Emily and I have been working and travelling across the US over the past 5 years and saw some of what North America has to offer. During this time, Emily picked up a few new baking skills like making sourdough bread, viennoiseries, american pastries, and even chocolate. It was a surprising departure from the traditional French pâtisserie training that she had pursued in France. You can read about her time in Paris here.
In France, Emily witnessed an extreme level of detail and care in the work of a pâtissier. A lot of attention is given to simple tasks like cutting fruit and roasting nuts. How you cut an apple can determine how much flavour it absorbs while maintaining its texture when baking. Hazelnuts roasted correctly can bring out a richer flavour in the final product. It’s the commitment to the craft that she admires and hopes to embody in this industry.
After gathering experience in restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and farmers’ markets, Emily formed a clearer vision about the food she wanted to make. Using good ingredients, she wanted to make simple products that are memorable. She had an urge to create something original and loved to spend hours testing and perfecting recipes based on an idea. Understandably, most small bakeries cannot afford to invest in this kind of R&D. Starting her own food business seemed to be a natural progression towards realizing her vision.
As for myself, I’ve recently become interested in chocolate making because its processing can be explained by material science. Emily showed me that a desirable piece of chocolate has a specific crystal structure that requires controlled tempering and seeding to make. This lead me to learn that food science is well studied in the world of baking and can describe how food is made from first principles. This nerdy side of the industry appealed to me because it makes sense of the complexities of artisan baking. Since then, I recognize that baking is similar to chemical engineering, and much of the same skills from my previous job can be applied here. I hope that my engineering background can help with Emily’s work, and our different skills can come together to make a unique product.
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