This is The Feast 14, in which we highlight the most anticipated projects of the new season. Here now, Hot Chocolate chef, James Beard Award nominee and all-around dessert maven Mindy Segal shares a few details on her upcoming "totally unconventional" bakery.
One of the first things Mindy Segal wants you to know about her forthcoming bakery project is that it's been a long time coming. Though she dreamed of opening a bakery for years, it was a recent trip to Italy that gave the final push for her to open a European-style shop. "It's inspired by the European philosophy on life. There, they live to live. Here, we live to work," she says.
Segal plans to translate that joie de vivre by staying open late-night to cater to revelers with a sweet tooth, and by serving booze, like craft beer and Fernet Branca. "My fiance and I would go to these cafes, bakeries and bars in Europe, and people are standing there at the bar, talking about the neighborhood and drinking early in the morning."
In terms of pastry, she has a few adamantly non-trendy items in the works. She's testing sandwich cookies with flavors like peppermint Oreo, "Nutter Butter," fleur de sel, whiskey butterscotch cream with crushed pretzel, and salted almond shortbread with framboise buttercream. She'll also have bars, tarts, quiches and bagels available to-go.
And what about her signature chocolate creations? "I'm taking hot chocolate—the drink—to the next level," she promises quizzically. "I mean the next next level." While mouths are already salivating, diners will have to wait a bit longer until Segal releases the exact timing and location of the Bucktown project. Meanwhile, tide yourself over with another brownie at Hot Chocolate. [The Feast]