Black Sesame. Lazy Bear. San Francisco. California. Chef Maya Erickson.

When director Jennifer Davick contacted me about collaborating on some personal food projects together, I told her that I have no interest in shooting food as is and that I am only interested in shooting food like never before seen. As I have done plenty of food stories with The Selby and did Edible Selby already. That is when we decided we should deconstruct recipes. Then I went to Lazy Bear with Dan the Automator as we both have not been; that was when I had Black Sesame. The second the dessert came and I saw its monochromatic grayness, I thought, "How interesting." Then I tasted it and decided this was the recipe for this food film. I then approached Maya at San Francisco's famed Lazy Bear (Food and Wine 2016 best new chef) and she agreed to do this film with us. Writer Tanner Latham interviewed Maya for her inspiration for this recipe along with her background as a pastry chef along with trends in the San Francisco food scene. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did making this.

Maya Erickson
Lazy Bear

Director: Jennifer Davick
Executive Producer: Amy Yvonne Yu
Director of Photography: Devin Whetstone
Gaffer: Tej Virdi
Key Grip: Craig Ryan
1st Assistant Camera: Dean Snodgrass
Data Manager: Dakota Smith
Food Stylist: Fanny Pan

Lighting & Equipment: Steelhip
Post Production: Mission Film & Design

Editor: Matt Notaro
Colorist: Ayumi Ashley
Sound Design: Joel Raabe

Story by Writer Tanner Latham 
Stylized, Sexy, Provocative and Decadent. Everything You Would Expect from a Grandmother’s Recipe. 
At 13 years old, Maya Erickson was working in a professional kitchen, tasked primarily with filling cookies and wrapping tuiles. She shrugs this detail off now, as if it’s simply a throwaway line unworthy of her bio. As if most newly-turned teenagers must surely have been like her—resisting the temptation to toggle among their screens and choosing, instead, a highly disciplined path. 
It is with this kind of casual, unassuming tone that this wunderkind (now she’s in her mid-20s), pastry chef describes her Black Sesame Ice Cream with Black Sesame Pudding, a dessert rooted in her former chef's grandmother’s poppy seed pudding recipe yet presented with a stylized, sexy and provocative manner that’s as arresting and mood-evoking visually as it is to the palate. 
Maya created this dessert while working as the pastry chef at Lazy Bear, a San Francisco restaurant that grew from the cult-like following of an underground supper club and whose own chef/owner David Barzelay recently received the nod as a 2016 Food and Wine Best New Chef. 
To complement the ice cream and pudding, Maya’s Black Sesame dessert features cassis jam, cassis pate de fruit, dehydrated devil’s food cake, forbidden rice pudding and a light dusting of charcoal. This creation—with its colors and flavors and textures—makes you question what you think you know about food. This is the epitome of Maya’s gift to anyone lucky enough to receive it—a delicately plated, understated, experiential dessert that decadently performs. 
Simply put, it’s unexpected. 
As our conversation moved beyond Maya’s dessert, we asked her a few other questions as well: 
TL: What are some of the things that inspire you now as you’re evolving as a pastry chef? 
ME: It comes from many different places. Sometimes I will know that there’s a flavor that will go well in my head. I don’t have any reason why. I just did a persimmon and root beer dessert with malt and chocolate. It just seemed so natural to me; it just makes sense in my head. But there can be other inspiration. Also, seeing what other people do and eating at other people’s restaurants and seeing what other chefs are capable of is always inspiring to try to help you find your own voice. You’ll see techniques or flavors that you never thought of or never considered. That’s always a huge inspiration. 
It’s very easy to get stuck in your head. You have certain things you fall back on certain things you lean towards. To be taken out of your element and forced to reexamine what food means to you and the food you want to make is very important. 
TL: How would you define what is happening in San Francisco now from a culinary standpoint? Are people pushing more? Are they trying to do traditional things in interesting ways? 
ME: I think there are many schools of fine dining right now. There’s always the classic French fine dining. Then there’s more Spanish-inspired modernist fine dining. Then there’s Nordic fine dining, which is hyper simple and hyper local. It’s about finding the balance among the three of those in a lot of restaurants. The tech boom in San Francisco is creating an interesting environment for restaurants because there is such a demand for them. So many restaurants are opening with a really high caliber. The problem is that a lot of cooks can’t afford to live here anymore, which is really disheartening. So, you have all these badass restaurants that are super understaffed and trying to make it. 
TL: If you were able to open your own place right now, what would it be like? 
ME: I used to throw these pastry burlesque parties in San Francisco. That’s evolved into what, at the moment, we’re calling Dirty High Tea. I have a lot of friends in the performing arts, and burlesque has always been one of my loves. The two go hand-in-hand to me. It’s like Marie Antoinette, Rococo opulence. Dessert is a very decadent, luxurious and extravagant thing already. We’re going to do high tea service with giant platters of pastries and serve cocktails in tea pots and have performances and lounge acts and singers and girls in frilly clothes as servers. We’ll start out as a pop-up, and then in a million years maybe have a real place. But that’s like a million years away. 
TL: Would you be performing as well? 
ME: I used to be a dancer because my mom ran a dance company. I used to perform at the events I threw. We’ll see.



Mister Jiu's. Chinatown. San Francisco. California. 6.11.2016.

My brother is now officially a doctor. So we had a banquet at Mister Jiu's to celebrate. This meal was super special and super delicious. This is what having almost the entire menu looks like.

Mister Jiu's
28 Waverly Place
San Francisco, CA 94108

Potstickers: monterey bay squid, pork, garlic, chives
Dry Aged Beef Tartare: anchovy, pickled ramps, sprouted mung beans, shrimp salt
Dungeness Crab Custard: crab tomalley, duck egg, carrot, pickled ginger
Silken Tofu: walnut, summer truffles, cloud ears
Devil's Gulch Pig Head: tea egg, black radish, amaranth, favas
Steamed Alaskan Halibut: young ginger, cilantro, shiitake broth, smoked oyster sauce
Lion's Head: pork meatball, fermented mustard greens, little gems, lion's mane mushrooms
Fried Rice: hanger steak, fried garlic, shishitos, cited tuna heart, egg
Tendrils, Greens & Stems: meyer lemon, roasted garlic, sea urchin, fermented tofu
Black Sesame Cake: rosebud mousse, strawberry confit, ginger
Chocolate: red bean, chocolate caramel, sesame & cinnamon


David Downton & Carmen Dell'Orefice. Ken Fulk Inc. Soma. San Francisco. California. 6.7.2016.

I had the pleasure to attend a very intimate interview between David Downton and Carmen Dell'Orefice at Ken Fulk Inc. David Downton is my absolute favorite fashion illustrator. In fact, I have been wanting to buy an original. It was so lovely to hear Carmen speak about her life and her career. I can attest that she is as lovely as she comes across. At the end of the evening Ken Fulk announced that they were selling a very special limited edition of the Carmen Dell'Orefice print by David Downton. Naturally, I had to buy it and I walked away with the first of the batch signed by both of them. Magical.

Cala. Civic Center. San Francisco. California. 6.7.2016.

Although I have gone to Cala many times before, this was the first time I came for dinner, as I am typically there for brunch. I took 2 friends who have never gone and it blew their minds. Each dish were amazing in their own right, but the sweet potato wase out of this world.

149 Fell St
San Francisco, CA 94102

Halibut ceviche with fennel, radish and sorrel
Trout tostada with chipotle, avocado and fried leeks
Sea urchin and nopal tostada
Fresh peas and fave bean salad
Sweet potato with bone marrow salsa negra
Strawberry meringues
Peanut Butter brittle


The Kills. The Fox. Oakland. California. 6.4.2015.

Some bands are much better live than their albums. The Kills would be one of those. Alison Mosshart slays.


Liholiho Yacht Club. San Francisco. California. 5.28.2016.

Yes. This is a restaurant I frequent. For good reasons. You have to plan very far in advance to get a decent reservation. That is also why I always just go at 5PM to eat.

Liholiho Yacht Club
871 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

tuna poke, sesame oil, radish, mori cracker
beef tongue, kimchi, cucumber, poppy seed steam bun
duck liver toast, pickled pineapple, jalapeño
whole maine lobster, preserved black bean sauce
fried game hen, cashews, tamari glaze, flowering kale
baked hawaii, caramelized pineapple ice cream, vanilla chiffon
butterscotch rum cake, golden nugget mandarins, cream–sicle custard, peptic granola

Jun Yu's Barber Shop. Chinatown. San Francisco. California. 5.28.2016.


Izakaya Rintaro. San Francisco. California. 5.15.2016.

This is one of my favorites in town. It's also been named one of the best 10 new restaurants in America in 2015 by Bon Appétit. I usually have my friend Sylvan (chef/owner) send me what he thinks it appropriate for my party size each time.

Izakaya Rintaro
82 14th Street 
San Francisco, CA 94103 

San Francisco Dungeness crab and chilled Hikari Farm cucumber in sweet vinegar with kani miso and Half Moon Bay wasabi.

off the menu

Riverdog pork and ginger gyoza with chicken foot jelly and "wings"

half quail, Rintaro tsukune, duck + yuzu kasha, king trumpet

Berkshire pork and onion cats with Acme panko, Nagoya black miso sauce, snowy cabbage and mitsuba

rice and Marin Sun grass fed beef curry with Fuji apple, carrot, potato, and garlicky cucumber raita

Rintaro hand-rolled udon with two fishes broth with kakiage tempura of kabocha squash and Japanese sweet potato

Lucero strawberries and bing cherries with Rintaro vanilla ice cream in a puff shell

Japanese roasted green tea panna cotta with hojicha syrup and almond cookies