The seasonally inspired desserts of Marika Shimamoto Doob are the perfect ending to a meal at Fifth Floor. Doob is a native of San Diego, California, who grew up visiting her grandparents’ farm in the Imperial Valley. “I learned quickly that even the sweetest cantaloupes, figs and oranges from the grocery store lacked the complexity and flavor of those picked fresh from my grandparents’ farm,” she says. An ingrained respect for farm-fresh fruits and vegetables is at the heart of her intricate desserts—such as Satsuma Tangerine Granité with Cranberry Compote and Creamsicle Panna Cotta; Orange Blossom Beignets with Glazed Strawberries and Rhubarb Sorbet; and Blood Orange Gratin with Candied Kumquat Sorbet, Vanilla Jus and Tarragon Oil—each of which showcase the best ingredients of the season.
After graduating from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition, Doob accepted a position at L’Auberge Hotel and Resort in nearby Del Mar, under the direction of chef Jaime West. Realizing she wanted to pursue cooking even more seriously, Doob began her studies at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. While attending the CCA, Doob simultaneously worked for chef Bruce Hill at San Francisco’s Waterfront Restaurant, ultimately running the entire pastry department. In 1999, Doob was hired as pastry chef of the seminal Hawthorne Lane, working with owner David Gingrass and executive chef Bridget Batson. While there, Doob had recipes published in Bon Appétit magazine and in The Last-Minute Party Girl, an entertaining guide by Erika Lenkert.
Each of Doob’s desserts offers an array of varying tastes and textures, all coming together in a delicious harmony. “In creating a dessert,” she says, “I feel it is not only important that every element complement each other, but also that each component is able to stand on its own. Achieving this goal involves the careful combination and layering of flavors both simple and complex.”
Doob is married to Jared Doob, executive chef of Restaurant Lulu, also in San Francisco. Doob has participated in numerous charity events, including Save Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation at Teatro Zinzanni in 2003, the Tibetan Aid Project benefits in 2002, 2003 and 2004, Project Open Hand’s “Dessert First,” and Meals on Wheels in 2004 and 2005, and hopes to continue donating her time to local cultural causes and charitable organizations while at Fifth Floor.