Counter Intelligence

What’s the difference between a baker and a pastry chef?

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on June 12, 2009

This morning, I spoke with bread guru Mark Furstenberg on the difference between a baker and a pastry chef:

There is a long, robust tradition of buying bread from good bakeries that started in France and has been carried over here.

Chefs have high regard for professional bakers. They value the artistry of it.  . . . . Bakers and pastry chefs don’t necessarily like each other. They don’t have a high regard for one another. Bakers are robust, manly and rustic and their highest value is consistency. Pastry chefs value creativity. Their work is refined and elegant. They might ask, “Why would anyone want to do the same thing day after day?”

Baking is uncreative and repetitious work. Bread consists of very elemental ingredients, with time as most important. There are no shortcuts when it comes to baking bread.

Furstenberg plans to open G Street Food this August as well as a small retail bakery within the next year.

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