Miette, Bakery, Meg Ray, American cakes, pastries, organic, sustainable, San Francisco, CA, California, Little Crumb, Ferry Building, Hayes Valley, Miette Cakes, Bakery, Macarons, Pasties,


Miette (French for "little crumb") started out as a small stand at the Berkeley farmers market. In just under ten years, the bakery has grown to now include two very successful retail locations, and an online ordering service for mail order.

Meg Ray started her career in Silicon Valley working in the business end at various dot com companies. But when things went bust, Meg turned to baking. In many ways, it was returning to her first love, having won a Blue Ribbon as a kid at the local county fair for her fudge cake.

Q. You had a different career before you went into baking. What lured into the sweet life?

A. I have three older brothers and they would reverberate with excitement

to go to the model airplane store. That's how I was with the pastry

case. It's just part of me.

Q. How does your previous dot.com experience help with your present business?

A. The most important thing I learned during that experience is that the

strength and character of your business comes from your partnerships.

When times are tough, those relationships will bail you out. And vise


Q. What’s the one item that seems to consistently sell out at Miette?

A. Macarons! We can't make enough.

Miette Macarons

Q. And what’s your favorite cake to make?

A. Chiffon. It is fluffy, moist, versatile and I love to make meringue.

Q. What do you think are the biggest rookie moves home bakers make?

A. Over-mixing. It's hard to stop when you should.

Q. My favorite tip to share with a home baker is...(fill in the blank):

A. that the KitchenAid mixing bowl can go directly in the microwave

providing that no part of the bowl touches the walls of the microwave.

This is essential to warming buttercream.

Q. My guilty pleasure dessert/candy is...(fill in the blank):

A. Maltballs!

Q. Which country do you think really has the lead when it comes to desserts and pastries and why?

A. American desserts are the most delightful, simple and pure. How can

you improve on Strawberry Shortcake?

Q. Is there a cookbook, new or vintage that is like a bible to you and why?

A. For savory cooking, I rely on "French Cooking for the American Table" by Rene Verdon who was the chef in the Kennedy White House.

For baking, I am mostly inspired by Pierre Herme's books, but they are impractical for the home cook.

For the home cook, I recommend the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum; it is flawless.

Q. Advice for storing baked goods?

A. Go to a restaurant supply store and buy a big roll a food film. It will last a lifetime, but you will not be tempted to scrimp when it comes to wrapping your cakes up really well. Cakes love to be frozen and can even improve their texture. This is true across the board except for yellow cake, which prefers to be wrapped well and stored at room temperature.

Q. Any exciting projects in your future?

A. Yes! I am writing a cookbook that will be published in spring 2011 by

Chronicle Books. The photos are amazing.

Q. What food purveyors inspire your creativity, which products, and why?

A. I love to use heavy cream from Straus Family Creamery. It is the only cream on the market that doesn't leave a chemical aftertaste. They achieve this through their somewhat-maverick processing practices which preserves the taste of the dairy. I look for recipes that will feature this fresh flavor. Their butter is also superlative to any other. We are so lucky to have them in our region!

[See details.]

Q. What pastry shops (anywhere, fancy or casual) are your favorites and what do you always buy?

A. I love Fortnum & Mason in London for the packaging, which I find equally as interesting as the pastry itself and is an important part of Miette products.

In Paris, I go to Pierre Herme to take-away the croissant, assortment of individual pastries and macaron - but mostly to marvel at the consistency in production year after year.

But my favorite place, by far, is Demel in Vienna. It's eclectic and traditional at the same time.

[See details.]

Q. Are there food markets around the world that you love and what should we look for at them?

A. The Bay Area food markets are world-class, but there is always something exhilarating about a foreign market.

In Paris, I particularly like the way unusual game birds are available, plucked and pristine on beds of ice.

I was recently in Thailand, where every street is a market every day. I doubt I would ever cook if I lived there.

Q. Who else in your field is doing things you think deserve more praise and why?

A. I am inspired by the recent crop of candy makers, in particular Anastasia of Sweet Revolution. She makes organic caramels without corn syrup. which is a test of ingenuity and perseverance. The caramels are simply delicious and unusual (which do not always go hand in hand).

[See details.]

Q. What are the local restaurants you love to frequent and what do you order?

A. Ao Sen for pho and bun [see details].

Q. Any restaurant around the world that you love (fancy or casual) and what you love about them?

A. I never go out and in general I do not like fine dining. I don't like fussy food and I don't enjoy being waited on. I would like to experience being able to take my dog into a bistro in Paris and order a steak - of which a tiny portion would be slipped to my dining companion.


Details on where to find Meg Ray’s recommendations.


2 Location in San Francisco




Shop 10, 1 Ferry Building

San Francisco, CA 94111 (view map)

T: 415.837.0300


Sun - Fri: 10am - 6pm

Sat: 8am - 6pm


449 Octavia Street

San Francisco, CA 94102 (view map)

T: 415.626.6221


Mon - Fri: 12pm - 7pm

Sat - Sun: 11am - 7pm




Matt Lewis of Baked


Meg Ray’s recommendations for where to eat and shop in San Francisco, New York, Arizona, London, Paris, and Vienna.