I had a pleasure to meet and work with two lovely women from Tokyo a few weeks back. They are from a lifestyle magazine called Norah and here in Seattle to interview my good friend Junko Mine about her bread making. Junko is a professional pâtissier and she also works making bread with local natural yeast which is fairly common in Japan. I joined them for a little field trip to interview a couple of key location for bread making in the States.
We visited Bread Lab in Mt. Vernon, WA, about 70 miles north of Seattle. Bread Lab is an integral part of Washington State University - Mout Vernon Plant Breadding Program. This lab intensely experiment with different grains in different ways for different purposes to help explore and invent ways of regionally available grains to move the craft of whole grain bread baking and other grain usage forward. They grow approximately 40,000 different kinds of grains from all around the worked and work with professional bakers and chefs from all over the world to analyze and test their whole grain products under the technical guidance of Bread Lab Director and wheat breeder Dr. Stephen Jones and Bread Lab resident baker Jonathan Bethony.
We also stopped by at Bread Farm, a bakery in a small quint town called Edison nearby. Another inspirational bakery and their baked goods are all from natural and organic sources.
This was not only fun to photograph but also extremely educational and inspirational for me. It tends to happen when I work on a project with Junko. She's an amazingly talented and most humble human being I have ever met. I respect and appreciate her perfection, attention to detail, efforts to go out and learn constantly, and persuasion to reach and create something truly special. I look forward to more projects with her as I learn so much about taking care of one's craft and be humble during the process. Yes, it is kind of what we call Zen and it's a genuine one.