If you have a sweet tooth, you'll want to cozy up to this morning routine. Bronwen Wyatt recently spearheaded the development of Bacchanal and The Elysian Bar's pastry and dessert programs. While she graduated Tulane University with a degree in English and Fine Arts, she was inspired to make a career change after taking a job as a prep cook in 2007. She entered the culinary industry, spending time in Maine and San Francisco, before returning to New Orleans where she has since overseen the pastry programs at La Petite Grocery, Shaya, and Willa Jean. At The Elysian Bar, you'll find a variety of Wyatt's creations: breakfast pastries, cookies, and breads, as well as a dessert menu that is fruit-forward.
While Wyatt's routine depends on the day, you can be sure to find her enjoying coffee at home and resisting bites of the pastry she's making.
4:05 a.m. First alarm goes off.
4:15-4:20 a.m. A second and third round of alarms go off—I’m somehow not innately a morning person despite my choice of profession, and my long-suffering partner is somehow able to sleep through all of these! By the third alarm, our cat Petey is usually alerted to the fact that it's breakfast time, so she’ll nudge me out of bed gently (by screaming at me or threatening to knock over a vase).
4:25 a.m. I’m up! And enjoying a cup of coffee right away thanks to the coffee pot my partner, Sophie, has set up the night before. Having a coffee pot with a timer has changed my morning routine so much for the better—that, and laying out my clothes the night before, making a morning smoothie that will be ready to go, and pre-soaking my oats or chia pudding if I’m on a health kick that week.
5:00 a.m. Arrive at the Bacchanal commissary—we rotate shifts to do the morning bake-off, so I spend my first work hours on these days alone, which is generally how I prefer. I love the routine of setting everything up to bake fresh, putting care into the garnishes, and easing into the flow of the day with a routine I’m deeply familiar with. I begin by scooping muffins and proofing focaccia—our flavors rotate seasonally so there’s always something new to work with. This week, I’ve been garnishing our savory focaccia special with local baby carrots, turnips, and aleppo pepper (always aleppo, I’m addicted to it).
6:00 a.m. By 6, I’ve also checked Slack, peeked my email, and started putting together the prep list for the day—since we’re responsible for breakfast pastries, desserts, and bread for two restaurants, there are a lot of moving pieces to the puzzle. In between, I’m baking fresh biscuits, scones, and cookies (to be honest I’m also heavily sampling the scones, especially if my chia pudding is particularly healthy that day).
7:00 a.m. I’ll do my delivery to The Elysian Bar now, setting up the pastry case, and going over all the pastry mise en place, tasting everything. Sometimes I sneak an espresso in the front parlors—the setting couldn’t be more gorgeous—and have a quick gab with Stacey, our coffee lead at Elysian.
8:00 a.m. I like to swing by Bacchanal in the morning to check in with Tony, our AM Sous, about any issues from the night before. This is also when I’ll generally check in with Jojo, our kitchen gardener—she’s responsible for most of our edible flowers and herbs, so she’ll send us a harvest list several mornings a week for us to choose from. Right now I’m really enjoying her pink sorrel paired with the strawberry shortcake at The Elysian Bar.
8:30-11 a.m. Then it's back to the commissary to tackle the prep for the day! Luckily everywhere I need to be is in the Marigny/Bywater, so it’s a quick commute.