Although Eric Kayser won Grand Prize at Sofitel New York for French Morning’s Baguette Battle New York last week, Girls On Grub is excited to announce both female bakers Amy Scherber and Clémence Danko placed! Sticking to the traditional handmade baking techniques learned in France, Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bakery proved a formidable competitor- voted by a blind jury as one of two runner-ups for best baguette. The other runner-up was Jerry Jan of Breads Bakery in Brooklyn.
Clémence Danko of Choc O Pain won the Special Fan Prix and was excited to tell Girls On Grub of plans to open a third location in Jersey City, The Heights at 942 Summit Avenue. As we chewed on a fresh slice of bread from Choco O Pain, Girls On Grub was eager to get the scoop on the fans favorite. We learned Danko has more than bread skills, she remained humble and passionate. Danko was proud to place, but even more proud of her team…
“It’s not an easy task. And just to be fair, I am not a bread baker. I have a fantastic team of bakers who work with me. Because it’s a tough job, and I have two kids…but I went to school to do it and learned it. I know what kind of bread I want.” -Clémence Danko
Clearly the fans know what they want too, and that was Choc O Pain's traditional sourdough baguette. On a daily basis, Danko’s pastry creations and bread are found at both shops, Hoboken and Jersey City. But Girls On Grub got an insider tip- Danko plans to expand into the Heights in Jersey City! This is an up and coming hipster neighborhood that has started to collect boutique sized cafes with a cult following: so this is a smart play for Choc O Pain. Danko was inspired to start Choc O Pain because of what she felt was a lack of choices in Hoboken, and now is following suit in the Heights. The latter and love of bread is what inspired Danko to start the Choc O Pain empire.
Another bread empire, across the Hudson River is Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bakery. Scherber gave us a traditional handmade baguette, made with sourdough. According to Scherber, shaping the bread by hand keeps the flavor- and her baguette is definitely one with flavor so good, that it victoriously rivaled many of the boys at Baguette Battle. If you didn’t make it to the Baguette Battle at Sofitel New York, you can try Scherber’s breads at her recently opened The Pantry by Amy’s Bread. Located at 672 9Th Avenue (between 46th & 47th), traditional baguettes are served with local artisanal cheeses and jams from upstate New York. Scherber hopes to open another store that replicates this model soon, somewhere in the New York City. With all of Scherber's success, we had to ask for her take on women in the bread baking industry…
“There are not very many women bread bakers, so I feel really proud to have been chosen to come here today. And I love it. I feel really honored to be here. Women are great bakers. They are detailed oriented. They are very conscientious about fermentation, shaping and scoring. I think women make great bakers. It’s too bad more of them don’t go into the business.”-Amy Scherber
Having left successful careers in marketing and pharmaceuticals, respectively both Scherber and Danko are making a mark in bread baking fueled by passion and business savvy-proving we can do it! Girls On Grub hopes to see more women rise to the occasion and take the Grand title at next years Baguette Battle.
Make sure to keep following Girls On Grub, for more news on women who influence the culinary world. Next we will be taking a closer look at Clémence Danko’s new location, and interview three influential women bakers in New Jersey.