An unassuming pizza place in Echo Park is home to one of the best new chefs in America, according to Food & Wine magazine.
Pastry chef Hannah Ziskin works in the back of Quarter Sheets making world-class cakes, which she calls “slabs.”
Each slab is meticulously crafted and thoughtfully prepared and have a tendency to sell out, according to her profile in the prominent food magazine.
Among her most popular and beloved offerings is a slab called “Gâteau Dirt,” which hearkens back to school cafeteria “dirt cups” — if that cafeteria was staffed by some of the most innovative and talented chefs in the world.
Ziskin got her start in the industry working at Chez Panisse, a gourmet restaurant in Berkeley that is credited as one of the innovators and founders of the farm-to-table movement.
A UC Berkeley student at the time, Ziskin was hired by the famed restaurant after writing a letter and requesting a job. Since then, her career has blossomed with stops at Michelin Star-restaurants and other fine-dining establishments.
Ziskin and her partner, Aaron Lindell, moved to Los Angeles and opened Quarter Sheets. Lindell handles the pizza menu and Ziskin makes the restaurant’s celebrated confectionaries.
In her Food & Wine profile, author Khushbu Shah said Ziskin’s “slabs” have reached brand-name status similar to high-end fashion items.
“I regularly receive texts saying a new slab has dropped when a new flavor combination is posted on the restaurant’s Instagram feed, as if it’s a rare sneaker,” Shah writes.
Quarter Sheets is in its second year of business and doing well enough that Ziskin is imagining what a possible expansion or second location might look like, while staying faithful to the formula that seems to be working.
“While Quarter Sheets is a pizza shop that has good desserts, I think that what makes sense for the next thing is a bakery that has great pizza,” Ziskin says.
For the complete profile in Food & Wine, click here.
Ziskin is one of 11 people in the U.S. to be named to the magazine’s illustrious list. Previous chefs to receive the honor include celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio of “Top Chef” fame, Nobu Matsuhisa, the famed-sushi chef and restaurateur, and David Chang of Momofuku and the Netflix documentary series “Ugly Delicious.”
Food & Wine’s Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis said this latest crop of honorees represents a “profound shift” in the industry.
“They’re not only creating exceptional food and dining experiences for their customers, but also cultivating nurturing environments for their teams,” Lewis said. “As a result, their restaurants are places of celebration, education, and joy. We are thrilled to showcase their excellence and innovation.”
The Best New Chefs list is a monthslong endeavor with a long and comprehensive evaluation process. This year, Shah traveled to 23 cities and dozens of restaurants to compile her list, and she found that the most interesting restaurants were ones that focused on more than just the food.
“There is no compromise on integrity. There is no compromise on leadership. And that commitment—to vision, values, and ambition—carries over into the dining room, where there’s zero compromise on the big flavors and groundbreaking cooking that have defined every class of F&W Best New Chefs since the first class in 1988,” Shah wrote.
The complete profiles of all 11 chefs can be found on Food & Wine’s website or in its October issue, which lands on newsstands Sept. 22.