A Return to Baking
Cape Cod Home / Winter 2019 / Food & Dining, People & Businesses
Writer: Elizabeth Shaw / Photographer: Ashley Bilodeau and Elizabeth Shaw
After rediscovering her true passion, Amie Smith opened AMIE Bakery in Osterville
Walking into AMIE Bakery of Osterville, guests are transported to a chic French patisserie. Black and white tiled floors lead customers to the glass cases filled with creamy gelato, fresh baked breads and decadent desserts. Architecturally clean lines throughout the space and soft pastel accents invite guests to sit, stay and sip for a while.
“I had always loved to be in the kitchen my whole life. When I was little, I’d be glued to the T.V. watching Julia Child, and my mom would have to peel me away. I liked being in the kitchen so much that I even used to ask for cookbooks as gifts,” says owner and chef Amie Smith. But life goes on, and Smith found herself drifting away from the kitchen. For most of her adult life, she worked in the high-tech arena of corporate marketing and branding, and after the 2008 crash, Smith found her business quiet and her phone silent.
Looking for a new direction, she decided to enroll in a professional pastry program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City where she had taken classes before. At her “cake test,” her instructor could sense the love and passion coming through her baking. “I loved it more than I ever thought I could,” says Smith.
“It became my mission to bring back authentic pastry and baking to the masses,” says Smith. “At AMIE Bakery, we are committed to scratch baking our products. Today, a vast majority of baked items that are sold are pre-made, manufactured or processed. I wanted to make everything the way you would make it in your own kitchen, using whole ingredients. The first thing my chef instructors asked was if I wanted to make any money,” she laughs. But, Smith swears by the labor-intensive processes she undertakes, stating that there’s a clear difference in taste between factory-made and scratch-made morsels. “I want people to know what real buttercream tastes like,” says Smith who credits a childhood fueled by Swiss meringue buttercream as one of the many reasons for her passion for baking. “We crack all our eggs here. I could buy pre-cracked eggs and save in labor, but we buy flats of eggs and crack every one.”
Tomato and spinach quiche, holiday yule log, and eggnog cake.
Smith fondly remembers growing up in New Jersey, surrounded by beautiful bakeries and enjoying their made-from-scratch products. “I remember how those things taste,” she says. “It’s emotional. Food is emotional. I hadn’t tasted anything like that in a long time. We would make something in class, and the teacher would tell us what we were making then immediately say, ‘but nobody makes this anymore.’ So one day, I finally raised my hand and said, ‘well then what are people doing?’ The answer is mass-made products.” From then on, Smith knew it was important to her to bring back those flavors, and by definition, a chance to make sweet memories for the public.
In 2014, Smith opened up her first storefront on Wianno Avenue in Osterville, down the street from the bakery’s current location. The business was quickly put to the test with opening day occurring during the ever-popular Osterville Christmas Stroll. A small operation, Smith describes the trials of those first years. “You could stand at the cash register, serve a pastry, turn around, make a cappuccino and roll out dough all within a couple of feet,” she laughs.
Smith had a plan though, and her eye on a building—a garage, actually—for five years before the residing business closed and the space became available. The building provided Smith with a fair share of challenges to overcome. With no plumbing and a rotting roof, what was originally supposed to be a simple gut and redecorate became a much more complicated project. “If you’re tearing down, you might as well build what you want,” she says. After a year of meeting with the builders, architects and engineers, a plan was made. “I knew what I wanted, so I was able to go to the architect and give them my vision,” says Smith.
Smith worked with Cotuit’s Lagadinos Building and Design, and Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber (BLFR) Architects. “She really knew what she wanted,” agrees Tim Sawyer, president of BLFR. “Sometimes you go into a project and the client hands it all to you to be responsible for, but Amie was extremely hands on.” Unlike the old building, the new building has a full basement for storage, a walk-in refrigerator and freezer, ample space in the kitchen for everyday production, regular baking classes at AMIE Academie and a full bar. “A lot of people don’t associate bakeries with bars, but really, it makes a lot of sense,” laughs Smith.
“With branding and marketing as my background I’m always looking to push our brand farther. The vision from the beginning was to be larger than just a retail bakery,” says Smith. As well as working in corporate marketing, Smith spent some time as a writing instructor at Northeastern University and wanted to incorporate teaching into her business. AMIE Academie is held in the bakery to teach participants all different aspects of baking and cooking. Classes range from cookie and cake decorating to soup making to cocktail mixing at the bar. There are demo classes, skills classes that focus on a single skill like using a particular piping tip, and in the summer, a cake camp and a baking boot camp for kids with a different skill taught each day. “Beyond learning the skills, the classes also give people an insight into what we do here and how we make everything from scratch in house,” explains Smith.
A New Jersey native, Smith spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. After living in New England and being a part-time resident in Osterville for several decades, Cape Cod, and specifically Osterville, was the focal point of where she wanted to open. “There’s something so special and unique about Osterville,” she says. “I always felt like a bakery would fill a need here. Neighborhood bakeries were making a comeback, and I knew I needed to open in Osterville. The community has really embraced what we’re doing, and they’ve been so supportive. You need the community to grow a business and we’ve just been overwhelmed by—and grateful for—the support.”
Visit AMIE Bakery online at amiebakery.com to learn more.
AMIE Bakery was featured in our 2019 Best Of! Check out more of our Best Of winners here!