Baking is in the blood of San Francisco based baker Esa Yonn-Brown of Butter Love Bakeshop. Formerly a pastry chef, she took a low-demanding but well-paying job as a data processor so she could spend time with her newborn daughter. While the benefits couldn’t be beat, her soul craved to be in the kitchen, not in a computer chair, so she began to feed her soul through baking cakes and treats on the side. Eventually, she began baking pies. Esa grew up eating pie; her mother has mastered it. Her parents were transplants to the city; they met while working in a restaurant and were both inspired by the food movement taking place in the '70's. Everything in their house was made from scratch, their walls decorated with cookbooks high and low. Food was literally family.
So a question remained: why couldn’t she find the perfect pie in San Francisco? “Every time I ordered pie I compared it to my mother's and I was never satisfied, so I started practicing making it myself. My mom showed me her tricks and I ran with it. It took a few years to really master it. Butter Love Bakeshop was born as a full-time adventure once Esa was eventually laid off. She’s gained a bit of a following over the past four years and she now participates in the Homegrown Marin Market. Recently, she was featured in this NY Times article.
We asked her, besides the obvious, why pies for weddings? “Many times you go to a wedding and the cake is amazing looking but really not that interesting to eat,” she explains. “Not bad but maybe uninspired. I have also had amazing cakes, but some people, like me, just prefer pie. The thing about pie is it is usually a comfort food for those of us who grew up with parents who were really skilled at making it. It is simple in both its ingredients and appearance. Unassuming but so hard to get just right. A marriage can be similar. You are comforted by it. It is not exciting or fancy most of the time, but it is valuable and hard to get just right. It takes love as well as commitment to make a quality marriage or pie. Plus, it is something unique for a wedding for those people who want something that speaks more to their lifestyle then a fancy cake.” We love this thought…!
Esa tells us her family keeps her inspired. “I am one of those people who is always looking for something new to work on. It drives my husband crazy that I have several projects scattered around the house at any given moment. I am inspired by people who have passion and drive. I am inspired by natural, fresh and local produce. I find the most beautiful things in the world are sometimes the most simple and there is a peaceful kind of elegance in that.” A romantic at heart, Esa truly loves to please and being challenged to bake something new. “I made lolly pies for my husband last year for Valentines day,” she says, always trying to think of ways of utilizing things for both practical uses as well as festive ones. You can assure yourself that if you work with Esa to bake pies for your wedding day, she’ll bake it all by hand using all butter, which is challenging. But she does it with love, and we can’t think of a better ingredient for your wedding day. And note, with a charitable heart, if you order three pies or spend $75 this December, she’ll donate a teddy bear hat or scarf to Cubs for Kids.
All photography by San Francisco based photographer, Michelle Walker, who we’ll be proudly featuring next week right here on Bridebound Blog.