• September 12, 2017

Q&A: Joanne Chang of Flour

 
Lottie Hedley

Joanne Chang may hold a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard, but she’s best known as a sticky bun savant. An avid baker in her undergraduate years, Chang ditched a career as a management consultant to pursue her true passion. She worked as a pastry chef at renowned Boston restaurants Rialto and Mistral before opening her own bakery and cafe, Flour, in 2000. Since then, she’s added six additional Flour locations in the Boston area and opened South End restaurant Myers + Chang in 2007. In 2016 she received a James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker.

Boston’s best dish:

Oleana’s Baked Alaska. It’s not too sweet, and I love passionfruit. Or peapod stems from Taiwan Cafe. I could live on these with some rice.

Desert island spice:

Salt. Is that a spice? Well, it’s the most important thing we use in the kitchen, both sweet and savory. I can tell immediately when a pastry doesn’t have salt.

Kitchen playlist:

Alicia Keys and Beethoven. Alicia Keys, because she’s amazing. Beethoven, because I’m a secret wannabe pianist, so I pretend I’m playing while I’m prepping.

Favorite food destination:

Taiwan.

Cooking inspiration:

I was just talking to one of my prep cooks last night about why I chose pastry over savory. You can taste the whole time you are baking. I love to eat, and that inspires me to bake and cook—so I can eat delicious food and share it with other people.