Artisan Graison Gill of Bellegarde Bakery - Biography

New Orleans, LA

January 2016

Los Angeles native Graison Gill arrived in New Orleans on a Greyhound bus in 2008. He was 20 and had only a basic, home baker’s experience with making bread. But he had three things going for him that would prove immensely helpful to his future career as a baker: a relentless work ethic, deep integrity instilled in him by his mother—a first generation American—and a love of reading. 

As his passion and knowledge grew, Gill moved his baking practice out of his home and into the Delicious Cooperative Kitchen, selling breads at the Crescent City Farmers Market. Bolstered by the reception of his initial foray into baking, Gill moved back to California to formalize his bread education at the San Francisco Baking Institute. 

In 2012, Gill returned to New Orleans to open Bellegarde Bakery from which he sells hand-shaped, artisan loaves—a prized miche among them—to stores, farmers markets, and restaurants. Working with wheat breaders and with a new granite mill that arrived in 2015 (one of the largest of its kind in the country), Gill mills grains mostly from neighboring states. And his loaves are affordable, because for Gill it’s about getting good bread into people’s hands—not about profit. For Gill, Bread baking is more than chemistry, tradition, innovation, nutrition, and history. It’s a spiritual pursuit.