America’s in the midst of a bread renaissance – just ask Publican Quality Bread’s Head Baker, Greg Wade. Growing up outside Milwaukee, Greg was raised baking with his mother and grandmother, but it wasn’t until years later that he discovered his passion for whole grains, long fermentation and all the other things he speaks effortlessly about under the humble guise of “nerding out.”
After enrolling in The Illinois Institute of Art’s Culinary Program, Greg began to notice a void in the Chicago dining scene – excellent restaurants had the desire to serve quality breads made from hydrated doughs and whole grains, but they were hard-pressed to find the space and expertise necessary to bake in their already-bustling kitchens. From that epiphany, Greg found his first home as a baker at Wicker Park’s Taxim, where he specialized in breads and pastries. As his knowledge continued to grow, Greg joined the opening team at Girl & the Goat in 2010. Wade excelled under Chef Stephanie Izard’s tutelage, and in 2013, he moved to Little Goat to oversee bread baking at Girl & the Goat, Little Goat and Little Goat French Market.
Now at the helm of Publican Quality Bread, Greg works hand in hand with Chefs de Cuisine, farmers and retail owners to develop breads to fit restaurant menus and storefronts within and outside the One Off family. Since joining our team in 2014, Greg has grown Publican Quality Bread from a seedling operation within the kitchen of sister restaurant Publican Quality Meats, to a full-fledged wholesale wing. In 2017, Greg’s passion and skills were recognized with a James Beard finalist nomination for Outstanding Baker, alongside people he’s admired greatly throughout the course of his career.
As Publican Quality Bread’s Head Baker, Greg oversees the bread program for all of One Off Hospitality Group, with a focus on whole grains and fermentation. Apart from his day-to-day leadership, Greg is an active member of the local, regional and national farming communities – every July, you can find him leading a two-day Bread Camp along with Marty and Will Travis at Spence Farm in Fairbury, IL. Online, you can witness his technique and commitment to ethical, quality ingredients in the newly released documentary, Sustainable.
You can listen to this episode and all other episodes of Let The Music Play Podcast at Sticher or iTunes.