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How to start baking in a small, city apartment — tips from an executive pastry chef

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The recipe for owning a business calls for great products, passionate staff, and a welcoming community — Bianca has this recipe perfected!  

Located in Los Angeles, Bianca is a restaurant and bakery that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers everything from fresh Italian bread and pastries to delicious pasta dishes and sandwiches. Since opening two years ago, Bianca has grown and given residents in Los Angeles a local spot to eat tasty food, connect with their community, and experience a place that feels like home.

We spoke with Fede, co-owner of Bianca, about what a typical day looks like for him, why he enjoys co-owning a business in Los Angeles, and how to cook food you love in your apartment.

Hi! Can you tell us more about yourself and Bianca?

Hi! My name is Fede, I’m the co-owner and Executive Pastry Chef at Bianca, an Italian, Argentinian, & French restaurant and bakery in Culver City, Los Angeles. I work alongside Gianni, the co-owner and Executive Chef at Bianca. Bianca is a dream come true for Gianni and me. 

I always dreamed of creating a bakery and using all the techniques that I have learned throughout the years, so when I told Gianni my idea, he said that we should make it with the addition of a restaurant. I love being able to create whatever I feel like and it’s great meeting all the customers and creating relationships with them. 

What does a typical day of work look like? How has Bianca changed since it first opened?

My typical day starts by checking if everything is working properly, like the refrigerator, ovens, and AC. I also check in with the employees. After that, I make a list of things that need to be done that day. When we first opened Bianca, we started very slow but as soon as we felt comfortable with our results, we started to add more products to our menu. We grew and we are still growing. Bianca changes every day ever since we opened more than two years ago. 

Can you talk to us about Bianca’s mission? How does the theme of family show through the food and the atmosphere? 

Bianca’s mission is to provide an excellent bakery and restaurant to our community, always respecting the products that we use. Family is an essential part of Bianca, which shows that working together as a team with passion can get you great results.

Cooking and baking in a small city apartment can be hard. What are some tips you can give people who are living in smaller apartments but still want to create delicious food? 

For those who want to create delicious food, I advise keeping it simple. You can create a great dish with simple ingredients. The key is to get the right products and use them with love and respect.

For example, a great bread has only three ingredients: flour, salt, and water. It is the way that you use these ingredients that can create the most delicious bread. You can make great pasta with a few ingredients also.

What is some advice you can give people who are looking to start cooking and baking?

My first advice is to answer a simple question first: is cooking or baking your passion? Will you be willing to work hard, on holidays, work late, wake up early, work long hours, work when everyone is having fun? Then if the answer is yes, my next advice is to have fun!

What is the easiest pastry to make in an apartment and what would the preparation look like?

The easiest pastry to make in an apartment is Alfajores de Dulce de leche! Alfajores are a cookie-like sandwich and they are very popular in Argentina. They are two cookies with Dulce de leche in the middle. The cookies can be chocolate, corn starch, crunchy, or soft. You can also dip Alfajores in chocolate or sugar.

Alfajores de Dulce de Leche recipe

2 ⅝ cups softened butter

1¾ cups sugar

500g eggs 

3 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup corn starch

½ cup baking powder

  1. Cream the butter & sugar together.
  2. Slowly add the eggs. Scrape.
  3. Sift the dries together (flour, corn starch, and baking powder). Slowly add to the mixer while on slow. Mix just to combine – do not over mix the dough!
  4. Let dough rest for at least 1 hour. If left in the fridge, let sit out a little so it’s not too hard (crumbly when you roll it).
  5. Roll to “4” on the sheeter and cut with 50mm.
  6. Bake at 350°F in the convection for 6-8 minutes. There shouldn’t be any color, but the bottoms of the cookie should be done and able to be pulled cleanly away from the parchment.
  7. Once cool, sandwich with Dulce de Leche. 

 Do you have regulars that frequently come in? What do they order and what are they like?

We have lots of regulars, some of them have become friends. For me, the regulars are the most valuable part of Bianca. Each regular that we have is different, some regulars like their baguettes dark, some like them light. I try to remember each individual preference of our regulars so when they come to Bianca they feel at home.

 What is your favorite item on the menu to make and why? 

My favorite item on the menu is Panettone, it is the most difficult and challenging pastry recipe. It requires the use of excellent products, a lot of patience, many different techniques, and the most important ingredient: passion!

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Fede. A bakery should have more than delicious food, and Bianca definitely has it all! Stop in and grab a pastry before work or plan your next roommate outing at Bianca. To view their full menu, order online, or make a reservation, visit their website.

Make the move to Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, it’s easy to find community, especially when you make your home at Common. Stella by Common and Common Elmwood both offer beautiful apartments, incredible amenities, access to the best the city has to offer, and stunning kitchens. Cook your favorite meal or try a new recipe (maybe Alfajores de Dulce de Leche?) all from the comfort of your own home.

Explore the spaces and book a tour today.

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