Team Member Spotlight – Chanki Park, Senior Manager of Research & Development
Baking Ideas One Bread at a Time
Hi, I’m Chanki, and I oversee Research and Development of breads and pastries at Paris Baguette. My days are spent dreaming of new recipes that we get to share with our guests: I plan, create, bake and test. The testing is my favorite part!
From a young age, I’ve had an incredible passion for cooking. High school is where my initial baking experience began and where I learned how to bake bread and cake, and eventually graduated from a cooking course. In college, my focus was improving my knowledge of baking ingredients and technical skills. At the time, I was inspired while learning about the bread-making fermentation process and became interested in studying natural fermentation without using yeast. I’ll never forget the first time I tasted that incredible bread flavor. Pure fermentation made from natural ingredients is fascinating to me.
Over 23 years, I’ve had opportunities to work for many bakeries learning about bread and cake production, sales and management. I’ve been at Paris Baguette for 13 years, which has become a home for me, providing a platform to be authentic, creative and blend flavors from different cultures into menu items like our everything croissant filled with cream cheese. The combination of bagel seasoning and cream cheese on our signature Paris Baguette croissant is the best.
As a baker, you gain a lot through continued experiences, trial, and error. There’s often stress about getting unsatisfactory results when developing and testing products, but over time I’ve become more comfortable with that, knowing it’s all part of the process. Achieving success is about learning along the way, which I believe makes us all stronger. Bread is a finicky product to make – it’s half science and half patience, and it’s essential to follow the whole process thoroughly to get the best result. Bread must meet the properties and conditions of the raw materials used, workplace environment and temperature, weather, water conditions, dough conditions, fermentation conditions, and more. All these details are critical to make true bread, adding to the mouthwatering appreciation of the baked product when you understand what goes into it.
To get seasonal inspiration for our Paris Baguette menu, I often go to a market to immerse and feel the lifestyle that people enjoy in their daily lives, including what they eat. The market allows me to see what products people prefer and get inspiration from the ingredients people buy. I also do a lot of behind-the-scenes research around trends in raw materials and in the bakery market.
At the end of the day, whenever I’m trying a new recipe, I love to cook something special for my family and then watch them try it and react to the flavors. Their response is often influential when it comes to whether a new recipe makes it on our menu or not.