WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEAL?
Toast with butter and a perfectly cooked egg (any style — poached, fried, scrambled, boiled — as long as it is a custardy thing of beauty and not overset) with an ample spoonful of gremolata. Or in the summer, an icy cold, supremely silky gazpacho.
IS THERE A CHILDHOOD COMFORT FOOD THAT YOU THINK ABOUT FREQUENTLY?
In truth, no. I grew up with a lot of quick meals and packaged food. But I do think of a sauce that I had in Cameroon made with the inside meats of pumpkin seeds, and so often wonder how it was made and would like to try it again.
WHICH TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE THAT YOU DON’T POSSESS?
It would be nice to be able to sing with gusto.
WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DO BEFORE YOU STARTED COOKING?
I was considering a Ph.D. in anthropology or medical anthropology!
OF ALL THE FRENCH PASTIRES, WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE TO MAKE?
An unadorned croissant. I also have an intense love for the process of making bread, but laminated pastry is something that fulfills my need for discipline, precision, and deep focus. A successful croissant, in pastry-land, is perhaps the thing that brings the most joy.
IS THERE ONE FOOD THAT YOU’RE SECTRETLY OBSESSED WITH HAVING AT HOME?
Prunes! I love good prunes :- )
IS THERE A FOOD THAT YOU DISLIKE?
I don’t hate much food, but I do shudder at desserts that are too sweet. I will move them around on my plate to avoid eating them.
IF YOU COULD FIND OUT ANYONE’S SECRET RECIPE, WHO’S AND WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Hmm. Probably just to watch Christine Ferber making jam. She has published many of her recipes, but I would like to witness her process in person.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MEAL AND WHY?
There are many memorable dishes, but I think the meal that I remember most vividly was in a little trattoria with yellow-painted walls in Turin, where I had wild boar stuffed with spices and served with a plum sauce. There were many of us, seated at a long table, all sharing our food with one another, and it was a very festive, convivial meal and the warmth of the company made it unforgettable.
WHAT MENTORS HELPED YOU ALONG YOUR JORNEY OF BECOMING
I’ve had many mentors in the “industry” of course, but the most influential were people who were passionate teachers of their craft, but also kinda beekeeper in Paris, a gardener in Vermont, an herbalist, and forager in northern England. It was the people who did what they did to honor the earth and to connect more deeply with humanity who made the biggest mark on me. I did learn a lot from hot-tempered and intense bakers and chefs, certainly, but the ways in which I try to go are most informed by gentle, thoughtful people who didn’t search for fanfare, but instead were dedicated to a practice that allowed them to find their inner essence.
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