Today’s guest interview features the extremely talented, Brittany Bardeleben.
Brittany keeps herself busy as a highly-respected Pastry Chef at the Dahlia Bakery in Seattle, part of Tom Douglas’ successful chain of bakeries and restaurants. And as if that wasn’t enough to fill her time, Brittany is also full-time mother to a 1½ year old son – phew, Brittany we salute you!
Two weeks ago I spent the afternoon with Brittany to make Tom Douglas’ signature Triple Coconut Cream Pie. Now Brittany takes time out of her busy schedule to tell us a little more about life in the professional world of baking…
Name: Brittany Bardeleben
Home City: Issaquah, WA
Occupation: Pastry Chef, Tom Douglas Restaurants
What is your speciality? My specialty at home is cinnamon rolls. Professionally, I lean towards plated desserts over breakfast pastries or cakes.
What sparked your interest in food/cooking? I inherited it. My maternal grandmother was an amazing cook, who threw parties almost every weekend and cooked fine dining style food at home. My paternal grandmother makes the best fruit pies, soups, and Mexican food, while my grandfather makes home-made bread. Both my parents are also great cooks. I was raised and nurtured by people who considered cooking to be more than an annoying chore, but an expression of creativity and love.
How did you turn your passion for food into a career? When I was a teenager, I got a job working as a counter girl in a small bakery/café. One day I caught a glimpse of the kitchen where the pastry chef was icing a cake. It looked like so much fun AND she was being paid to do it. I went home that day and told my parents I wanted to go to culinary school after I graduated.
What is your proudest achievement so far? Juggling a full time career with raising a son and finding the balance of giving both the attention they deserve – and loving every minute of it. On Monday, I am excited to go to work. On Friday, I am excited to go spend time with my family.
What is the best part of your job? Definitely the creative side of it – and the fact that I get paid to do something I love.
What is the worst part of your job? The physical toll it takes. After a 12-hour shift on my feet in an 80-degree kitchen, I feel pretty tired and gross.
Sweet or savory? Making sweet – Eating savory
What’s your favorite dish to cook? Old fashioned, double crust fruit pie like my grandmother taught me. Whatever fruit is in season – I love it all.
What’s the best recipe you’ve ever made? That’s a tough one! I’ve been doing this for 17 years, so I don’t know if I can pick The Best… My pie dough is pretty solid and my huckleberry ice cream is a personal favorite.
What’s your guilty food pleasure? Taco time!
Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a new recipe/flavour? Everywhere! Books, Instagram, dining out, dreams, my co-workers, you name it.
What food could you never live without? Butter.
What piece of cooking equipment could you never live without? A heavy-duty standing mixer.
What’s your best cooking tip? Don’t be afraid to screw up, and don’t get frustrated. Keep testing and keep your chin up.
Where are your favorite places to eat? Fonda La Catrina, Roti (on Lower Queen Anne), Pho Viet Ahn (also Lower Queen Anne), Le Pichet, The Piroshky Place in Pike Place Market… and taco time!
Who is your favorite chef? I am always following what Dana Cree is up to. I think she is a genius. And Julia Child, of course.
What’s next for you? I am currently the happiest I have ever been in my career, so hopefully this!
Check out Brittany’s pie crust making skills in our exclusive video tutorial. You can also nibble on Brittany’s wonderful pastries and desserts at the Dahlia Bakery on 2001 4th Avenue, or in one of the other Tom Douglas restaurants in Seattle.
Followers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, or Spain can now buy our favourite kitchen tools and gadgets at the Arugula & Rocket Store on Amazon. Readers in the USA can visit our favourite brands on the Tovolo and USA Pan websites.