People are often surprised to hear that, in addition to operating 14 restaurants and bars in the Sacramento area, Paragary Restaurant Group also runs a bakery that supplies pastries, desserts, bread, pasta, and pizza dough to all their own locations, as well as a few other restaurants outside of their group.
It is no easy task managing a bakery with such high demand, but Laurel Sanders-Melchor, head pastry chef and bakery manager, handles it with ease. She is backed up by a dedicated crew that works throughout the night to make sure all orders are ready to be delivered by 7a.m. every morning, like Ramon Lopez, who has helped manage the bakery since 1999, and starts his shifts at midnight.
Laurel has been with Paragary Restaurant Group since 2009. She started as a line cook at Cafe Bernardo on K Street.
Her dessert ideas, and experience as a pastry chef, caught the attention of Kurt Spataro (Paragary Restaurant Group executive chef) who quickly invited her to join the Paragary Bakery team. Laurel took over as manager in 2010.
Do you love the famously delicious hand-cut rosemary pappardelle noodles served at Paragary's midtown? Those come from the Paragary Bakery!
Next time you are in a Cafe Bernardo, explore some of Laurel's creations in the pastry case. Word on the street is the carrot cake is out of this world (and is also a personal favorite of Randy Paragary)!
Laurel also dreams up fun and tasty cupcakes that rotate every month, like the Irish Cupcake made with golden spiced Guinness cake, Bailey's buttercream frosting, and a 'float' of chocolate Jameson frosting!
The Paragary Bakery has expanded in the last couple years and now also supplies noodles to Produce Express, a local wholesale supplier of fresh, local produce and products to restaurants all around Sacramento and the surrounding areas.
More recently, Paragary Bakery was selected to supply all the bread products for Sacramento's new Golden 1 Center!
Let's learn more about Laurel's sweet life!
Q: Where are you from?
A: Humboldt County, CA
Q: What are your favorite activities outside of work/the kitchen?
A:Backpacking, going on road-trip adventures with my girlfriend and my daughters.
Q: Where is your go-to hangout in Sacramento?
A: I love going up to Auburn to hike on the trails and play in the river. My daughters and I love hiking out to Lake Clementine to check out the dam.
Q: What is something you cannot live without?
A: Social justice. Now more than ever.
Q: What inspires your delicious creations?
A: I’m constantly inspired by the amazing local produce we have here in Sacramento. I love following the changing seasons. I’m currently playing around with cherries and all kinds of gorgeous stone fruits.
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
A: The times when you’re afraid are the times when you’re being brave. It’s okay to be afraid. Do the thing anyway.
Q: What is your all-time favorite baked good?
A: A really perfect, shatteringly flaky croissant. I dream of being able to make them at Paragary Bakery.
Q: Word on the street is, the Paragary Bakery will be supplying all the bread for the new Golden 1 Center. Are you excited? How will you handle the new volume?
A: We’re very excited! The bakery is going to be upgrading some of our equipment to accommodate the increased volume. Luckily, I have an amazing staff who are eager to step up to the challenge.
Q: Best part of working at PRG?
A: In my position as pastry chef, I have the chance to work with so many different amazing chefs. I love to see how each menu evolves and how every chef has a different interpretations. It’s challenging to meet the each expectation, but I love a challenge.
Q: First job ever?
A: Round Table Pizza in high school. I loved working the big conveyor belt pizza oven, even though I was barely tall enough to wield the wooden paddles!
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: It’s hard to beat a really perfect burrito. Luckily there are plenty of places to find one here in Sacramento.
Q: What is your favorite PRG restaurant or bar?
A: I really love what Jason Azevedo is doing over at Hock Farm! His menu is constantly changing—every time I go there is something else that I’m excited to try.
Q: Favorite thing about living in Sacramento?
A: The amazing community!
Posted on 06/27/2016 at 05:19:00 PM