Sweet Memories: Ivan Marquez of Short Cake

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Sweet Memories is a new blog series on Good Food where Chloe Chappe talks to local chefs and bakers about the flavors and memories that inspired their food.

This week Chloe interviewed Ivan Marquez of Short Cake.

Ivan Marquez has worked at The French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery, and Spago but he now resides over the pastry kitchen of Short Cake. His position at Short Cake was a recentdevelopment as he took over the position of Hourie Sahakian who left to help reopen La Brea Bakery. Marquez has brought European flavors and inspiration to the American pastry shop.

Short Cake is located at  at 6333 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles.

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Chloe Chappe: Is there any dish from your childhood or past that you make in your bakery today?

Ivan Marquez: There is a slightly different version of a childhood dish that we currently do at Short Cake. It’s the Almond butter and Raspberry jam sandwich, pressed. This is our “PB&J.” The concept is the same, just different ingredients. I grew up on PB&J, it’s one of my favorite sandwiches. I still have to have one every day.

CC: Are there any specific smells or ingredients from your past that have influenced your current creations?

IM: A specific smell that I cannot let go of and keeps calling me back to making yeasted items is the smell of fermentation from Bouchon Bakery at 4am. It covers half a block of Washington St. in Yountville. I remember the first time smelling it when I was 19 and first moved to Yountville to work at Bouchon Bakery. I was doing overnight Viennoiserie production and I was so nervous the night before my first day, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to go for a walk and I remember walking past the bakery and being intoxicated by the smell, it calmed my nerves. It made me feel at home, this is where I wanted to be, amongst bakers.

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CC: If you could eat one meal from your past over again, what would that meal be? Why?

IM: There are plenty of meals from my past that I would LOVE to experience again, for example my first fine dining experience at Spago where Sherry Yard introduced me to what I live and breathe now, breaking 8 years of being a vegetarian at The French Laundry, dinners with family, late night Denny’s with people who I have lost in my life. Every meal is important just as the last, but nothing comes close to my mother’s food. There are extraordinary Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from, a handful of burger joints, taco trucks for days, restaurants come and go, but there is only one meal in my life that continues to feed my soul and that is my mother’s.