Asian and Latin flavors are “home” to Chef Brenda and lucky for Petaluma she has decided to invite us into her kitchen, secret or not. Although of Japanese descent, Chef Brenda spent her childhood help out in Chinese restaurants. Her mother emigrated from Japan immediately after WWII when it was not uncommon for the only available work to come for other Asian business owners. Chef Brenda’s love for Latin flavors came way of her south-of-the boarder babysitters. Other flavors came to her palette through extensive travel. Chef Brenda would do more than just learn about food but would immerse herself After attending and later teaching at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) her daughter joked with her that she should name her restaurant “Secret Kitchen.”
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” – Roald Dahl
Although we have visited Secret Kitchen frequently since its opening, our first visit was memorable (and delicious) and set the tone for all our future visits. The wife and I had invited Laura Sunday, known as the ‘Queen of Cuisine’ and the ‘Chili Empress’ for her involvement as creator/organizer of Taste of Petaluma and the Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff. Like us, Laura loves great local food, although interestingly our list of favorite restaurants has little overlap. Secret Kitchen became one of the exceptions.
As the former manager of Google’s ever popular Long Life Café, Chef Brenda knows how to turn out healthy food quickly. While we were standing around figuring out the last couple items of our lunch order she already had our first items ready to go. With three in our party we tried just about everything on the menu.