Whether it's fresh loaves or elaborate wedding cakes, these three pastry chefs are helping San Antonio's baking scene rise.
Jenn Riesman, Hotel Emma
Jenn Riesman, Pastry Chef at Hotel Emma
, is raising expectations for desserts and pastry chefs in San Antonio. Though she has worked as a pastry chef for hotels and restaurants across the country, “cakes have always been my favorite things to make,” said Riesman, who hopes to someday open a cake shop of her own. “I love the reactions; when you please your clients, they realize that great [desserts] are something important for those moments and milestones.” Riesman uses fresh, local ingredients to build beautiful custom, handcrafted cakes and incredible desserts for hotel guests and outside clients.
Riesman’s menu for Supper, a restaurant at Hotel Emma, changes each season, but her signature use of savory, unique flavors can be found in current dishes like the gingerbread cake served with roasted fennel ice cream and candied rose petals, or the kabocha cheesecake served with blueberry compote, curry, caraway crumble and purple yam ice cream. Diners can also find traditional sweets like cookies and hand pies at Larder. “At Supper, I want people to say ‘ I wasn’t expecting that, but it worked,” Riesman said. “I always try to bridge the familiar with the unexpected; I think the San Antonio food scene is changing, and I feel very humbled to be a part of that.”
Follow her at @jennriesman on Instagram.
Guillaume Boulard, La Boulangerie
As a Master Boulanger, Guillaume Boulard understands the importance of following classic French baking traditions and techniques. Boulard combines his skills with simple French ingredients and fresh products to create the bakery’s flaky croissants, golden baguettes and buttery brioche. “The recipes that I use to make breads in France is the same one I make here,” said Boulard. “I always want to bring something authentic.”
Boulard attended school and apprenticed with several Master Bakers in Les Mans, France, his hometown, where he learned how the bread reacts and responds to pressure, heat and kneading. “This is not something to learn in one day,” he said. Boulard plans to return to France to renew his visa in March, but he hopes to be back and baking in San Antonio by Fiesta season. In the meantime, the bakery staff, including baker Parham Daghighi, will continue to create traditional loaves. Customers can expect to see more savory dishes and pop-up events at La Boulangerie this year, but don’t expect them to stray too far from their roots. Stop by the bakery for new French products, bread varieties (including a fully organic bread) and more “viennoiserie items in the cases.”
Follow him at @guiboulard on Instagram.
Lucas Kent, The Bread Box
The native San Antonian spent 10 years working as a chef in kitchens before he discovered bread-making through his wife, Tina, who would often bake bread for their children. “I looked at her cookbooks and started [making breads], just one recipe at a time, and found that I just really understood it. Baking became my passion,” Kent said. He soon dropped cooking altogether to create breads for local restaurants such as Cappy’s, Bliss, Lüke and Bird Bakery before opening The Bread Box
— a restaurant featuring dozens of bread varieties and delicious dishes — in late 2015.
The Bread Box menu continues to serve top restaurants throughout the city, but has since expanded to offer tasty breakfast items, sandwiches, and new breads like the sourdough croissant, but Kent is sticking with signature favorites like the “Milk and Honey” English muffins, which can be enjoyed alone or as part of an entree. He credits Tina and Bread Box chef Sarah Rathbone with a great deal of the success at Breadbox. “We’re not a chef-driven restaurant, we’re a collaboration of great ideas working together.” Pick up a boule or two at Bread Box’s during their new 2017 Sunday brunch hours, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Follow him at @lucaskent on Instagram.