Bake - Rory MacDonald - Author Interview and Giveaway

Rory Macdonald's debut cookbook Bake: Breads, Cakes, Croissants, Kouign Amanns, Macarons, Scones, Tarts is a baker's dream. The cover is brilliant: "bake" and a listing of those delights you will find inside, and the content is thoughtful, beautifully photographed and detailed. 

 

Rory is the creator of Chanson & The Dessert Bar in New York City and was voted one of the top 10 pastry chefs in 2017. He was gracious enough to take some time to answer a few questions for our members.

EYB:  Congratulations on your stunning book, Bake. I just received my copy and am quite taken with its depth and beauty. I love that it is detailed and my first recipes to try are your macarons and Kouign-Amann, two of my favorite treats!

Can you tell our members a little about yourself? When did you first fall in love with baking?

Author: Firstly, thank you for your kind words, it makes all the hard work worthwhile to hear that! So I am originally from the UK. I have been in New York for almost 10 years now. My wife is also from the UK and we have two beautiful little New Yorkers, Matilda and Archibald.

My first memories of baking and cooking were with my Granny who like most, was an amazing cook, so I did a great deal of cooking and baking throughout my childhood. I was never particularly academic, so the kitchen seemed a natural destination after school. I enrolled in a four-year apprenticeship, very French classical training. The last year of school I focused solely on pastry and that's when I really fell in love with baking. So, throughout my career I have done savory for long periods, but always had a foot in the pastry department.

EYB:  I am thrilled to see sandwich, pizzas and other savory recipes in Bake. Often, one is either a pastry or savory chef, do you enjoy savory cooking as well?

Author: I do, for me food is food, it doesn't have to be sweet vs savory. I like to try and blur the lines of both because at the end of the day it is all about flavor. I think for me what I love most about my job is that it's an endless list of possibilities. When it comes to pastry, for me, my first thought is how can we make this less sweet, and that's where having a background in savory helps. As much as I love pastries and desserts, I wouldn't say I have a sweet tooth.

EYB: On Chanson's webpage it states, "Chanson celebrates the art of dessert making and it's orchestral process; A song or symphony. A patisserie by day and a dessert bar by night, Chanson is a distinct concept inspired and led by Rory Macdonald." I do love this concept - often times while in New York (I lived in NY for 15 years and want to go back!), I want to try something new after dinner - and Chanson sounds like the perfect spot. Tell us how this idea came about?

Author: There are a few reasons why we created this concept. First. it was my dream to have this, I have spent my whole career in fine dining restaurants and hotels, working 16-18 hour days, behind the scenes, in the back. There you never get to see people's reactions or feedback and really that's why people cook to make people happy. And when you work the back for so many years, it can almost become robotic, you lose the love for it. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and wanted to be right in front of everyone and see their reactions and hear their feedback. In the bar, we are an open/live kitchen where the tasting menu is prepared in front of you (think sushi bar but with desserts) and upstairs is a European style patisserie with the kitchen all behind glass. You walk in and you can see the bread coming out of the oven, the chocolate bonbons being made and more. I wanted to be totally transparent on both levels, our product doesn't come from a commissary. It is all made in house in front of you.

EYB: Tell us about the book writing process, what was the hardest obstacle?  What was easier than you thought it was going to be?

Author: Time was the hardest obstacle, we own two restaurants, and with two kids time is somewhat of a rarity. I think if I had been given another year, I would of still missed the deadline - I don't think I'm ever satisfied with anything I do (even though thanks to Rizzoli the book came out amazing!) so choosing the recipe and then leaving it alone was another challenge for me - I am always looking to improve or tweak something, so learning to let things be, was also a challenge for me. But we did not compromise with Bake, I am really happy with everything.

EYB: For a novice baker, which recipe would you recommend our members try first from your book? Which recipe is your favorite?

Author: Try the sweet pastry, make a tart, the lemon/yuzu/matcha or raspberry pistachio, and perhaps the base bread recipe and the three variations. Hopefully, this will give the baker the confidence to try the more complex recipes, like the croissants or the Kouign Amann. My hope with Bake is that the reader can grow with it. 

EYB: What are your top three tips for someone that wants to dive into pastry?

Author: Stay clean in your work which is so important. Keeping a clean work station is a fundamental aspect in the professional kitchen but it should be true at home. This practice keeps stress levels down by cleaning as you go and not ending up with a massive pile at the end which it takes the enjoyment out of it.

Our  takes you inside this title and features the following 

 

When I first received the book, I was drawn to the Kouign-amann chapter. Yes, a whole chapter on my favorite pastry that not only shares instructions along with process photos but several recipes for various flavors and combinations. Each pastry is covered thoroughly - from macarons to croissants, from sweet to savory. It is brilliant - there is simply no other word that adequately describes how I feel about this book.

Special thanks to Rizzoli for sharing the materials for our EYBD preview and for offering two copies of this title in our giveaway below. My thanks to Rory Macdonald for not only creating a gorgeous book but for taking time to tell us a bit about himself and Bake

The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post and this forum post. Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to the next entry option - the blog comment. After that, there are additional options that you can complete for more entries.

Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on May 26th, 2019.

82 Comments

  • vickster  on  4/4/2019 at 7:17 AM

    Rhubarb 'n' Custard Tart

  • lpatterson412  on  4/4/2019 at 9:07 AM

    Raspberry and rose eclairs!

  • kmn4  on  4/4/2019 at 11:31 AM

    Earl Grey & blood orange chocolate mousse with hazelnut Dacquoise

  • lean1  on  4/4/2019 at 12:05 PM

    Pizza Bianca, because I love pIzza!

  • Amdona  on  4/4/2019 at 12:44 PM

    Sicilian pistachio croissants

  • matag  on  4/4/2019 at 12:48 PM

    Gianduja kouign-amann

  • Bekstayo  on  4/4/2019 at 1:15 PM

    Gianduja kouign-amann. I went to the town in France where Kouign-amann was invented, and would love to be able to make it myself, with the added twist of gianduja (hazelnut paste, that we all know and love as Nutella).

  • amylou61  on  4/4/2019 at 1:33 PM

    Is try the Sourdough Bread recipe

  • JenjiRM  on  4/4/2019 at 2:21 PM

    Lemon, yuzu & matcha tart!

  • jmay42066  on  4/4/2019 at 2:47 PM

    Cashew cookie

  • riley  on  4/4/2019 at 3:11 PM

    Local strawberry, vanilla, basil and black pepper tart

  • Blackeyedsusans  on  4/4/2019 at 3:18 PM

    Raspberry and rose eclairs!

  • ravensfan  on  4/4/2019 at 3:34 PM

    Lemon-ricotta pancakes

  • MarciK  on  4/4/2019 at 3:48 PM

    Wow, who can really choose just one? I'll have to say... Earl Grey & blood orange chocolate mousse with hazelnut Dacquoise

  • laureljean  on  4/4/2019 at 3:55 PM

    Tomato & herb fougasse

  • ktwalla  on  4/4/2019 at 4:33 PM

    Dulce de Leche Kouign Amman

  • verorenee  on  4/4/2019 at 5:05 PM

    the black sesame kouign amman

  • AlexH  on  4/4/2019 at 5:38 PM

    Kouign Amman! And raspberry-rose eclairs sound magical, too!

  • ebs  on  4/4/2019 at 8:25 PM

    Blood orange macarons

  • lauriesk  on  4/4/2019 at 8:56 PM

    Coronation chicken salad with cucumber on ciabatta

  • jr0717  on  4/4/2019 at 10:43 PM

    I'm Sicilian - I'd HAVE to make the Sicilian pistachios croissants!

  • cpattersongo  on  4/4/2019 at 10:59 PM

    Huckleberry compote! We love picking huckleberries and not many recipes, so happy to see this.

  • RuthHarwood  on  4/5/2019 at 2:38 AM

    Raspberry and rose eclairs look different and interesting!

  • JRumi  on  4/5/2019 at 7:02 AM

    Chocolate babka

  • Zaira  on  4/5/2019 at 12:01 PM

    Rhubarb and Custard Tart

  • vglong29  on  4/5/2019 at 1:39 PM

    Focaccia

  • Ledlund  on  4/5/2019 at 3:57 PM

    PB & J kouign-amann

  • demomcook  on  4/5/2019 at 9:14 PM

    Lemon-poppyseed weekend cake with a lemony drizzle

  • stepspior  on  4/5/2019 at 9:25 PM

    Strawberry cheesecake

  • Aminata95  on  4/5/2019 at 10:46 PM

    cheesecake

  • JJWong  on  4/5/2019 at 11:18 PM

    I want to learn to make croissants.

  • t.t  on  4/6/2019 at 2:08 AM

    Black sesame kouign-amann

  • nadiam1000  on  4/6/2019 at 7:47 AM

    Kouign-amann - one of my favorite pastries ever and I would love to be able to make them at home

  • mpdeb98  on  4/6/2019 at 9:03 AM

    Chocolate babka

  • mcrimmins  on  4/6/2019 at 10:53 AM

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

  • Lafauvette  on  4/6/2019 at 1:07 PM

    Would love to attempt a kouign-amann

  • LaurenE  on  4/6/2019 at 1:21 PM

    Lemon, yuzu & matcha tart

  • virjeania  on  4/6/2019 at 6:19 PM

    My Granny’s scones. My grandmother made them and I would love to make them

  • Shelley.b  on  4/6/2019 at 9:19 PM

    Casgew cookie

  • Kimmaicutler  on  4/6/2019 at 10:38 PM

    Matcha & green cardamom cake

  • tennyogirl  on  4/6/2019 at 11:29 PM

    Lemon, yuzu & matcha tart

  • debbiehb  on  4/7/2019 at 9:16 AM

    Ciabatta

  • dtremit  on  4/7/2019 at 1:08 PM

    Passionfruit curd sounds amazing!

  • Lmocooks  on  4/8/2019 at 12:24 PM

    So intrigued by these, really want to try the Gianduja kouign-amann.

  • rchesser  on  4/8/2019 at 12:26 PM

    Dulce de leche kouign-amann

  • sarahawker  on  4/8/2019 at 3:59 PM

    Pizza bianca

  • thecharlah  on  4/8/2019 at 9:10 PM

    PB & J kouign-amann

  • Zaira  on  4/12/2019 at 2:36 PM

    Lemon Shortbread

  • laurencooks  on  4/12/2019 at 6:21 PM

    Sicilian pistachio croissants!

  • BMeyer  on  4/12/2019 at 7:02 PM

    chocolate babka

  • lbguerrant  on  4/13/2019 at 4:32 PM

    Kouign-amann

  • bdmltm  on  4/13/2019 at 6:34 PM

    Chocolate babka

  • liasim  on  4/14/2019 at 3:55 PM

    Prociuitto ricotta and fig pizza

  • smartie101  on  4/15/2019 at 6:32 PM

    chocolate babka

  • sequoia55  on  4/17/2019 at 12:38 AM

    Chocolate babka

  • Sfgordon  on  4/17/2019 at 2:11 PM

    everything croissants!

  • Siegal  on  4/18/2019 at 10:17 AM

    I want to make chicken banh mi

  • Siegal  on  4/18/2019 at 10:30 AM

    I like kougan Amman!

  • Dannausc  on  4/18/2019 at 7:07 PM

    Jammy doughnuts

  • laffersk  on  4/19/2019 at 12:17 PM

    Croque monsieur croissants

  • Jenamarie  on  4/21/2019 at 7:48 PM

    Apple spiral tart

  • jenmatt  on  4/23/2019 at 5:43 PM

    Kouign Amann

  • EmilyR  on  4/24/2019 at 1:43 AM

    Lemon & poppyseed kouign-amann

  • bookreadera  on  4/24/2019 at 12:46 PM

    sable breton

  • ella1912  on  4/25/2019 at 6:49 AM

    Kouign Amann

  • Gussiecat  on  4/25/2019 at 10:41 AM

    Kouign-amann, and then the variations!

  • stepspior  on  4/25/2019 at 3:36 PM

    Kouign-amann

  • cellenly  on  4/26/2019 at 10:12 AM

    Granny's scones

  • Aproporpoise  on  4/26/2019 at 2:35 PM

    Chocolate Mandarin Mousse!

  • HomespunHouse  on  4/26/2019 at 8:33 PM

    chocolate & raspberry croissants

  • Kblg  on  4/26/2019 at 8:58 PM

    Cherry, golden raisin & walnut bread.

  • edyenicole  on  4/28/2019 at 1:23 PM

    granny's scones!!

  • AnnaZed  on  5/1/2019 at 4:52 PM

    Sicilian pistachio croissants (

  • jluvs2bake  on  5/3/2019 at 4:45 PM

    Bergamot orange & green cardamom cake

  • ella1912  on  5/4/2019 at 2:40 PM

    Kouign-amann

  • popoff  on  5/8/2019 at 2:40 PM

    Sicilian pistachio croissants mmmm

  • lgroom  on  5/8/2019 at 7:30 PM

    sicilian pistachio croissants

  • cellenly  on  5/16/2019 at 11:13 AM

    Black sesame kouign-amann

  • Siegal  on  5/20/2019 at 9:40 AM

    Lemon ricotta pancakes

  • Scotsman61  on  5/21/2019 at 9:21 PM

    Chocolate babka

  • orchidlady01  on  5/22/2019 at 4:26 AM

    Chocolate & raspberry croissants

  • percussion03  on  5/22/2019 at 12:42 PM

    Kouign amann

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