Editing this week’s interview gave me a new appreciation for the steps that I’ve taken while pursuing my passions for cooking, baking, and brewing. Therefore, before introducing this week’s featured baker I’d like to share some hopefully relateable quotes about what it means to follow one’s passion/s. “Passion (n): intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” “Following your passion means exploring areas that spark your interest, developing your skills in a specific area, and using those skills to contribute to something beyond yourself.”… “passions are developed, not simply found” – Steve Rose, Phd. As Cal Newport said “Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.” Furthermore, “I think that people that are really successful or people that are really good at what they do are genuinely obsessed, passionate, and into it” and “I’m lucky that my passion is something that everyone has in common, we all eat.” – Chef Matt Duffy
Following over a decade of working as a professionally trained chef, Matt Duffy left the restaurant kitchen to pursue his passion for baking. Doing so by finding and then working with well known bakers around the world, reading a multitude of books, and viewing his baking as a never-ending journey of learning. His hard work and passion have in recent years evolved into his current focus on teaching both future professional bakers and current home bakers through the courses he teaches as the Centennial College’s baking and pastry arts management program and the online courses and webinars that he offers through his website and Instagram feed (links below). Admittedly, I was initially drawn to his baking after seeing pictures of his pizzas and loaves challah bread. However, after conducting and editing this interview, I am looking forward to following all of his baking pursuits more closely.
So without further ado, it is my honor to present to you Chef Matt Duffy
The following topics were discussed during the course of this interview (podcast episode):
0:00-1:37 – Episode Introduction
1:38-4:01 – Matt’s transition from working as a professionally trained chef to being a full-time baker.
4:02-6:27 – Matt’s current sources of baking inspiration.
6:28-9:10 – Sourdough baking in Canada (with a focus on Toronto): Sourcing grains, bakeries, and recent growth.
9:11-13:41 – Professor Matt: how he got into teaching and what bread related skills are taught at the baking and pastry arts management program that he coordinates at Centennial College in Toronto.
13:42-15:44 – What to look out for when working with and then baking naturally leavened sweet doughs.
15:45-18:14 – Tips for making sourdough pizza.
18:15-22:14 – Matt’s goals for his first cookbook.
22:15-25:23 – What role sourdough baking should play in the kitchen of both an avid home-cook and professionally trained chef.
25:24-27:41 – What makes baking an ideal passion to share with one’s children.
27:41-34:36 – The meaning of “living bread”: How Matt currently maintains his sourdough starter and uses recipes as guides despite what is written in sourdough books and presented in YouTube videos and online recipe articles.
34:37-36:14 – Matt’s tips for beginner sourdough bakers.