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 was recognized as one of the best bakeries in New York and nationally by The New York Times, New York Magazine, Food and Wine, Saveur, Harpers Bazaar and USA Today. 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 their 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 2013 Chef Golper he was chosen as a Rising Star Artisan by Star Chefs and the spring of 2014 the New York Times headlined its bread story with Chef Golper’s take on fermentation and the state of artisan baking. In 2015 he was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker.