Chef Zachary Golper and his wife and business partner, Kate Wheatcroft, moved to New York City to open Bien Cuit in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. In the thirteen years prior to opening Bien Cuit, Chef Golper trained in bread and pastry across the continental United States and France. Beginning in rural Oregon, he first learned the art of bread making from a baker using a hand built single deck, wood-fired oven. The workday began at 1AM, under candlelight, over a tub of warm saltwater and sourdough starter. Together they added flour little by little and rhythmically mixed the dough with their arms. During this apprenticeship he learned to work according to the most basic and ancient techniques of bread making. From there he went on to learn under some of the world’s most renowned: World Baking Champions in Portland and Seattle and a M.O.F and World Pastry Champion in Las Vegas. He further honed his skills during a stage in Provence with a third generation patissier. From Las Vegas he moved to Philadelphia to re-invent the bread program for George Perrier’s landmark restaurant, Le Bec Fin.
The inspiration for opening Bien Cuit stems from Chef Golper’s desire to create a unique and varied selection of breads and pastries that reflect both his training and personal vision of what the ancient art of bread making means. Bien cuit is a phrase the French often use to describe the darkest, crunchiest loaves, baked to the point of perfection.
Since Bien Cuit opened its doors in July of 2011, it has quickly become both a neighborhood staple and a notable destination for some of the finest breads and pastries the city has to offer. By the end of 2011 it was named as Best New Bakery by The Village Voice and made Best of 2011 lists in both The New York Times and New York Magazine. National publications Food and Wine, Saveur, Harpers Bazaar and USA Todayhave honored the bakery as one of the Best Bakeries in NYC and Best American Bakeries. Bon Appetit also selected Bien Cuit’s baguette as one of the top ten in America. Chef Golper was chosen by Dessert Professional as one of the top ten bakers in the United States in the fall of 2012 and his partner Kate Wheatcroft was selected the same year by Forbes 30 Under 30. In the spring of 2014 the New York Times covered the bakery extensively in its bread issue, talking about both the retail and wholesale businesses, the thought process behind long fermentation, and the inherent value in artisanal baking.