Pastry Chef Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery - Biography

New York, NY

June 2012

In college, Jim Lahey was an aspiring painter and sculptor, with a passion for making things with his own two hands. His love of creating translated in the kitchen, and by his 20s, he was selling home-made loaves on the streets of Brooklyn and to restaurants in Manhattan. After brief stints at restaurants such as Amy’s Bread and Orso, Lahey traveled to Italy to learn the art of bread. When he returned to New York City in 1994, he opened Sullivan Street Bakery in Soho with little more than the wild yeast he hand-cultivated in Italy and a desire to bring the craft of small-batch bread baking to America.

In October 2000, Lahey built the Sullivan Street Bakery headquarters in Hell’s Kitchen, where he has become renowned not just for his bread, but for his Roman-style pizza, rustic Italian pastries, and cookies. Then, in 2009, he opened the pizza restaurant Co. in Chelsea, where Lahey showcases his own spin on pizza while celebrating artisanal food culture and communal dining.

Lahey’s innovative no-knead bread recipe, the building block to his dough at Sullivan Street Bakery, was published in an article by Mark Bittman in the New York Times in 2006, igniting a home-baking movement. He has since published two cookbooks: My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method and My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home.