The more I work in a restaurant, the more I crave simple food. Fortunately, I work for a company that made local, seasonal, sustainable and organic its mantra long before it became fashionable. But as much as I enjoy 3 Michelin star restaurants, complicated dishes with seven components to them and all manner of molecular gastronomy “tricks”, I am more content with a bowl of perfectly grilled vegetables, a flaky tart, a simple pasta. Last night my meal was a hunk of good break with a chunk of Point Reyes Toma cheese. Delectable.
I have often fantasized on how a modest place of my own would look like and what it would offer. It would be a little bakery/cafe serving a community or neighbourhood, Intelligentsia coffee, rustic fruit and vegetable tarts, bowls of granola, bread fresh out of the oven, crostatas, buttery cookies, fresh salads and all the things I like to eat and make in my time off. In an age of colorful macarons and cutesy cupcakes, I imagine stark white walls and rustic food.
Funnily enough, my inspiration comes from two places I have never visited. The Rose Bakery, that started in London and then expanded to Paris, is the brainchild of an English/French couple whose cookbook is a constant source of inspiration.
And recently, my friend Sue sent me a link to the Vergennes Laundry, a bakery in Vergennes, Vermont that, not only looks very much like what I have in mind, but also serves food I would be very happy to produce on a daily basis (and their coffee of choice is Intelligentsia).
So if you happen to be in Paris or Vergennes and come upon these two establishments, drop me a note and let me know if they are as good as they look. I would be prepared to bet I am right on the mark.