SF native and Lazy Bear pastry chef Maya Erickson has always had a passion for cooking, even choosing cooking shows over cartoons as a child.
The 24-year-old’s ambitious spirit has led her to stints at various SF restaurants, including AQ, Mélange Market, and Orson, before ultimately landing at underground pop-up turned Michelin-starred restaurant Lazy Bear, where she dedicates her time to crafting the restaurant’s sweet and quirky treats, such as frozen s’mores, sous-vide cookie dough, and peanut better and jelly meringues.
We sat down with the up-and-coming superstar to chat about her favorite desserts, latest awards, and life in SF.
7x7: Which chefs do you most admire?
M.E: Elizabeth Falkner had a huge impact on my life. She's a pioneer in the avant-garde pastry scene and gave me my first big break in the restaurant industry. Plus, she was a bad-ass female chef before there were very many of them.
7x7: How did you develop your sweet tooth?
M.E: I actually don’t have a sweet tooth. I never really liked desert. I’ve never been one to order deserts at restaurants or eat cakes and pies, but I do like candy and ice cream.
7x7: What is your favorite dessert?
M.E: My mom is a great cook and she made the coolest birthday cakes for me when I was a kid. Think volcano cakes with dry ice in the middle that spewed smoke and a fairy treasure cake that she actually buried in the backyard.
7x7: What is your favorite thing to do in the city when you have free time?
M.E: Go to North Beach and eat bread and eggplant sandwiches at Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Café. I love North Beach, it’s probably my favorite neighborhood in San Francisco. Mario's is right on the park, and then you can walk up to Telegraph Hill and walk down the steps. Musée Mécanique is also one of the coolest gems in San Francisco.
7x7: What items can we consistently find on your menu?
M.E: The menu at Lazy Bear changes pretty often. We try to keep nothing on for longer than a month, but there’s been one desert that I’ve been kind of dragging my heels to change which is the black sesame cocoa and cassis. That’s probably one of my favorites. There was also one item that stayed on the menu for the first seven or eight months we were open; It was a s’mores semifreddo on a graham cracker dipped in chocolate with some smoked salt on top.
7x7: What would you be doing if you weren't at Lazy Bear?
M.E: I would love to travel and work in international kitchens. I have family in Japan and some connections in London—those are two places that I'd really love to cook in.
7x7: How has business/ your life changed since you received Zagat’s “30 Under 30 Best Young Innovative Chefs” and the“Best New Pastry Chef" nomination from Food and Wine?
M.E: I get some weird Facebook messages sometimes, which is probably the most prominent way that it’s changed. Lazy Bear has definitely been a really great place for me to get a lot of recognition.
Quick Fire Round:
Burrito or burger: Oh man, I would have to say burger.
Baker Beach or Ocean Beach: Baker Beach.
Ghiradelli or Dandelion Chocolate: Dandelion.
An indulgence you’d never give up: Expensive lingerie.
Three words that describe SF: Dirty, debauched, and delicious.