LOS ANGELES — For a baker who grew up in the restaurant business, having a fully functional bakery-cafe as a test lab is what gets filed under the “dream job” category.
Jonathan Davis has worn many hats: chef, pastry chef, certified baker and, currently, La Brea Bakery’s senior vice-president, R.&D. His hands have been in the bakery’s dough since this global player in the par-baked and fully baked artisan bread space was still just one Los Angeles retail shop.
Part of the company’s exponential growth included opening La Brea Bakery Cafes in airports and convention centers in Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif. and the Delta terminal at JFK airport in New York. The crown jewel of them all is the La Brea Bakery Cafe located on La Brea Avenue just outside Hollywood.
During Baking & Snack’s visit to the Van Nuys facility, Mr. Davis hosted the team for lunch at La Brea Bakery Cafe and showcased a breadbasket with the latest baguettes and crisps as well as a Brussel Sprouts Pizza served on a crust made with its exclusive Fortuna wheat, supplied from Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery.
“This is our ‘living lab,’” Mr. Davis said. “I bring my team of bakers in here and will teach them how to bake up a couple new desserts we created. We get to play around in the kitchen all the time. It’s a great stage.”
In addition to menu items, La Brea Bakery Cafe sells its bread and sweet goods — most of which Mr. Davis developed himself — from the retail counter inside the shop.