Interview with Kendra Baker: Owner/Chef of Penny Ice Creamery, The Picnic Basket & Snap Taco

Interview with Kendra Baker: Owner/Chef of Penny Ice Creamery, The Picnic Basket & Snap Taco

I had the honor of interviewing my friend Kendra Baker; Chef & Co-Owner of The Glass Jar. The Glass Jar Inc is a Santa Cruz, California based farm to table restaurant group founded in 2009 by Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis and dedicated to the nexus between sustainable food and community. The Glass Jar company consists of 3 different local Santa Cruz County restaurants; Penny Ice Creamery, The Picnic Basket, and Snap Taco.

Kendra Baker is a California native, who grew up with a love for the traditions of local and seasonal Northern California cuisine. With her unique cuisine development methodology and distinctive culinary vision fully matured, Kendra has been applying her creativity and talents to the menu development of her shops.

Kendra attended our local university, University of California Santa Cruz, where she studied culinary art.  During her time at UC Santa Cruz, Kendra started serving in local restaurants. After graduation, took her first cooking job under Jim Denevan at Gabriella Cafe, one of the first Santa Cruz restaurants to buy directly from local farmers.

Kendra then was presented with the opportunity to attend culinary school in Rhode Island. During her time in culinary school, she fell in love with pastry while doing an apprenticeship at a Michelin-starred patisserie, Le Musee de l’Arte du Sucre, in Cordes-sur-Ciel, near Toulouse, France. Kendra Baker worked her way back west with a job as pastry assistant at No. 9 Park in Boston, followed by two years as opening pastry chef at Bar Tartine in San Francisco, then a posting as executive pastry chef at Manresa in Los Gatos, another Michelin-rated restaurant. Kendra Baker’s next step was opening a restaurant of her own, and she wanted to do it in Santa Cruz, where small organic farms produce an amazing variety of ingredients year-round.

Chef Kendra Baker’s intriguing menu selections, at each of her restaurants, centers on what is abundant and available in Northern California, in the changing seasons. This philosophy is emphasized by the use of local and sustainably grown ingredients. The region’s best organically cultivated and wild fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs are the cornerstone of the menu. Likewise, The Penny Ice Creamery takes pride in using only organic dairy, eggs, and sugar.

In this interview, we discuss how Kendra Baker discovered her passion for food, how she got her start in the restaurant industry, her award of Best Pastry Chef in San Francisco, how she became business partners with Zachary Davis, the origins of all her various restaurants, and how her business has shifted during the coronavirus pandemic. Kendra is such a fun-loving individual whose passion for food, and our Santa Cruz community shines bright.

I really hope that you enjoyed learning more about Kendra Baker, the woman behind these incredible Santa Cruz businesses. And next time you are in Santa Cruz, do yourself a favor and check out one or all of these local classics. You won’t be disappointed!

To learn more about The Penny Ice Creamery, The Picnic Basket and Snap Taco, see the information below!

The Penny Ice Creamery: Only Ice Cream Shop in Santa Cruz Making Ice Cream from Scratch

The Penny Ice Creamery is the only ice cream shop in Santa Cruz making delicious ice cream completely from scratch in house. Their ice cream flavors change with the seasons and feature locally farmed and organic ingredients from Santa Cruz. The Penny Ice Creamery was founded on the hottest day of the year in 2010, and they have been making ice cream from scratch ever since. The Penny Ice Creamery combines fresh local ingredients in small batches to create delicious artisanal ice cream. As one of the smallest dairy manufacturing plants in California, their production, using exclusively organic dairy and sustainably grown ingredients, is done in the shop in full view of their visitors. The Penny Ice Creamery combines traditional culinary methods with modern and whimsical flavors to devise truly unique ice cream creations. They take great care in sourcing each ingredient that goes into their ice cream. When you go check them out, at one of their 3 locations in Santa Cruz, I highly recommend that you get your ice cream cone dipped in marshmallow! It is not only delicious but is also super artsy and beautiful!

The Penny Ice Creamery:

913 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

820 41st Ave, Santa Cruz CA, 95062

141 Aptos Village Way, C2, Aptos CA, 95003

Tel: (831) 204-2523

The Picnic Basket: Shemeika’s Favorite Place to Get a Breakfast Sandwich in Santa Cruz!

The Picnic Basket was created out of a dedication to good food, sourced locally, and prepared with care. The Picnic Basket is dedicated to simple, delicious food and treats, seasoned with lots of love. Local farmers, foragers, and artisans, including the famous Penny Ice Creamery, are the cornerstone of our seasonal menu. Dine in our cozy café, grab an ice cream cone, or take a picnic basket to go as you venture out into the city, sea, or mountains. Their ingredients are delivered daily from the farms, fields, and food artisans of Santa Cruz County. At The Picnic Basket, you can enjoy coffee, beer, sandwiches, ice cream, pastries, and salads just steps from Main Beach in Santa Cruz!

The Picnic Basket:

125 Beach St, Santa Cruz CA 95060

Tel: (831)427-9946

SNAP TACO: New school tacos made with fresh local Santa Cruz ingredients!

At Snap Taco you can find classics like carnitas and Baja style fish, and also new school like ginger glazed pork belly (the Magical Animal) and sweet potato (the Super Tuber), served alongside bowl, quesadillas, and other not taco deliciousness. Snap Taco offers a full bar with amazing margaritas for adults and a kids menu for the junior set. Oh and a vintage VW Beetle for the kids to play in. Eat tacos, be happy!

Snap Taco:

1108 Pacific Avenue, Downtown Santa Cruz, California

Tel: (831) 824-6100

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