How does one meet the Indianapolis baking star singled out by our nation’s most revered food publications in their annual “Best New Restaurant” issue? Anxiously. While a global pandemic still courses through the country, I suggested meeting at Garfield Park’s farmers market on a hot, Saturday in August. Pastry chef Zoë Taylor ’12 (French & Francophone Studies and English), who in 2015 put a gluten-free honey whey cake recipe in Bon Appétit, and Indy on the culinary map, happens to be seven-months pregnant, and I begin to feel, frankly, stupid.
…While attending college at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, she worked at a local coffee shop, “a crunchy granola place,” she says. “One day, I turned to the owners—great people—and asked if I could maybe bake, saving them money. At the time, we were getting goods from a large corporate food distributor. We tried, and it worked. I baked through college.”
One semester, she went to Paris since she was acquiring a bachelor’s in French and English literature (“Not the most employment-inducing,” she wryly comments). She lived in the 13th Arrondissement, commonly referred to as the Asian Quarter, home to many immigrants. “While there, I found myself eating a lot and trying different things.” Her father, though, became ill, and she returned to the States. After his untimely death, she finished school but resumed her culinary education in the kitchen, doling out well-crafted bakery goods and caffeinated beverages to university students…”