of one day opening a place of her own.
One night, Natalie came across an article about the operators of the Matterhorn restaurant retiring and therefore, closing their doors. Intrigued by the Swiss authenticity of the restaurant (it was built in 1987 by a gentleman from Switzerland and contains Swiss wood, lighting, and artifacts) Natalie and Jason jumped on the opportunity to take over the lease. Today, the Matterhorn has been transformed into a restaurant experience Natalie and Jason are proud of and honored to share with the San Francisco community.