Hoffman leaving SHED for Boonville via France

Chef Perry Hoffman has been a defining factor in the longterm success of Healdsburg's "modern grange".

A blow for Healdsburg as Chef Perry Hoffman of SHED says au revoir to Sonoma County at the end of August.

Hoffman, who earned a 2018 Bib Gourmand for his stellar work at the cafe and previously earned a Michelin star for Domaine Chandon’s Etoile restaurant, plans to spend some well-deserved off time in France with his family before returning to his Boonville roots in early 2019.

Taking over in the interim is longtime chef de cuisine Bryan Oliver, who will assume the position of acting executive chef while SHED searches for a new culinary director. Oliver worked with Hoffman during his time at Etoile.

“He and I have cooked side by side for years; he speaks the same language, and through look and taste, he knows where to take a dish,” said Hoffman. “We have shared so many high points together since he started with me at the beginning of his career at Etoile. I know SHED will be in good hands.”

Chef Bryan Oliver will take over as interim chef of SHED in Healdsburg. Courtesy photo
Chef Bryan Oliver will take over as interim chef of SHED in Healdsburg. Courtesy photo

It’s a bittersweet goodbye. Hoffman’s humble sensibility and brilliant use of of-the-moment, intensely local produce was a defining factor in the ongoing success of SHED. After several false starts with other chefs, Hoffman brought stability and focus to the “urban grange” in 2015. It’s frankly hard to imagine the spot without him.

But its also a perfect time for Hoffman to return to his well-known foodie family – which includes grandmother Sally Schmitt, co-founder of the French Laundry in Yountville and Philo Apple Farm in Boonville. The farm has been a longtime culinary mecca Sally ran with her husband Don, who died in early 2018. Much of the work of the farm has been allocated to other family members, and the ever-expanding Schmitt-Bates-Hoffman clan are also owners of the Boonville Hotel, Farmhouse Mercantile and other businesses in the funky hamlet. We’re doubting Hoffman will wait for work options.

In a family photo taken several years ago at The Apple Farm in Philo, Perry Hoffman, left, stands with his uncle Johnny Schmitt, grandfather Don Schmitt, aunt Karen Bates and grandmother Sally Schmitt. Courtesy photo

Hopefully, the next exec chef of SHED will take a page from Hoffman’s playbook, which earned him ongoing accolades from the Press Democrat as well as the San Francisco Chronicle, four Good Food Awards for SHED products last year.

SHED co-owner Cindy Daniel stated, “We are deeply grateful for Perry’s many contributions to our culinary program over the last three years. Under his leadership, the cafe has grown by leaps and bounds since opening five years ago, and we have a strong and dedicated team that has helped take everything to the next level.”

“Doug and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Perry in his collaboration with his family, and we wish him all the best,” said Daniel.

So do we all.