Three ovens, two bakers and a pair of pastry chefs at Baked in Kansas City

baked-exterior-021014If you don’t see what you want in the Baked in Kansas City pastry case, just give it a day. The three-week old bakery in Westport, in the former Napoleon’s spot at 706 Westport Road, has three ovens, two bakers and two pastry chefs who start work about three hours before the morning rush hour in a daily effort to fill that case.

“When people come here they’ll get traditional French pastries: macarons and madeleines; but they’ll also get the American side of things: cookies, coffee cakes and cinnamon rolls,” pastry chef Nicolette Foster says.

Macarons, panna cotta, fruit tarts and cookies are just a few of the desserts at Baked.

Macarons, panna cotta, fruit tarts and cookies are just a few of the desserts at Baked.

Foster has spent the past six months developing the menu and working in the kitchen at The Majestic, owner Frank Sebree’s other restaurant. Previously, she was the pastry chef for Michael Smith and Extra Virgin.

The light walls and dark trim of Napoleon’s have been reversed at Baked – deep purple walls (some of them painted by Foster) and cream trim is the new color scheme. The dining room has also been extended into what was once the kitchen area.

There’s still plenty of space in the kitchen, where executive chef Liz Huffman and sous chef Grant Klover are responsible for the bistro menu. Lunch could start with goose fat and bacon powder popcorn or a warm kale pancetta salad. Dinner’s got a seared coulotte steak topped with smoked paprika butter and BBQ duck confit flatbread pizza. Baked also has a full bar.

“I think Frank wanted this place to be eclectic and unique,” Foster says. “I think we’ve done that with the food menu.”

The Baked in Kansas City Candy Bar.

The Baked in Kansas City Candy Bar.

The signature dessert is the Baked in Kansas City Candy Bar. It’s got four layers. The bottom is milk chocolate peanut butter with dried French crepes added for crunch. The second layer is a milk chocolate caramel ganache, the third is a dark chocolate ganache and the final layer is a topping of salted caramel.

“I want people to say that this is the best thing they’ve ever eaten,” Foster says.

In an effort to keep a well-stocked case, Foster works closely with her pastry sous chef Joey Phillips, who trained under Tim Foley of Bit of Swiss in Michigan.

“We compliment each other really well. She learned under an amazing pastry chef and comes from a bakery, while I’ve worked in restaurants,” Foster says.

They’re experimenting with cheesecake and a passion fruit and coconut cake.

“You’ll feel like you’re in Hawaii,” Phillips says of the passion fruit offering.

While it’s not quite Hawaii weather here, Baked also makes its own ice cream, currently in four flavors (vanilla bean, chocolate, pistachio and salted caramel) and seasonal sorbets (sour green apple and spiced pear made with cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg).

Foster likens the ice cream to a “very rich custard.” It’s available by the scoop, as a milkshake or as an oversized sundae. Sebree was inspired by Serendipity 3 in New York City. For those who have never been, think of something the size of a Winstead’s skyscraper and bring a few friends.

Rustic, country loaves fresh out of one of Baked's three ovens.

Rustic, country loaves fresh out of one of Baked’s three ovens.

Foster and Phillips share oven space with David Friesen and Jason Provo, who bake the bread for The Majestic and Baked. There are three ovens, one of which is a deck oven that uses steam and heat that the bakers can manipulate to create memorable crust on a bread.

Friesen recently moved to Kansas City from Columbus, Ohio, where he worked for Dan the Baker. The artisanal bakeshop used Heartland Mills flour out of Marienthal, Kansas, the same flour they’re using at Baked. Friesen impressed Foster with his resume, which was a loaf of bread. Provo had been a project manager at DST Systems before he found himself in baking. He ran the pastry department at Dean & Deluca and worked at Panera Bread prior to the Westport bakery.

“They work together and are producing beautiful, artisan bread,” Foster says of Friesen and Provo.

The pair arrives a bit after 4 a.m. to bake the rustic-style loaves, brioche and bruschetta. They’ve been making country loaves seeded with sesame, garlic and manchego, and lemon zest and fennel seed. Right now, they’re playing around with a toasted hazelnut and apricot whole wheat bread. [Provo’s Instagram feed is a good place to get a sneak peek at new breads.]

The team at Baked wants to draw people in with what’s in the pastry case, but they know it’s what happens after the bread and pastries leave the case that matters.

“What’s the point of making it look nice if it doesn’t taste good,” Foster says.

Baked is open from 7 a.m to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Baked has brunch on Saturdays and Sundays  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is 816-561-2253.

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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