Pastry Chef Charbel Abrache of Seylou Bakery - Biography

Washington, DC

October 2018

In his native Venezuela, Charbel Abrache enrolled in pharmacy school. After meeting his future wife in class, he spent much of his time cooking for her instead of studying, and she encouraged her soon-to-be husband to pursue his culinary preoccupation. Soon Abrache was transfering himself—and all his intellectual fervor and curiosity—to culinary school.

Abrache gravitated toward the precision of pastry, completing a degree at Argentina’s Instituto Superior Mariano Moreno. When the culinary school opened a new branch in Venezuela, they recruited Abrache to help launch the campus as a pastry instructor. After teaching for two years, Abrache moved to New York to stage at Blue Hill at Stone Barns to expand his mind and techniques. There, he met Jonathan Bethony, who was part of the research team and a resident baker at Washington State University’s prestigious Bread Lab. In 2017, Bethony asked Abrache to help open Seylou Bakery & Mill. Eager to take on the challenge and partnership, Abrache said yes.

Seylou opened in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood in late 2017, and Abrache has been endlessly experimenting, tweaking, and tasting ever since. He makes croissants, caneles, and all manner of traditional patisserie using unconventional grains like millet, buckwheat, and einkorn, and he has removed all refined sugar from his recipes. The Washington Post named the bakery one of the best in D.C., and Abrache working out formulas to incorporate local grains into America’s favorite food: pizza.