On the Line: Tiffany Sepetjian Of Pandor Bakery, Part One
Ask her about their dornuts.
Weeklings first reported on Pandor back in 2012. Since then, they've grown to include two additional locations. I'm also pleased to report that they're also on OC Weekly's upcoming Fresh Toast roster. One of two founders, Tiffany oversees the business out of their Tustin production facility and headquarters.
Most frequently asked question by guests.
Do we make our bread and croissants? Many people don't realize that we make every product in-house. We run a 24-hour production schedule in order to get the freshest product to our stores daily. We have a production center with a team of artisan bakers and pastry chefs that focus on traditional pastry construction and/or Viennoiserie [Editor's Note: I've seen it! The aroma is intoxicating.].
Additionally, we have a top executive savory chef team that has worked in many of the fine dining restaurants in Orange County and LA. We are so blessed to have such an amazing culinary team attached at Pandor. As an example, many people don't realize that we have a top baker with his Masters in Baking from the top baking school in France working on our bread construction. We often don't tout the credentials we hold because we feel the most important thing is that our skill and passion come out in the type of food we produce.
With locations in Newport, Belmont Shore and Anaheim, how do the spaces differ (if at all)?
They all have their own character, and we try to customize our menu to meet the needs of that neighborhood. Newport and Belmont are the most similar in menu selection. At our Anaheim location, we offer a slightly smaller savory menu; however, it's a location we like to experiment with and offer some fun, unique offerings, i.e. our crepe burrito. This is one of my favorite new products.
Best culinary tip for the home baker, and where do you recommend they shop for quality butter and cream?
Keep your chin up and you can do it. I really like Surfas at SoCo. They have a great selection of hard-to-find ingredients.
What is the five-step process for your breads?
We create our Mix, Rest/Fermentation— we let it rest for a minimum of 12 to 24 hours (This allows the bread to have a beautiful, earthy taste); Shaping, Proofing and Baking.
Most undervalued ingredient:
Flour. I am truly in love with the process of making bread. To see the transformation of such simple ingredients develop into such beautiful, delicious creations. I am amazed to this day.
One stereotype about your industry, and whether it's true.
This industry demands a lot of technical skill, discipline and focus. We can't follow a simple recipe and get the same result. Our bakers are true skilled artisans that have to make adjustments to their recipes daily that account for weather conditions, flour variances between our palates of flour, etc. There is a great deal of math and time management that is needed in order to make consistent artisan bread that has a good crumb and crust construction.
We don't use chemical improvers in our product, so we can't make the mixes right before forming and baking. There is a lot of rest that is needed between batches, so the bakers must have an acute eye to watch the character of their mix. If there is a problem with the mix and it is not caught before the resting process, there is no way to fix the problem, and you would only find out when it is too late 24-hours later and not have product in the store. There is so much time and skill that goes into each batch, but it is worth it when we see a smile on the customer's face once they have tried our product.
Favorite places to eat (besides your own).
My husband and kids really like PokiNometry.
You're making breakfast; what are you having?
Coffee and an apple turnover (if I am on the run). If I have time to eat at the restaurant, I order the crepe burrito (yum).
Do you provide bread service for any restaurants, or only for your locations?
We had a wholesale division to company while we were building our first retail site; however, it became a little too much to handle once our Newport store was opened. We had two sets of clients, and we felt stretched in providing them the attention to detail that we feel they deserve. I have learned to never say never, so maybe in the future we could offer a small amount of clients our custom products.
Most popular and newest items on your menu.
It depends. Our croissants and our omelets are really popular. The newest item that is amazing is our dornut club. We took our flaky dornuts (fried croissants) with turkey, bacon, tomato, onion, cheese and garlic mayo finished with a sunny side up egg. It is truly gooey deliciousness.
Let's discuss how you came up with the name.
It took us a while to come up with the name. Like everyone, we wanted something unique, but did not want to exclude anyone who is not familiar with the French language from pronouncing the name. Pandor is the phonetic spelling of the French saying "Pain d'Or". That means Golden Bread, and has been consolidated into one word. We wanted to create a word that symbolizes our French artisan baking roots, but also symbolizes our uniqueness. Additionally, we loved the fact that the word "pan" also translates in Spanish to mean bread.
Most important quality you seek in a pastry chef/baker.
Attitude. They must have a spirit that is focused, humble and determined. I have seen many times where we have some of the top and brightest bakers and pastry chefs brought over from France. But, sadly, not all of them experience success because they don't have a willingness to adapt to a new environment and/or have respect for fellow team members.
Pandor has multiple outlets in Orange County and Long Beach. For more information, visit www.pandorbakery.com.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.