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.

* * *

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!

View this post on Instagram

ZTB Bakery 7am in Wynwood #ztbbakery

A post shared by Zak The Baker (@zakthebaker) on

View this post on Instagram

ZTB Bakery Tiger Bread 🔥 #ztbbakery

A post shared by Zak The Baker (@zakthebaker) on

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.

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by murbers (@murberdraws) on

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.

View this post on Instagram

Well and this is how today started…

A post shared by Katie mahanes 🌺God First (@katiemahanes) on

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!

View this post on Instagram

#bread #venicebeach #90291

A post shared by Gjusta (@gjustabakery) on

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.