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.