At Caswell Restaurant Group’s Oak + Rowan, assistant pastry chef Rebekah Cote focuses on seasonal New England ingredients, drawing inspiration from New England’s history and connection with food and spirits to inspire new, creative takes on classic desserts. She says, “I hope that with the first bite of bread the guests eat, they are excited and craving more of what we have to offer. When they eat dessert, hopefully we can reignite a special memory or introduce them to something they have never imagined.”
In 2016, Rebekah was approached by executive pastry chef Brian Mercury to be his assistant at Oak + Rowan. The two had previously enjoyed a successful run in the pastry department at acclaimed restaurant Harvest in Cambridge, making it a natural fit. “Working with Brian gave me the opportunity to test and create my own desserts for the first time,” says Rebekah. “He has been an amazing teacher and has opened my eyes to how creative one can be.” She is excited to be working with restaurateur Nancy Batista-Caswell, and feels that it’s an asset to have “a seasoned restaurateur who knows how to create strong relationships with the neighborhood and community, and gets to know her clientele. She seems to be equally invested in her staff, which I think will shine through to our guests. I think people will feel the love.”
Growing up along the seacoast of New Hampshire and Maine, Rebekah was one of five children, and enjoyed cooking at a young age. Family events always involved a feast, and for Rebekah, “food and family go hand in hand.” Rebekah graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Business Management, and spent a year working with at-risk youth in a residential program before transitioning into a restaurant career.
Her interest in food was sparked during a stint at Cava in Portsmouth, NH under chef Greg Sessler, and in 2009, she attended the City College of San Francisco. During her time there she was awarded a scholarship, and graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts. She counts working at Incanto under chef Chris Cosentino and pastry chef Robin Kloess, as well as Prospect in San Francisco under chef Pam Mazola and pastry chef Rodney Cerdan, among the most influential experiences of her career. In 2012, her cakes were used for a photo shoot that was featured in the popular wedding outlet Style Me Pretty.
Rebekah currently lives in Somerville, MA, and in her spare time she enjoys yoga, the outdoors, collecting and reading cookbooks, dining out, and traveling.