Foodie Chap With John Scharffenberger

- Liam Mayclem, the KCBS Foodie Chap

KCBS radio “Foodie Chap” and KPIX 5 television “Eye On The Bay” host Liam Mayclem introduces us to the culinary stars behind the food and wine loved by so many in the Bay Area.


KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:


John Scharffenberger is a consultant to the Farming and Food Production industry who helps for-profit and non-profit producers sustainably higher returns. The consultancy offers a wide range of programs and services including agronomic analysis, product development, management, and marketing. His clients include Hodo Soy, Farmhouse Culture, Tout Sweets Patisserie, Cinta Farms, and Kaia Foods among others.

Prior to establishing his consultancy, he developed companies in the wine, chocolate and forestry industries that combined agronomic innovation, sustainable production technologies and international brand development. Scharffenberger Cellars, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker are two of these companies.

02 scharffenberger Foodie Chap With John Scharffenberger(credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)

Scharffenberger studied at UC Berkeley and received a BA in Agricultural Geography in 1973. He believes that a comprehensive study of cultural, historic, and environmental contexts are the proper basis to achieve sustainable and successful food production. He has recently spoken at UC Berkeley Commencement and Brown University.

His non-profit activities include serving on the Board of the UC Berkeley Foundation, is the chairman of the Advisory board of the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley and a board member of the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens.

An avid gardener and amateur forester, he devotes substantial time to learning about food production processes on his 250 ranch in Mendocino County. Recent interests include small-scale grain production, shitake mushroom farming, and production of “Iberico-style” ham.

John and I met in San Francisco recently for our Foodie Chap chat. We talked, we laughed, we baked a cake – but not necessarily in that order.

It’s the perfect vale to make for your loved one this Valentines Day.



03 scharffenbergercake Foodie Chap With John Scharffenberger(credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Orbit Cake

Serves 12-14

From the Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg (Hyperion, 2006).

Recipe by David Lebovitz (from Room for Dessert)

– 9.75 ounces Scharffenberger 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate
– 7 ounces (two sticks minus 2 tablespoons) butter
– 5 eggs
– 1 cup sugar
– Whipped cream (optional)

Special Equipment:
– 9×2-inch round cake pan


Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Set a large bowl over a pan of simmering water to create a double broiler. Cut the butter and chocolate into small pieces and put them in the bowl to melt, whisking occasionally.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar in another bowl. Thoroughly whisk in the melted chocolate.

Pour the chocolate batter into the cake pan and cover tightly with foil. Place the covered cake pan in a larger baking pan and pour in warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the cake appears to have set and when you touch the center, your finger comes away clean.

Remove the cake from the water bath and cool completely before serving, plain or with gently whipped cream.

This cake can be refrigerated for several days.


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