Page 46 - Pastry & Baking Magazine

Bakery In Focus
Pastry & Baking North America
As master baker, Jay oversees the baking production and is
responsible for every loaf of Authentic Nantucket Portuguese
Bread produced. Bringing experience gained from other
bakeries in the off-season, he has expanded the product line to
meet the changing tastes of today. He produces the only fresh,
raised donuts made on Nantucket. He has introduced a full
line of hearth breads and breakfast items, and his products are
featured in some of Nantucket’s best restaurants and inns.
While managing during the day, Magee oversees the front
of the shop as well as the baking. The Nantucket Bake Shop
has continued with the traditional favorites like raspberry
squares and apple turnovers, while evolving a line of pastries
that include elegant desserts, tempting cookies, savory cocktail
treats, and pies of all sorts. In addition, the Nantucket Bake
Shop specializes in cakes: birthday cakes, anniversary cakes,
wedding cakes, anything you can imagine cakes! Special orders
are no problem.
In early 2009, the Nantucket Bake Shop won a contest
sponsored by General Mills and the Retail Baker’s Association.
They had been chosen from hundreds of bakeries across the
country to receive a renovation of their retail space resulting
in an improved customer experience. The Grand Reopening
took place in the spring of 2010, complete with the Pillsbury
The Nantucket Bake Shop is now a member of Sustainable
Nantucket, whose mission is “to preserve the community
character of Nantucket while sustaining its economic and
environmental vitality.” Each Saturday during the summer
months, you’ll find them at the Farmers and Artisans Market
located just off Main Street. It is a terrific way to connect with
new customers and offer loyal friends another outlet.
The Nantucket Bake Shop is also a member of Think Local
First Nantucket, the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce,
Retail Bakers of America and has been voted Best Bakery on
Nantucket by the readers of The Inquirer and Mirror and
Cape Cod Life magazine.
At the end of this summer’s season, we had the great
pleasure to sit down with Magee and Jay and find out more
about their shop and the challenges of baking on an island.
Pastry & Baking North America: Let’s start by
rewinding to the summer of 1976. You and your
husband to be Jay visit Nantucket to help your parents
who recently bought the bakery. Looking back, what
do you know now that you wish you knew when you
first started at the bakery?
If I knew then that I would still be baking 36 years
later, I am not sure that I would have believed it for one. It
was simply a summer job with a free place to live. While I
had grown up in strong “foodie” household, I was working
toward a career in greenhouse management. Baking came
very easily to me and even to this day, I still love what I do.
But maybe I would have spent some time furthering my
education in baking instead of all my learning in the school
of “hard knocks”.
As a mostly seasonal bakery in a mostly summer resort
town, describe the additional pressure faced by having
to make your year’s profits during a small, three month
There is no doubt that we face a unique pressure to perform
in a three month season. If we have not made our numbers
by August 15, it is not going to be a great year for us. We have
managed to extend this time by doing a huge Thanksgiving
business and our holiday mail order season is equal in sales to
our summer season.
How was the summer of 2012? Describe a typical
This was a very good summer for us. 2012 came on the heels of
two lack luster summers here (and everywhere else in America).
This year our customers seemed to be a little more relaxed and
prone to enjoying life which luckily for us included great food.
My typical work day in the summer begins at 7 or 7:30. I would
say that I spend about 65% of the day baking and decorating
cakes, about 25% on ordering, banking and correspondence
and 10% handling customer service, staffing issues and general
trouble shooting in the shop. I bet it’s no surprise which part of
my day I love the most!