Estelle "Topsy" Rand has had a long and illustrious career in the San Francisco restaurant industry over the last 30 years. She has worked closely with local culinary legends such as Harry Denton (The Starlight Room), Julie Ring and Joey Altman (Miss Pearl’s Jam House), Pat Kuleto and Jan Birnbaum (Campton Place), to name a few. Her philosophy is “attentive, unobtrusive service with meticulous attention to detail”. Welcoming people, remembering customers by name and making people feel special is a lost art, and that is what drives her to her standard of exceptional service and personal attention. The Petaluma native has called Central Market restaurant her home for the last 10 years, known for some of the best food in Petaluma as well as its warm and gracious service. A co-owner with acclaimed chef Tony Najiola, she has developed a large, devoted following among her many loyal customers. Despite a challenging economy, Estelle steadily increased sales at the restaurant by at least 10% annually. She co-founded A Splendid Table catering with chef Annie Simmons, and has perfected the art of creating stunning on-site farm dinners.
Estelle’s love of food came from her grandmother, who was a local community cook during World War II. One of her great joys in life is not only cooking for the people she loves, but exceeding their expectations and creating an atmosphere of warm hospitality and generosity. She is very proud to have given back to Petaluma through her charitable volunteer work with Petaluma Bounty, Mentor Me, and her pride and joy, the Visitors Center rose garden.
Chef Annie Simmons first embraced a love of food and cooking as a child, born and raised on the west coast, making dinners for her family by age 10 and baking for fun. She developed her style of cooking through her grandmother’s gentle influence and the teachings of Julia Child and Alice Waters, as well as with small, excellent restaurants, using the best of local, seasonal ingredients to create dishes that were simple and well executed. After working and travelling around the country and then to Japan and Europe, Chef Simmons completed her culinary education with top honors from New England Culinary Institute. She continued her career on the east coast, managing top kitchens in Maine and Boston, before moving to California and eventually opening A Splendid Table catering in Petaluma.
In addition to running her catering company, Chef Simmons is an experienced and popular culinary instructor, teaching sold-out classes at Ramekins Culinary School in Sonoma, and has contributed to a number of published cookbooks. She defines her approach to cooking as “classically and regionally influenced, and uncomplicated, using the best local ingredients according to the season”. Chef Simmons is also an accomplished pastry chef, having a special place in her heart for chocolate and butter.