Bake Like a Pro:
Join Graison Gill as he demonstrates baking a sourdough baguette made with hominy grits, wood-fired cane syrup, and other ingredients unique to the Deep South. Using the concept of a diaspora, the forced dispersion of a people or a culture, all ingredients and elements of this recipe will complement each other despite their differences in origin: African ingredients, Native flavors, and European techniques will be combined to make a truly original loaf of bread. Having lived and baked in New Orleans for twelve years, Graison is fascinated and informed by the confluence of culture imbued by his adopted hometown. It is this concept of terroir--that something is defined, though not limited by, where it comes from--which informs his bread and his approach to its craft. And it also explains his commitment to using freshly stone milled, whole grain flour. For this reason, he has always advocated that the baker is a shepherd of ingredients who should use craft to express the best flavor. And that they should allow ingredients to speak for themselves in their purest forms.
Graison Gill is the owner of Bellegarde Bakery in New Orleans and has been baking professionally for twelve years. Graison is an educator and advocate for freshly stone-milled flour; he has worked with public health professionals, the university system, and the private sector to teach the economic and ecological value of whole grains. He has taught and spoken around the world on the topics of bread, stone milling, ecology, and craft. In 2016, he wrote a Local Foods Resolution (HR 113) that passed the Louisiana Legislature 92-0. Bellegarde has been named the best bakery in Louisiana and the South; in 2020 he was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a finalist as the best baker in the country. Besides baking, Graison's main passion is teaching, and workshops are a staple of Bellegarde Bakery. (He is also launching an online series of digital classes this Summer.) In addition to his attraction for the craft and ritual of baking, Graison is fascinated by the intersections that bread, baking, and grains create in our daily lives: this Summer he is co-presenting a panel on Walt Whitman and Bread with the director of the Bread Lab at WSU, along with a Whitman scholar from NYU, at two international food conferences.