Pastry Chef Junko Mine of Cafe Juanita - Biography

Kirkland, WA

November 2015

Junko Mine has always had an artistic eye, and now, her channels for expressing creativity are breads and pastry. The two crafts had been mere pastimes until she departed her home in Japan for California. While studying graphic design at San Diego State University, she began to realize that pastry was her true calling.

After graduating, she stayed in San Diego, enrolled in a one-year professional pastry program, and got a job at San Diego Yacht Club. A move to Los Angeles landed her at the Four Seasons, working with Pastry Chef Federico Fernandez. Ready for a new challenge, she traveled north to Washington State. Mine went to The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, where she staged and then worked for Chef Blaine Wetzel, who influenced her profoundly. On Lummi, she grew fascinated with wild yeast and their DNA, subjects she further pursued  working in a laboratory with geneticist Aimée M. Dudley.

Now at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Mine is experimenting with natural yeast and working closely with Rising Star Chef Holly Smith, whose simple-delicious philosophy inspires her. With an artistic lens and the ambition to bridge the gap between Japanese and American pastry, Mine embodies the honest, artful pastry and bread she creates. In 2015, Mine earned a StarChefs Rising Star Pastry Chef Award for her work.