Not only do both Noah and Scott make excellent bread (would I consider spending the afterlife working for them otherwise?) but there is something about the ambiance in their bakeries, the cheerfulness and dedication of their teams and their own overall easygoing-ness (is there such a word?) as bosses that make me think I would learn well from either of them and have fun in the process.
Born in nearby Mt Vernon, Scott himself grew up as a fast food kid. His first job (as a high school student) was to wash dishes in a little restaurant in Wallingford. That’s when he discovered flavor. Three months later his newfound passion for food got him promoted to assistant chef. In those years, naturally leavened bread wasn’t on his radar: his chief interest lay in pastries and rolls. After college where he was a chemistry major -to this day he says science helps him a lot in his baking- he saved his money and signed up for a six-week intensive class in baking and pastry at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. With that training under his belt, he started looking for a job. A year later, he landed at Grand Central Bakery in Portland, Oregon, and that’s when the love story started. As Scott remembers it, “I was enthralled from Day 1”.
Nineteen months later, Grand Central transferred him to all-organic Black Bear Bakery as head baker. Talk about trial by fire! But he got a lot of support and it was a fantastic learning experience. Fast forward another year and Grand Central found itself in need of a head baker at its Seattle location. It offered him the job. Scott drove up and spent a week there. Realizing that accepting the offer would the perfect way to round up his training in preparation for going on his own, he laid his cards on the table: he told the owners that his goal was to open his own place and that he would only remain in Seattle until he had the money to do so. But he wouldn’t leave before first training his replacement. It was a deal Grand Central could live with. Scott remained in Seattle four years. Then Breadfarm happened.
As you can imagine, I had an uphill battle with myself trying to decide which of Breadfarm loaves to feature on Farine. In the end, since I am still new to the area and basically learning its tastes and flavors, discovering the terroir if you will, I decided to go for the Winthrop Whole Wheat bread, made with two kinds of wheat, both grown in Washington. I had tasted it before and liked its nutty aroma. I also liked the fact that even though it was 100% whole wheat, it didn’t stick its wholesomeness in your face with a holier-than-thou kind of attitude: it was light, handsome and very pleasant. In other words, a winner.
Related post: Winthrop 100% Whole Wheat Bread