Life

Chefs Tell Us The Best Places To Satisfy Your Baked Good Cravings

Picture a baker who crafts decadent, sugar-crusted apricot scones and shoots bourbon in a commercial kitchen with underage employees. It’s an image that’s a little wholesome, a little dangerous, and a lot my mom. In the early 2000s, my mom transitioned from hawking her homemade wares via specialty orders to her own brick-and-mortar enterprise: Naked Baker. On one hand, the goods were made using the best, natural ingredients, and on the other, sometimes she pulled things out of the oven wearing only a towel when scratch baking at home. My slogan for the business was “Get behind Naked Baker and watch your business rise!” because I am hella classy.

Thanks to naked baking, there was a period of time when a person in the Fresno, CA region could get jalapeno popper, Mexican mocha, or even margarita scone made by the petite hands of my darling mother. All three were perfect for people who require a high degree of deliciousness and sugar in their diets.

Though the business ultimately imploded in a weird AMC drama sort of a fashion, my mom never stopped making baked goods. In fact, she moved to Portland and attended culinary school, working in local bakeries. To this day, as much as I love my local bakery in the quaint town near my home, I can’t honestly say anyone bakes better than my mom. I imagine this is something a lot of people feel, even if their mom’s claim to fame is Tollhouse cookies (no hate; I’ll grub on those any day). It’s not just the good treats; it’s also that we love these women.

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The chefs included in this installment of Chefs Tell Us pushed past the urge to dub a family member’s baked goods as “the best” — instead they offered business that we can all put on our personal Must Try lists. There are over 20 entries here, which means a lot of delicious descriptions and inviting images. Try reading this post in its entirety without wanting to get your carb on. But, before you run to the nearest bakery or break out your apron, leave a comment about baked goods or your mom. I mean you can try writing about my mom, but you don’t know her like that.

True Loaf Bakery (Miami Beach, FL)

Chef Mike Pirolo — Chef and Owner, Macchialina

I love True Loaf Bakery! All of their pastries are amazing and the owner Tomas Strulovic’s story is inspiring. He signed the lease on this space without knowing how to make bread (very hard to believe once you taste the goods!). He was persistent in learning through hands-on experience and interned for free to gain the proper knowledge. He is a passionate person and it shows in his product. My personal favorite is the brioche with pastry cream and blueberries. It’s located in Sunset Harbor, a neighborhood in Miami that I often workout in, and I can’t help but head there right after my workout to say “hi!” to Tomas and pick up a brioche for myself and the monkey bread for my wife.

It’s my version of avocado toast and green juice.

Zak the Baker (Miami, FL)

Chef Sean Brasel — Executive Chef and Co-owner, Meat Market Miami Beach (Miami Beach, FL)

I’m more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but I can appreciate good dessert. Zak the Baker is definitely the king of baked goods in Miami. Everything is delicious and baked fresh daily. Whether you order the almond pear danish, banana bread, croissant, or the fresh artisanal bread, you won’t be disappointed. I use Zak the Baker buns for burgers at my restaurant and they’re a total hit. The bakery is certified kosher and even has an in-house deli – what more can you ask for?

If you’re ever in Miami, stop by and try the chocolate hazelnut croissant!

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ZTB Bakery 7am in Wynwood #ztbbakery

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ZTB Bakery Tiger Bread 🔥 #ztbbakery

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Dominique Ansel Bakery (New York, NY)

Chef Gio Osso — Chef and Owner, Virtú (Scottsdale, AZ)

Dominique Ansel. How can you argue with the cronut! The craze that it created hasn’t been seen since the Elmo doll or the Cabbage Patch Kids! I can tell you from experience, it was worth the 2 hour wait to eat one of those things!

85°C Bakery Cafe (various locations)

Chef Betty Park — Pastry Chef, The Ponte (Los Angeles, CA)

I grew up primarily going to Asian bakeries and eating a lot of Asian pastries — 85C (which is a Taiwanese bakery chain) is by far my favorite spot to pick up some baked goods. They take it to whole new level! I’m addicted. 85C has a wide variety of pastries, from egg tarts to cakes to savory treats. Their pastries taste buttery and indulgent without being overkill in the sugar department or feeling too rich or dense. The brioche bun is my go-to. I can eat the whole thing in one sitting. I’ll get it with their sea-salt coffee, which is the perfect pick-me-up and accompaniment to the brioche bun. If you want to be adventurous (and I suggest you do), you need to try their squid ink garlic rolls. I’ve never been disappointed with trying something new at 85C and always find myself leaving with a huge box of goodies to take home.

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No. Fo reals. . . #bakery #85c #hellabunsyall

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Bea’s Bakery (Tarzana, CA)

Chef Erica AbellBoneyard Bistro (Sherman Oaks, CA)

My grandma started taking me there as a kid, and I haven’t stopped dropping in since! Bea’s has been open for over fifty years, pumping out cakes, cookies, bread, and so much more. My must-have is always a black & white cookie and a pound of mixed rugelach.

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Well and this is how today started…

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Mah Ze Dahr Bakery (New York, NY)

Chef Anne Thornton— Executive Chef, 33 Greenwich (New York, NY)

Mah Ze Dahr Bakery is my new current obsession. Umber makes an insane 7-layer bar called the Mah Ze Dahr Bar and her devil’s food cake is pure lusciousness. I don’t leave the neighborhood too frequently, so I’m thrilled she recently opened across the street from 33 Greenwich.

St. Honore and Ken’s Artisan Bakery (Portland, OR)

Chef José Chesa — Chef and Co-owner, 180 and Ataula (Portland, OR)

Right next door to Ataula are two of my favorite bakeries. St. Honore and Ken’s Artisan Bakery. I am a big sweet tooth kinda’ guy! In St Honore I have a Napoleon which always, always remind me of my grandmother when I was a child, I would eat this pastry at her bakery almost every day. And when I can, I grab a cinnamon roll at Ken’s; I really never had one until I moved to USA and they quickly became a favorite.

Gjusta (Venice, CA)

Chef Julio Hawkins — Executive Chef, Fly-n-Fish Oyster Bar & Grill (Newport Beach, CA)

Solid croissants baked to perfection with that nice dark amber hue. Perfectly buttery and flaky. Take your pick they have it all — everything is baked to perfection!

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#bread #venicebeach #90291

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Rising Hearts (Culver City, CA)

Chef Melissa Rosen — Chef and Co-owner, Locali Healthy Convenience (Hollywood, CA)

I enjoy vegan, gluten-free baked goods from Rising Hearts in Culver City as a treat. Well, I wish they were a treat. Since they are so addictive, I enjoy them more often than I probably should. We carry their carrot cake and chocolate whoopie pies, as well as chocolate chip cookies at our locations.

Bouchon Bakery (Yountsville, CA)

Chef Nick Kayser — Executive Chef, Vesta (Denver, CO)

I was recently honored with the opportunity to stage at the French Laundry in Napa, where I had the unrivaled pleasure of starting my mornings at Bouchon Bakery, right up the street from the Laundry in Yountsville, CA. Although of course I’m familiar with the offerings available from the outposts in New York City, there is truly something special and rooted about experiencing the bakery in the place that it all started. From their chocolate croissants, to the bread that is woven so perfectly with every loaf, it is such an amazing way to get your day started as the dew lifts from the Napa Valley.

Despite the proliferation of imitations that have popped up in nearly every town since the start, Bouchon stands alone for me as the best baked goods I’ve ever had.

Willa Jean (New Orleans, LA)

Chef Isaac Toups — Chef and Owner, Toups Meatery and Toups South (New Orleans, LA)

I think Kelly Fields is the most talented baker and pastry chef in New Orleans. I can’t say enough about her and her talent. Her restaurant, Willa Jean is a great spot in the city. You can get great savory food and, obviously, the best items – her breads, cookies and cakes. They are unmatched. Go and have an amazing coffee and choose from a wide selection of pastries for breakfast or brunch. You won’t be sorry.

Hi-Do Bakery (Terrytown, LA)

Chef Carl Schaubhut — Chef and Co-Owner, DTB (New Orleans, LA)

My favorite bakery is Hi-Do Bakery in Terrytown, LA. It’s an hour from New Orleans but worth the drive. It has some of the best French bread, pastries and gourmet desserts I’ve ever tasted. It is the go-to place for King Cakes during Mardi Gras and is an example of NOLA in a nutshell – a melting pot of flavors and influence.

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Morning coffee sweet!! 😋😋😋

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Buena Vista Deli (Miami, FL)

Chef Santiago Gomez — Executive Chef, Cantina La Veinte (Miami, FL)

Located in Miami’s Design District is my favorite spot for baked goods – Buena Vista Deli. Here you feel right at home. EVERYTHING is homemade. My favorite is the apple tart; it’s just the perfect bite! They have so many other options in this French deli including tarte tatin, apricot bourdaloue and pithiviers.

Buenos Aires Bakery (Miami, FL)

Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli — Executive Chef, Glass & Vine (Miami, FL) and Owner/Chef, Eating House (Miami, FL)

When I think of baked goods I think of Argentinian ‘facturas.’ In my opinion Buenos Aires Bakery in North Miami Beach makes some of the best in the country.

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Zak the Baker (Miami, FL)

Chef Raul A. Del Pozo — Executive Chef, Lightkeepers (Miami, FL)

Zak the Baker, located in the heart of Wynwood, FL is one of the city’s rising stars in the bakery scene. In a city that’s dominated by the Cuban bakeries serving guava pastries and fried ham croquettes, Zak the Baker brings classic NY-style kosher bread to life.

The star for me is the babka bread, consisting of a chocolate swirl, raisins and walnuts. This bread is not just an Easter favorite, but one that will bring you back craving more.

Bouchon Bakery & Café (New York, NY)

Chef Brian Doyle — Executive Chef, Council Oak Steaks & Seafood at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

The best baked goods I ever had was at Bouchon Bakery & Café by Central Park. I went a very long time ago and, to this day, it stands out in my mind. Each croissant was perfectly flaky and buttery. Every pastry is made simply but precisely, and it really shows with each bite.

Pan’e Dolci Bakery (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Chef Alex Q. Becker — Executive Chef, Kuro at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

I try to stay away from having too many sweets but Pan’e Dolci Bakery in Fort Lauderdale is right by my house. They have an amazing selection of freshly baked bread. I like to stop by on my way home and pick up a loaf of their olive bread – our must-have. And if it’s a cheat day, Pan’e Dolci also has a selection of gelato – pistachio is my go-to.

Fleca Martino

Chef Oscar Cabezas — Executive Chef, Teleferic Barcelona (Walnut Creek, CA)

Fleca Martino is my bakery. In Mediterranean culture we love bread. The youngest member of each family is in charge of buying the bread. It is a way for young people to become familiar with money and the price system, while saving time for mothers. Fleca Martino did the first great teaching on the subject: seeds. They were pioneers in a mixture of flours and bread with seeds in Barcelona: it was said that the best moment of the neighborhood when those of the “fleca” lowered the bread from the obrador to the store.

Today my mother told me that Fleca Martino is about to close because of the real estate boom that is lurking in my neighborhood. Gentrification depersonalizes our lives, deflates neighborhoods and kills handicrafts.

Porto’s (Multiple locations in Southern California)

Chef Nathaniel Nguyen — Executive Chef and Co-owner, Jinny’s Pizzeria, Paloma’s Paletas, Rooster Republic and Milk Man Ice Cream (all are located in Southern California)

The guava cheese rolls from Porto’s have stolen my heart & my stomach. I will never forget the first time I visited a Porto’s and they handed me one of these to try while I was deciding what I wanted. My best friend and I walked out with at least four dozen of them. That is not uncommon either for them!

Rossini (Lake Garda, Italy)

Chef Garrett Pittler — Executive Chef, City Winery Nashville (Nashville, TN)

*calls wife, who’s Italian* “What was that place where we got pastries in Italy?

Rossini on Lake Garda. Yeah, that one.

Firebrand Artisan Breads (Oakland, CA)

Chef Andrew Greene — Executive Chef, Duchess (Oakland, CA)

My favorite place for baked goods is Firebrand Artisan Breads located on Broadway and 24th street in Oakland. Their Tennessee biscuits are to die for. Actually, everything they create and produce on site is nothing short of spectacular. True artistry done humbly and perfectly. Truly a gem!

Tartine Bakery and Cafe (San Francisco, CA)

Chef Yosuke Machida — Executive Chef, Chambers Eat & Drink (San Francisco, CA)

Tartine Bakery is a classic SF bakery staple. Artisan bread, sandwiches, pastries…everyone knows it.

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