Fernanda Hurst grew up surrounded by water and beautiful beaches in Salvador da Bahia in Northern Brazil. As a child, Fernanda was told to stay out of the kitchen because it was no place for children, but this only tempted her further. She often snuck into the kitchen, hiding under the table to wait for someone (usually her grandmother) to give her tastes of whatever was bubbling on the stove. By the time she was eight, she knew that she wanted to be a chef, and when she was ten, she wrote her own pastry cookbook. After leaving Brazil to travel and eat her way around the world, Fernanda eventually set down roots in San Francisco where she was struck by the beautiful coastline and world-class cuisine.
Fernanda attended the Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, with a focus on pastry, and graduated in 1999. Fernanda then moved north to Petaluma where she got married and had two daughters, Julia, named after Julia Child, and Zoe. She spent ten years working as a pastry chef at Francis Ford Coppola’s winery and in 2009 she created the pastry program for his restaurant, Rustic. Next, Fernanda held pastry chef positions for two years each at Ca’Momi Winery and Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Ristorante in Napa.
Pastry chef at Nick’s Cove since late 2013, Fernanda truly feels that she has found her perfect spot. “Watching the sunrise over Tomales Bay in the morning and using the freshest and best ingredients available from neighboring farms reminds me of home,” she says, “Everything is so rustic and beautiful -- I can’t wait for guests to come in and be greeted with the scent of freshly baked Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread).”
Fernanda equates baking with love and says everything that she makes comes from the heart. “If it doesn’t come from the heart, why eat it?” she asks. She loves the precision and timing that goes into baking and pastry, as well as the seemingly endless variety of things you can make with very simple and quality ingredients.
In her spare time, Fernanda loves to be in the water, surfing, sailing and paddle boarding with her daughters.