Back in December, the "sugar hooker" Rebecca Masson launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 to help build out her dream bakery. Hundreds of Houstonians donated more than $53,000 to the cause, but then Masson got back to work, and we didn't hear much more about the upcoming bakery. Until now.
Today, Masson announced that she's secured a space at 304 Gray in Midtown, the former location of Sweet Lola Yogurt Bar, for her bakery Fluff Bake Bar. She anticipates spending the next three to four months turning the space into the ideal dessert bar and opening late this fall.
"Every person who graduates from culinary school says 'I'm going to open a restaurant or bakery,' and out of 5,000 people, maybe five of them do," Masson says. "So I've been saying this since I graduated culinary school. It's time to pull on my big girl panties and do it!"
When it opens, the bakery will be the first of its kind in Houston, thanks in large part to Masson's experience in professional pastry kitchens across the country and her notion that everything tastes a little sweeter with some bubbly (and beer) to go with it.
Like the newly opened Red Dessert Dive, Fluff Bake Bar will serve wine and beer curated by local sommelier Antonio Gianola, who currently works at Houston Wine Merchant. Unlike Red Dessert Dive, Fluff Bake Bar will show off Masson's experience in restaurants like New York's Daniel and Houston's (now closed) Catalan with fancy plated desserts.
Masson says to expect dishes like a chocolate stout syllabub (a rich curdled cream) with crème fraîche, spiced caramel and Ritz cracker crunch or a grade "A" maple syrup crème brulée topped with lardons (yes, pork) and walnuts. This will be in addition to her already popular treats like Fluffernutters, macarons and cakes. Masson also hopes to offer some savory options like cheese and charcuterie plates that can be paired with beer and wine.
"When I worked at Catalan with Antonio, his pairings were always so ridiculously good," Masson says. "We'll have more unique pairings than the average place thanks to his great palate."
There aren't many places in Houston that focus on plated desserts. Most bakeries stick to traditional bakery items--cupcakes, cookies, rolls--but Masson has the chops to create unique and exciting dishes. She's a former contestant on Top Chef: Just Desserts and a frequent guest chef at dinners around Texas. Through these guest chef stints, she's developed relationships with fellow pastry chefs, many of whom have agreed to do weekend dessert takeovers at Fluff Bake Bar. Expect Uchi's Philip Speer, Amanda Rockman from Chicago and Megan Ketover from Cincinatti to join the fun. Masson is also good friends with the fellas from Big Gay Ice Cream in New York. No word yet on if they'll be making an appearance, but one can dream.
Another exciting plan for the bakery: Classes. Masson has tried to teach classes before out of her rented space in the Kraftsmen bakery kitchen, but found it was too difficult to coordinate with the other people using the space. Now she'll have her very own kitchen to spread the Fluff Bake Bar love.
Until the bakery opens, Masson's pastries and cookies are available in coffee shops and markets around Houston. We're going to have to wait to sample the plated desserts, but if Masson's pastries are any indication, they'll be well worth the wait.
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