Interview with L.A. Rising Star Artisan Baker Andy Kadin of Bub & Grandma’s

by Caroline Hatchett
June 2017

Caroline Hatchett: How did you get your start? 
Andy Kadin:
I was a writer for 10 years, working in advertising and TV. I’m an anxious person. I look at guys in their 40s who work every weekend, don’t see their children, and for no significant reason. I’m comfortable doing that, for a good reason. I was doing it for ads and that made me feel like shit. 

I’ve always been obsessed with food, and knew I wanted to do something in food. I was in a good spot to experiment. I took as many restaurant jobs as I could, worked at a sandwich shop, in a pub, I staged around at various bakeries. I knew what I was going to do—not matter what it was, bread would be involved. 

Eventually, breakfast and lunch were what I was going to do. I committed to making bread every day at home and giving it all away. I had a friend at Dune; he called and asked if I could make ciabatta every day. I was about to sign a lease on a restaurant, glad I didn’t. I made ciabatta for them out of my home oven every day. 

I’m not a trained pastry chef; I didn’t come up in kitchens. I’m an outsider. To feel like I’m doing something authentic, we hustle five times harder to do it right. We’re lucky chefs are looking and paying attention. It’s nice, the [chefs] who do care, their money is where their mouth is. They’re really sticking to local, organic [product], and pushing us to do interesting things. If we’re sending out one bad loaf, I feel like a piece of shit. 

CH: What’s your production volume?
One hundred to 200 baguettes a day, 100 to 150 sourdough, and100 to 200 ciabatta.

CH: Have you had a bread making mentor?
I learned just by doing it, and talking to people. I know I have a disadvantage, but in some ways it’s an advantage. I’m an outsider. I’m just learning. I’m anxious. I care about what’s going out the door. I won’t feel like a good person, if I’m not giving [customers] the best thing I can. We’re embarrassed, if we have a bad bake. This space has been built for us to grow into. 

I learned the most from discussions with Abi, who was the main baker at Republique, and Chris, who was the pastry chef at Mozza. Conversations with these two always leads to new ideas. Mac McConnell [from The Midwife and the Baker], I ask him lots of questions. I think he’s making the best bread of anyone. My former head baker, Kevin Morton, started a bakery. He left eight months ago for Redlands. He’s making phenomenal bread out there. He’s always a great resource, having worked in bakeries for 10 years before working for me. As an outsider, I rely on these people for the best info I can get. They’re intelligent and think of bread in the same way I do. 

CH: Plans for the future? 
The goal is to do this, and then a year later open a satellite sandwich shop. I love the Andrew Tarlow community of restaurants. I’d like to think of this as the She Wolf. 

CH: In your operations, what are you doing differently that most you're proud of? 
I Want to do a harder version of what we already do. I want to do a 100% rye loaf in a boule. It lasts for a month, and is great with sour cheese and cucumber. We’ll have to maintain three leavens. I want to do a sesame loaf, too. We’re making more of a variety of breads than other bakers. There are very rare occurrences when all [the breads] are working, then they decide not to work. Each dough has its own language. At a certain point, it speaks a different language, and you have to learn it to fix.