Mohawk Maker Interview: Scrumptious, Hand-rolled Beauty’s Bagels

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“We kind of obsess over the details of our business. We think that the small things contribute so greatly to the experience of the customer, probably without them even realizing it.” We couldn’t agree more with this statement – which is why Beauty’s Bagel Shop is a featured Maker in the latest issue of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly.

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Together, Amy and Blake hand-craft old school, traditional bagels in Oakland, California. They were inspired by the bagel shops of Montreal, where bagels are rolled by hand, then boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in a wood-fired oven. The artisan process creates a delicious, warm, homemade bagel that not many have been able to replicate. With a few twists of their own, Amy and Blake have personalized the recipe to create bagels that are chewy on the inside, with a nice crust and lots of seeds on the outside – just the way they – and their customers -like them.

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We talked with Amy about their process, thoughts on craft, and how they believe details matter to their craft and customers.

What is the most important part of your craft? How do you share that with your customers?

I guess that everything that we do in our bagel shop is an important part of our craft, from the bagels themselves to how much we whip the cream cheese to the music we play and the aesthetic in the dining room. The craft is an all-encompassing experience that the customer takes with them.

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How did you become interested in your craft?

We moved out to the Bay Area from Philly and missed great bagels, plus Blake’s father is from Montreal so he got to experience the whole wood-fired bagel thing pretty early on in life and that made a deep impact on him.  We had been working in the restaurant industry for so long we felt that it was time to open something ourselves, but we wanted it to be something that the neighborhood needed.

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What is your favorite offering and why?

Our favorite products are the chocolate chip cookie and the everything bagel.  The cookie is chewy in the middle, crispy on the outside, has large chunks of Guittard chocolate and Maldon sea salt on top. The everything bagel has our perfect blend of seeds coating the whole bagel – sesame, poppy, onion, garlic, fennel, caraway and Maldon sea salt.  When you eat it half of the toppings fall in your lap – it kinda brings you back to being a kid when you’d get food all over the place.

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What do you see for the future of the craft movement?

We think that more and more people are appreciating not only the quality of craft goods but also how it is generally better for the economy and the environment.  The craft movement will keep expanding as people (hopefully!) realize that quality is better than quantity.

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Tell us why you do this.
We do this because we love it and genuinely want a better product to be available. I’m sure that’s true of all people who spend their life trying to perfect a craft. It’s not easy, not always fun and not usually a big money maker. I hope more people gain an understanding of that as the craft movement expands. Small businesses are making way less money on each product than large chains, I can guarantee that.  It’s nice when people appreciate the hard work instead of expecting it to be as cheap and plentiful as things that are mass-produced.

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To learn more about the power of craft or to subscribe to the Mohawk Maker Quarterly, visit mohawkconnects.com/cultureofcraft.

All photos credited to C+N Creative

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