Thursday, January 25, 2018

Team Spotlight: Rachel

Rachel's mantra: "keep doing what you love.".  Putting this advice into practice, she has been part of the Ninth Street team for a year, and does not expect to depart any time soon.  Rachel is no stranger to food service.  Throughout her career, she has worked as a relief cook and in a variety of other roles within the industry.  However, arriving at NSB, she was new to bread baking and relied on bakery owner, Ari, to teach her everything she knows.  Now a knowledgeable baker, Rachel has earned her place at the bread table, where she lends a hand to each step in the process.  Her favorite?  The challenging brioche.  Beyond bread, what keeps Rachel doing what she loves at Ninth Street?  Without hesitation she points to her colleagues on the team.  Unlike her past teams, she compliments the work ethic, pride in product and attitude of those around her.  Having witnessed the energy and enthusiasm that Rachel brings around the table, I'm sure the compliment is mutual.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Team Spotlight: Felix

Most days you will find Felix in the back pastry room at NSB crafting any of the pastries enjoyed at the bakery - bear claws, danish, cinnamon rolls, croissants - Spanish tunes playing in the background. In fact, Felix trained me in pastry preparations on my first day at the bakery. For hours he laminated and cut dough while I formed and trayed. He may not be a man of many words, but when I requested a change to a Reggaeton station, he obliged, and teacher and student quietly bonded over Latin dance beats. Having only joined NSB 7 months ago, Felix has already seemingly mastered his craft, knowing the distinct process of each pastry by heart. He represents one more example of how our each individual makes the Ninth Street team special - kind, patient and willing to teach.

If you have time this weekend, come sample some of Felix's fine work at the bakery or at either of Durham's Saturday Farmers Markets.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pete Wells Takes to the Pulpit

"Some of the mythology of food culture died last year, I think. The chef as avatar of sensual indulgence; restaurant work as a demimonde where rules dissolve in a pleasurable after-hours haze..."


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Team Spotlight: Taylor

Author's note: In celebration of a successful year and in anticipation of a new year full of growth and camaraderie, we want to begin 2018 by introducing you to the members of the NSB team.  From our 'family' to yours, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Taylor never planned on becoming a baker.  However, three years ago when she received an unexpected job offer in the bakery at a local specialty store she accepted  and hasn't looked back.  In the years following, a string of fortunate opportunities have allowed Taylor to learn and grow across the spectrum of bread, flaky pastries and cakes (you can check out her creations on Instagram - @taylorsbakedgoods).  In August 2017, Taylor's journey led her to the Ninth Street team.

To say that Taylor has her hand in a majority of the baking at NSB is not an understatement. Taylor fills her weeks with responsibilities ranging from prepping dough to forming pastries to slicing bread.  Most recently, she has been appointed the principle cruffin baker.  If you are new to the cruffin concept - a flaky croissant dough baked in a muffin tin, rolled in sugar and filled with pastry cream - I suggest you do your research at the bakery or farmers' market ASAP.

As if her weeks weren't full enough, on Saturdays you can also find Taylor at one of the Durham farmers' markets.  It has been during these early weekend mornings at the NSB stand on Hunt Street that I've gotten to know Taylor.  While she has taught me the secret touch needed to set up the tent and the best method to display the bread, she also served as my introduction to the culture of the bakery.  Taylor told me that far more than at her past positions, she enjoys the good team and friendly coworkers at NSB.  Ninth Street is a bakery that accepts individuals at all levels and allows them to work at their own pace - as long as they put care into a quality product. With those traits in mind, I can't think of a better ambassador for the team.

Here's to you, chef.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Team Spotlight: Ronnie

Author's note: In celebration of a successful year and in anticipation of a new year full of growth and camaraderie, we want to begin 2018 by introducing you to the members of the NSB team.  From our 'family' to yours, we look forward to seeing you soon.


"Treat your coworkers like family," Ronnie told me when I requested advice on the best way to integrate into the Ninth Street team.  We were walking through the process to open the bakery's cafe on an unseasonably warm Sunday morning - one of my first days.

As a one-year veteran of NSB, Ronnie has become the primary closer for the cafe.  You can find him there most days. It didn't take long for me to witness Ronnie acting on his own advice. He exercised patience, leading me to the back-up stock of napkins, and then to sugar and then reminding me to keep an eye on coffee levels.  There was only kindness as he answered and re-answered my questions.  Ronnie extends this same willingness and enthusiasm to our other colleagues - taking on whatever additional tasks need to be accomplished during down-times at the cafe and even filling in for delivery drivers when needed.  This is what Ronnie says he likes best about Ninth Street - never feeling stressed because the team is willing to help accomplish whatever needs to be done.

While soft-spoken, there should be no doubt that Ronnie has become an expert in all things related to the cafe.  He can gracefully and succinctly compose any sandwich order before I can even find the listing on the menu.  Ronnie shares his knowledge to offer suggestions and guidance based on dietary preference or craving.  Looking for something sweet?  Ronnie's favorite is the blueberry cream cheese danish.  And next time you stop in for lunch, be sure to catch Ronnie behind the sandwich counter and ask him to whip you up another favorite - the Italian.