Edible Memories at The Baker

Edible Memories at The Baker

Feb 08, 2024Roni Mae Serrano

It is said that people associate food with memories, with certain dishes or ingredients taking us back to our past.

While there is no definite explanation, we do know that our brain’s memory bank can be triggered by scents—through what is called the olfactory bulb. With food being tightly linked to the sense of smell, it’s possible that this is a factor in why we recall certain memories every time we eat a familiar dish.

This phenomenon is often called the Proust Effect, stemming from 20th century French writer Marcel Proust. In his book Remembrance of Things Past, Proust described being flooded with “involuntary memories” of his childhood upon eating tea-soaked madeleines.

The Madeleine Moment

At the core of The Baker is a philosophy that views memories as a good foundation to draw inspiration from. This philosophy starts in the kitchen, where the art of kneading, piping, and baking is done.  

For our lead pastry chef, choux pastry is a good example in illustrating their own “madeleine moment.” This one-bite, classic French pastry—with its dainty appearance and myriad of flavors—serves as a nostalgic journey back to the chef’s exposure to European desserts.

As for our bread section, the memory of eating the classic Pinoy pandesal was something our bakers wanted to revive, explaining how its taste had changed since then. 

This one-bite, classic French pastry—with its dainty appearance and myriad of flavors—serves as a nostalgic journey back to the chef’s exposure to European desserts.

Drawing from the team’s personal experiences allowed them to relive their fond moments while opening the door for our customers to partake in their own “madeleine moment.” Food nostalgia is powerful in shaping how we experience food. The Baker’s vision extends beyond creating delicious bread and pastries; evoking—and reinforcing—these emotional connections.   

Memories: In the Making

Beyond nostalgia, our bakers and pastry chefs also underscore the importance of moderation in experiencing food through the concept of one-bite flavor bombs.

The idea of sampling—or allowing customers the chance to try and enjoy a little bit of everything—was also inspired by nostalgic memories of the “free taste” or sampling culture prevalent in grocery stores during the 90s and early 2000s. Combining this with more refined techniques seen in hotels and restaurants, the team crafted a unique grocerant experience.   

To bring the one-bite size come to life, our team at The Baker commits to doing everything from scratch. In the wee hours of the morning—even before everyone else wakes up—our bakers and pastry chefs are already gathered in their aprons by the kitchen. This proves that the team’s meticulous baking processes to create freshly baked bread are rooted in dedication, care, and freshness.

It is evident in the buttery and flaky cronadas, the soft and reminiscent pandesal, and the indulgent flavor bombs, among the many offerings at The Baker.

Cultural Influences

Local flavors also take center stage at The Baker: using quality local ingredients, the team dedicate themselves to reimagining classic flavors—enriching both taste and presentation with a distinct Filipino flair.

The cronada—our very own take on a croissant and empanada— is given a twist by infusing savory fillings close to home like pork adobo. Choux, another classic French pastry is married with flavors like Buko Pandan and Maja Blanca—two famous Filipino desserts. 

These innovative pastries encompass all three aspects of The Baker’s concept; the sense of nostalgia and the taste of home—all in one bite.

Words by Roni Mae Serrano and Denisse Audrey Tenorio

More Stories

Lechon, Adobo, and the Taste of Home
Among the staples that grace Filipino tables, pork reigns supreme. Its significance in the local cuisine can be traced back centuries, entwined with rituals, celebrations, and everyday meals. 
From the Table of the Gods
Once, honey was called ambrosia, the mythical food of the gods that granted immortality. Now we call it a superfood for the same healing qualities that made it precious and divine to our ancestors.