PictureChef Todd Shoberg at El Paseo in 2017. Courtesy image.

Chef Todd Shoberg, who packed a career’s worth of culinary memories into his nearly 10 years at restaurants in Mill Valley, was killed Monday in a head-on car crash on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road.

Shoberg, a 42-year-old resident of Petaluma, died after his Mazda 6 sport wagon drifted across the center divide on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road and crashed into a Peterbilt dump truck, the Marin County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Division confirmed to the Marin Independent Journal Tuesday. The collision occurred at around 9:10am Monday just west of the French Marin Cheese Factory, and Shoberg was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the IJ. The driver of the dump truck was taken to MarinHealth Medical Center in Greenbrae for treatment.

“We are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news about Todd, who brought such creativity and acclaim to the Mill Valley culinary landscape in his time at Piatti and Molina,” the Mill Valley Chamber said in a statement. “Our heartfelt thoughts are with his young family at this tremendously difficult moment.”

Shoberg, a native of Grand Haven, Mich., worked in kitchens in Albuquerque, N.M., and Boulder, Colo., arrived in the Bay Area in 2006, working as a sous chef at Town Hall in San Francisco.

A former professional mountain biker who nabbed a silver medal at the national collegiate championships and went to the Olympic trials in 2000, Shoberg knew the history of Marin as one of the birthplaces of mountain biking. Six weeks after his arrival, he visited Muir Woods on a friend’s recommendation, and was left in awe of Mount Tam.

“I knew that this was where I needed to be,” he said in 2011.

Shoberg took the reins at Piatti in March 2009, inheriting a decade-old Italian restaurant with a reliable customer base but a spotty track record among foodies. He set out to put Piatti on the farm-to-table map, launching a daily Market Menu in May 2010 laden with farmers market ingredients. In 2010, Piatti, part of the Moana Hotel & Restaurant Group, recorded its most profitable year in its then-12-year history, Shoberg said at the time.

In 2014, Shoberg teamed with restaurateur Ged Robertson to launch Molina at 17 Madrona St., the space formerly occupied by Robertson’s Small Shed Flatbreads. Molina almost immediately became a destination, with a daily-rotating menu and even more frequently rotated vinyl records on the turntable providing a soundtrack for a creative space built around the historic Alan Scott brick oven.

When Shoberg left Molina in early 2016, he stayed busy, helming an array of pop-ups in San Francisco, San Anselmo and Fairfax, consulting on a food truck and a number of restaurants and creating the concept for a new restaurant in Malibu. He was just days away from signing a lease to open a new restaurant in Petaluma when the opportunity to run Sammy Hagar’s historic El Paseo along with manager Cassie Corless arose in 2017.

Less than a year later, Hagar, citing his array of business interests, a popular Rock and Roll Road Trip TV show, a new album,  busy concert schedule and “to be able to spend more quality time with my family,” Hagar closes El Paseo, ending a run that began in 2009 when Hagar and celebrity chef Tyler Florence took over El Paseo.

Shoberg quickly jumped over to be the executive chef and culinary director at the 55-acre Dillon Beach Resort, and was most recently the executive chef of Brewsters Beer Garden in Petaluma.

The IJ reported that California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, as the cause of the collision is unknown. The cause and manner of death is pending the completion of a forensic post-mortem examination and toxicology testing, which have been scheduled this week, the coroner said.

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