Episode 3: Leslie Mackie |
Leslie Mackie, founder of @macrinabakery, joins to talk about her entrepreneurial journey over the last 30 years. She shares how her values for supporting local were formed early in her life and how these principles have guided her through each chapter of her career. Leslie provides insight into her priority for sourcing quality ingredients, candidly talks about strategies that were key in progressing business as scale increased, and highlights other projects that are keeping her busy and inspired. These ventures include the creation of @projectbarnstorm conserves (low-sugar jam), ongoing work with the @wsu_bread_lab Community Loaf challenge, cooking classes she is planning to start on Vashon Island, and the lessons she is continually learning from growing her own wheat (currently in the 4th year of trials). Leslie also contributes some positive callouts to nonprofits doing wonderfully inspired work in the city as it relates to food. From @marysplacewa supplying food to underserved communities while also helping curb food waste, to the the mission of @cityfruitseattle to support sustainable and equitable access to fruit, there are many opportunities to help make a positive impact.
Before starting Macrina Bakery & Café, Leslie was the head baker at Grand Central Bakery where she first introduced artisan European breads to Seattle. A native of Portland, Oregon, Leslie is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and started her career as an apprentice at Ernie’s Restaurant in San Francisco. She later moved to Boston, where she worked in the pastry kitchen of the Bostonian Hotel and eventually helped open Biba Restaurant with Lydia Shire and Susan Regis. It was while living in Los Angeles in the late 1980’s that Leslie caught what she calls “bread fever,” immersing herself in recipe testing and experimentation. Now, all of Seattle knows of Macrina’s irresistible artisan breads. Whether your tastes run to rustic potato; pear and cracked pepper; or crisp, crackly baguettes, you can find your favorite at grocery stores and gourmet shops throughout the region – along with more than 100 restaurants in the Puget Sound area.
Leslie’s recipes reach well beyond Seattle, from her appearances on Julia Child’s “Baking with Julia” television series (and inclusion in the companion cookbook) to a 1999 outstanding contributor award and a 2004 nomination for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” from the James Beard Foundation. Her media appearances are legion and include features in Fine Cooking, Sunset, and Pacific magazines, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Bon Appetit Magazine, and the LA Times – not to mention endless coverage and accolades in The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, and Seattle Magazine. Leslie is an active member in the Bread Bakers Guild of America and Les Dames d’Escoffier.