Young and Hungry

Baguette Winner Fromartz Gets Called Up to the Big Leagues

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Samuel Fromartz, if you'll recall, was the surprise winner of Y&H's debut baguette competition last year, beating out breads from local icons like Marvelous Market and Breadline, even national big boys like Le Pain Quotidien and La Brea Bakery.

Well, good news travels fast, or semi-fast. Last week, Fromartz got a call from the office of a celebrity chef. Not just any celebrity chef, but one of the biggest in the history of celebrity chefs. She wanted him to bake bread for her charity dinner on Sunday.

Fromartz picks up the story here on his blog, ChewsWise:

I was leaving the gym when I checked my messages. Alice Waters' office at Chez Panisse was calling — yeah, right. Who was this really?

When I called back, it turned out Waters was calling and looking for a baker for her charity dinner in Washington, to replace one who had dropped out. Barton Seaver, a friend and chef at Blue Ridge, suggested me. "We hear you make the best baguette in DC," said Sarah Weiner, Waters' assistant. "Well, yeah, I won a contest," I stammered, "but I just bake at home. The most I've baked was for Thanksgiving dinner."

They needed to feed 40 — at a $500 a plate dinner at Bob Woodward's house. Could it be done in my home ovens? I said I'd call back. I went home to figure out how much bread I needed to bake and realized I could probably do it — 5 big loaves and several baguettes. I then called Peter Reinhart — the renowned baker and author I've known for a couple of years — to see what he thought. "That's not a lot of bread," he said, and he encouraged me to give it a whirl.

So began my first gig as a professional baker — at an Alice Waters' dinner.

You can read the rest of the story over on Fromartz's blog, including how his breads turned out.

Photo courtesy of Samuel Fromartz

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