Brian Wood helped introduce the San Francisco Bay area to the Kouign-amann, a buttery laminated pastry from France’s Brittany region, when he started wholesaling it from his Starter Bakery in Berkeley, Calif., in 2010.
Now the pastry chef has entered the retail world with a public-facing Starter Bakery that he opened in Oakland, Calif., a few miles away from his production facility, at the end of February.
The 2,000 square-foot shop offers the bread and Viennoiserie for which Wood is known, as well as other desserts, plus sandwiches, salads, pies, and a robust coffee program. Cakes will be available soon, Wood said.
The pastry chef studied cultural anthropology in college, but was always interested in cooking. He soon found that frenetically paced restaurant kitchens didn’t suit his own personality, so he turned to baking. He worked as a restaurant pastry chef, a chocolate production manager, an instructor at the San Francisco Baking Institute, and a research & development consultant for larger wholesalers before going into his own business. He also is the co-author of Advanced Bread and Pastry: A Professional Approach, published by Delmar Cengage Learning in 2009.
Wood recently discussed his new bakery, his reasons for entering the retail space, and his plans for expansion.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]