Elizabeth Chambers may wear many hats -- television personality, model, wife of The Social Network's Armie Hammer, and journalist, to name a few -- but owner of San Antonio's most beloved sweet shop is the icing on the cake, in my book. BIRD Bakery, Chambers' precious confectioners paradise that will soon ship nationwide, reflects Elizabeth's roots in every made-from-scratch recipe. I admire her ability to juggle so many career moves (including entrepreneurial ones) at once with the utmost poise and passion. As a fellow UT-Austin College of Communication alum, I only hope to model one of her successful ventures! Please join me and Elizabeth in the latest Caramelized Conversation. . .
YOUR MOST UNFORGETTABLE RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE?
I think my most unforgettable restaurant experience has to be a dinner at Le Bremner in Montreal. It wasn't a special occasion and we didn't have any particular reason to celebrate, but my husband and I were filming in Montreal at the time and several of our friends flew in for the weekend. It was the first Friday night everyone was in town, we dined outside on a perfect summer night and the food and drinks were epic. It's Chuck Hughes’ second in Montreal and one of my most favorite restaurants of all time.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR LOVE OF BAKING?
In my family, you come out of the womb being a cook, a baker or both. My grandmother owned an incredibly successful catering company and for as long as I can remember, I would try to help her bake. I like to cook, but love to make desserts and have always loved to eat them. *Below is a photo of me (scantily clad) baking in my grandmother's commercial kitchen when I was young.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT SAN ANTONIO?
The people in San Antonio are incredible. They are not only wonderfully loyal customers, but they are genuinely lovely people. If someone says, "it's nice to know you" in San Antonio, they don't mean, "it's nice to know what you can do for me," they genuinely mean it's nice to know you for who you are. There's something incredibly refreshing about that.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LA?
I love every single thing about Los Angeles. There's truly nothing I don't love. I love the people here and the creative vibe of the city.
WHAT, IN YOUR WORDS, IS THE VISION OF BIRD BAKERY? We're so excited it's spreading nationwide soon!
Our mission is to create the freshest, finest, from-scratch, most delicious nostalgic American desserts each and every day (with the exception of Sunday). Almost all of our recipes are family recipes and I love that people are instantly brought back to their childhood when they take that first bite.
EVERY HOME COOK NEEDS. . .
Passion. And someone to share their creations with. When I've had a particularly stressful day, you know it because there will be stacks and stacks of cookies in the kitchen. I love packaging them and giving them to people because everyone loves cookies. Baked goods are like currency--no one's going to turn them down.
HOW DO YOU ADD SWEET TOUCHES TO EVERYDAY EXPERIENCES?
By always focusing on the details. It's the little things that people notice and the little things that matter.
LET US IN TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.
My daily routine changes incredibly each day. Whether I'm in a foreign country on assignment for the Human Rights Foundation, on a plane, working in LA or in San Antonio at the bakery, it's always a balancing act. I think it's incredibly helpful to compartmentalize priorities, which is one of the reasons that I don't plan on opening a location in LA--I like the geographic delineation of the two worlds. With the expansion of our San Antonio store, future opening of our Dallas location and a baby on the way, there are a lot of balls in the air, but with technology and an amazing staff, all things are possible.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVE BITE FROM THE BIRD BAKERY MENU?
My favorite BIRD bite usually changes every 4 to 6 months. Lately, I'm absolutely obsessed with our Lemon Squares. I cannot get enough and when I'm not in San Antonio, I crave them immensely. I think I've tried every single lemon bar, square and tart in LA and none of them achieve the perfect tartness and texture that ours do. In fact, I would put our Lemon Squares up against any--they're truly the best.