Rising Star Baker Matteson Koche of El Bagel - Biography

Miami, FL

February 2021

Bagels and lox were always breakfast staples in the Koche family, but with access only to corporate bagel delis, Matteson Koche didn’t know what he was missing. After studying international relations at the University of Central Florida and receiving his masters in urban planning at Florida State University in 2015, Koche became a projects coordinator for an architecture firm. One year later, he quit his unfulfilling job and embarked upon a surfing trip across South America. In Buenos Aires, he met Sheikob’s Bagels owner Jacob Eichenbaum-Pikser, who inspired Koche to hand-roll some bagels of his own. He returned home to study from the internet and master the art of bagel-making.

In January 2017, El Bagel was born out of his home in Little Haiti to specialize in hand-rolled, long-fermented, home-baked sourdough bagels, delivered from Koche’s car. Five months later, he got a ’91 Cushman Truckster pastelito cart to start a pop-up every Saturday at Wynwood’s Boxelder Craft Beer Market. He left urban planning entirely in 2018 to focus on El Bagel, which had by then upgraded to a full-size food truck.

While he baked out of a commissary kitchen, Koche felt a pull to have his own brick-and-mortar. He spent a year setting up the shop, which opened in March 2020 on Miami’s Upper East Side. Nine days later, the pandemic prevented guests from entering. Koche adapted quickly, moving the truck to Lincoln Road for walk-up orders and making the shop pickup-only. With long digital queues of customers waiting for his bagels—by the dozen and by the sandwich—Koche shows no signs of slowing down or looking back.