Splendor in obscurity

Dona Tomas is not a restaurant name that rings many bells outside the San Francisco Bay Area. The owners, Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky, have never been on the cover of Food & Wine, or competed on “Iron Chef,” or even cooked at the James Beard House. Google them and mostly what you will find are references to their new cookbook, named after their first restaurant, in Oakland.

In a food culture that seems to worship celebrity above creativity, it says everything that their book is a knockout on every level, not least because a vicarious eater will get as much out of it as a dedicated cook can. Unlike the average perfunctory compilation of restaurant recipes, what the two partners have produced with a co-writer, another chef named Mike Wille, is one of the most appealing Mexican cookbooks ever published, and one of the best in any category all year. Continue reading