ARTIST INTERVIEW: Andy Kadin of Bub and Grandma’s Bread
Andy Kadin is the owner of Bub and Grandma’s Bread, a predominantly wholesale bakery just east of downtown Los Angeles. The bread is handmade with locally-sourced and milled whole grain flours from Grist & Toll and can be found in restaurants and markets across Los Angeles including Dune, Cookbook Market, Wax Paper, Go Get Em Tiger and L&E Oyster Bar as well as Smorgasburg’s market every Sunday. Andy sells his delicious bread every year at EPCF. We asked him some questions to learn more about his creative process, and were blown away by his thoughtful answers and fierce passion for bread.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I was a writer in advertising and comedy for 10 years before my body let me know that I needed to make a change. From the outside, things probably looked comfortable. From the inside, I was losing my shit. So it no doubt appeared risky to quit my steady ad job to work weekends at a Hollywood sandwich shop, but I was confident about stepping away from a place that didn’t bring me any happiness. I have always been obsessed with food. Or rather, I’ve been obsessed with not squandering the daily opportunities I have to eat or listen to music or read or watch movies. I have no choice but to try to find the best in each. Bread, with its 3 ingredients (flour, water, salt) and endless array of seemingly undiagnosable problems immediately caught and held my interest. I committed to baking every day while I explored different food world routes. After about a year of baking at home to mixed results, Scott Zwiezen from Dune called me up and asked if I could do ciabatta for them every day. I accepted for some reason and I’ve been a baker/happier person for 2.5 years now.
What are your most important artist tools?
My mouth, my brain and my oven. I am never satisfied. The whole development process is pseudo-binary – either temporarily correct or wrong. So we just never stop development. A loaf is never done. My bakers – the best, most honestly-motivated bakers in this town and the sole direction where any compliments should be lobbed – are the same way. We use our mouths and brains to generate new ideas out of whatever we want to eat. We buy the ingredients and test it until it’s right until it’s wrong again.
Do you have any mentors or important creative influences?
While I wouldn’t say I have a specific mentor per se, my business was built from a hive of influence and ridiculously generous support. From Graison Gill at Bellegarde Bakery in New Orleans to Mac McConnell at The Midwife and the Baker in SF to Austin Hall at Shewolf Bakery in Brooklyn to chef Josh Drew, formerly of Sprout Group and Bouchon in LA. They’ve all taken the time to let me come in and stage, have been instructive in how I run my operation and how we bake the bread we bake. In town, Nan Kohler of Grist & Toll is my main influence, pep talk giver and grain provider. She’s leading the extraordinarily uphill battle of reeducating an entire country as to why gluten and wheat aren’t bad and how we can all benefit from eating real bread without yeast and other crap found in bagged “bread” on grocery store shelves. It is my goal over the next couple years to make Nan famous for doing the right thing the right way for the right reasons.And generally speaking, I get excited by those people who live their lives like each moment is an opportunity be creative. And I’m not talking about those who are trying to be creative for one of 12 daily Instagram posts. I’m talking about those who do so for themselves to the benefit of others. That’s the kind of person I want to be.
Where do you see your work going in the next couple years?
More bread and better bread. And we’re just gearing up to start looking for a retail location. But with compatriots/competitors like Clark Street Bread, Lodge Bread Co. and Gjusta either open or opening and rumblings of the almighty Tartine descending on LA in the near future, what we open won’t just be more of the same.