Every year, among the other medals doled out, the James Beard Awards select an Outstanding Baker. This year’s nominees in the category are Dinna Daoheung from Black Seed Bagels, Zachary Golper from Brooklyn’s Bien Cuit, Maura Kilpatrick from Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge, Belinda Leon and Michel Suas from B. Patisserie in San Francisco, Alison Pray from Standard Baking Company in Portland, Maine, and Greg Wade from Publican Quality Bread in Chicago. (This year, the category is sponsored by Taylor Precision Instrucments.) Bakers often have very early hours, so naturally they have strong opinions on breakfast. So Extra Crispy asked each of them about their breakfast hopes and dreams and what they’d love to never make again.
Extra Crispy: What does your dream breakfast look like?
Greg Wade, Publican Quailty Bread: My dream breakfast looks like a freshly baked kouign amann and a probably overly sweet iced latte. Breakfast for me should be simple and not super heavy.
Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit: Favorite breakfast looks like miche with pretty much anything… especially shakshuka!
Belinda Leon, B. Patisserie: Fluffy pancakes, thick-sliced bacon, perfect scrambled eggs with caviar and chives, and smashed fried potatoes
Michel Suas, B. Patisserie: Toasted levain bread with butter and jelly.
Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Cafe: I have gotten accustomed to eating the way our Turkish breakfast at Sofra is served, some cooked eggs, with brown butter and spices, fresh vegetables.
Dianna Daoheung, Black Seed Bagels: Two eggs over easy with an English muffin and orange marmalade on the side. Classic.
Alison Pray, Standard Baking Company: Strong cappuccino and pain au chocolat.
What’s your least favorite breakfast dish?
Greg Wade: Pancakes. I mean, kudos to whomever was able to sell people on eating cake for breakfast, but for me they are always soaked in syrup and really just the worst.
Zachary Golper: My least favorite breakfast dish is hotel chain “complimentary breakfast” sausage and hash browns. The scrambled eggs are usually pretty awful too. Or a bad scone. Nothing like a dry, foul tasting hockey puck to ruin your morning!
Belinda Leon: Seafood eggs Benedict.
Michel Suas: Oatmeal.
Maura Kilpatrick: Heavy items, usually containing meat.
Dianna Daoheung: Cold pizza.
Alison Pray: Black pudding.
What’s a baked item that you wish was more popular?
Greg Wade: Canele. They are actual magic.
Zachary Golper: I wish people were more drawn to savory tarts. It’s such a fantastic way to enjoy vegetables in an “eat on the go” format. If done well, they can be an extraordinary tasting and a very satisfying snack or accompaniment to a meal.
Belinda Leon: Kugelogh.
Michel Suas: Brioche.
Maura Kilpatrick: At Sofra, we are working hard to make international desserts, usually containing syrup more popular, we are going to keep at it.
Dianna Daoheung: Those Chinese hot dogs that are wrapped in a really soft bread. I’m not sure what the real name of it is.
Alison Pray: Rye breads.
What’s something you’d be happy never making again?
Greg Wade: I’m not fussy when it comes to food. I’ll eat almost anything. That being said, there is something that the Greeks use to make ice cream called salep. It’s a dried powder made from an orchid root, so it tastes like powdered old ladies, and it’s used as a thickener. The type of thickening it does though is akin to okra mixed with cornstarch where it’s super snotty, but also needs to be agitated to thicken. So to serve it you have a vat of this cream base and a stick, and you stir up the base with the stick real fast and then slop it into a bowl. So yeah, powdered snotty old lady on a stick. Not appetizing.
Zachary Golper: I never want to make doughnuts again. I had to do that for the hotel I opened in Vegas. I could feel my soul frying alongside the doughnuts every morning I had to make them. I’ve never actually cared for them, even as a kid. They make me feel sleepy and slow. No offense to the great doughnut artisans of America.
Belinda Leon: Vegan pastries.
Michel Suas: Gluten-free bread.
Maura Kilpatrick: I’m not sure.
Dianna Daoheung: I honestly don’t have anything specific.
Alison Pray: Croquembouche.
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