Boston’s own Joanne Chang has been awarded the 2016 James Beard award for Outstanding Baker, a coveted honor which recognizes the best and brightest in the world of food.
Chang, who owns Flour Bakery in Boston and Cambridge, was bestowed the honor last night at Chicago’s Civic Opera House. The Harvard College graduate left a business management career to start her own bakery owns four Flour Bakeries, and now also presides over the South End restaurant Myers and Chang (which is widely known for its delicious sticky buns) with her husband Christopher Myers. The best-selling cookbook author also has a brand new commissary kitchen in Allston which is often referred to as "Big Kitchen.”
A brand new Flour Bakery is in the works, but Chang tells WGBH mid-day host Henry Santoro that she’s not yet ready to say if she’ll expand her 15-year old bakery business to areas beyond the Bay State, now that she employs 300 people.
I do know to never say never …in terms of expanding. We need to have a plan, a long-term sustainable plan and about a year ago we sat down with a pen and paper and said what is our plan and where are we going?
“What I really love about the bakeries is being inside the bakeries and seeing the staff, and seeing the guests and if we were to have locations outside of Massachusetts, I feel like that would be challenging.
Santoro calls Chang the “Mick Jagger” of the food world, having juggled her talents and experiences with business with her love of food.
“I do know to never say never …in terms of expanding. We need to have a plan, a long-term sustainable plan and about a year ago we sat down with a pen and paper and said what is our plan and where are we going.”
The book, Baking With Less Sugar, is for aspiring bakers, who are clamoring for aspects of flour, but eating less sugar, consuming less sugar...it's really tricky to bake without using as much sugar or natural sweeteners.
Chang’s third book, titled Baking With Less Sugar,includes recipes for desserts using natural sweeteners and little-to-no white sugar. She says, "this book... is for aspiring bakers, who are clamoring for aspects of flour, but by eating less sugar, consuming less sugar," which she says, “it’s really tricky to bake without using as much sugar or natural sweeteners.”
Chang’s "Big Kitchen" is actually a new production kitchen that opened last year. For Chang, it’s a place to consolidate all the production under one roof.
“From a pastry perspective we do all of the mixing at the Big Kitchen, so we do cookie dough’s, scones, brioches and bread dough’s…everything happens there and then we ship everything out to locations to be baked off at the locations. So you’re still getting the same fresh baked product, but with much more consistency.”
Chang, who rarely slows down, tells Santoro she is working on a Myers and Chang cookbook and they’re testing recipes including a beef and broccoli chow fun.