Brooklyn’s nationally renowned bakery Bien Cuit has officially opened up its newest space at Grand Central Market in Grand Central Terminal. With revamped offerings like key lime éclairs, dark and rich chocolate mousse cake, and several not-so-typical flavors of cookies including salted chocolate buckwheat and thyme shortbread, James Beard Award-nominated chef Zachary Golper is mesmerizing Grand Central Terminal’s visitors with signature breads and artisanal desserts. The Daily Meal had the opportunity to chat with Golper on the pastry and dessert focus over at the bustling new spot.
The Daily Meal: What are you most excited about the new location of Bien Cuit?
Zachary Golper: I love the fact that we now have a much broader reach of clientele, who we are able to present with the pastries and breads from our ovens.
What is your all-time favorite dessert that you could eternally live off?
It’s pretty hard to say no to great cake.
How do you and your team create these beautiful pastries?
Our focus is on maximizing flavor through slow fermentation. The beauty of a well-made pastry follows when all details in the preparation process have been done to the highest standard.
What do you want for your guests to ultimately gain from their experience visiting Bien Cuit?
I hope people do more than eat the food. I hope that the flavors evoke a curiosity as to why our breads and pastry are so distinct, and then allow my team to explain to them the benefits of slow fermentation and grain blending.
How do you think the Grand Central location will be a game changer in all aspects for your bakery?
We have already made adjustments to our menu in order to accommodate a much broader spectrum of customers.
I personally have a huge sweet tooth! What do you think makes dessert so special?
People love a sweet treat, but I think when an interesting combination of flavors paired with enticing textures come together, you have something that excites the palate, beyond just satisfying it. People remember bites like this and I believe the more of this chefs put out there, the more it effects change in food systems on a large scale.
Where did you gain inspiration for your cookbook?
I am always driven to understand more deeply the finer details of fermentation, so I would say my primary inspiration is my curiosity and love for experimenting with new ideas and grain blends/altered ratios and thinking outside the norm for ingredient sourcing and use. Also, New York is full of ethnic enclaves that offer a wealth of traditions that were aching to be celebrated and delved into.
What was your initial reaction when you found out you were nominated for the James Beard Award?
It's a huge honor, that two decades ago when I got started down this road, I never expected for myself. It's really nice to be publicly considered a peer to some of the people I respect the most in this industry. JBF is making great strides to better food systems and empower chefs to make real and positive change. Being a part of that is an incredible feeling.
Where would you like to open your next location?
First things first. I'm pretty focused on GCT and Smith Street and our wholesale business. Openings often take a little while to get used to and to iron out the wrinkles. The iron is still hot and I've got my work cut out for a while yet. But soon enough we'll be looking toward new horizons.
What else are you most looking forward to?
My new baby daughter. Due to arrive any day now (as the stork flies). I'm excited to have the new addition join our family!