- Henderson the golden retriever
Jessica Wright's forthcoming Waterbury bakery, Hender's Bake Shop & Café, is named after her golden retriever, Henderson. The dog is named for Henderson, Nev., where Wright lived while working front of house at celebrity chef Charlie Palmer's fine-dining spot, Aureole, and studying hospitality management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Wright is no stranger to back-of-house work, either. Before receiving her college degree, she earned a culinary arts certificate from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. "I grew up around food and always loved it," she says. Her parents ran a bed-and-breakfast, coffee shop and golf course restaurant on Cape Cod before founding Stefanie's Clam Chowder. Wright's uncle and aunt, Chris and Mary Ellen Alberti, own Peasant restaurant in Waitsfield.
In 2011, Wright moved to Vermont to help her sister and brother-in-law open Hostel Tevere in Warren, then spent three years as head baker at Zabby & Elf's Stone Soup in Burlington. "My parents always told me I should go to school for baking and pastry," Wright recalls. "I didn't believe them at first. But moms are always right."
Wright aims to open her new café — located at 22 North Main Street — the first week of July. Confections will include cookies (caramel delights, biscotti, meltaways and carrot-cake cookie sandwiches), special-order cakes and seasonal pies. Those will be supplemented with locally sourced sandwiches, salads, and soups, along with prepackaged goodies like caramel popcorn, Rice Krispies treats, granola and filled-to-order cannoli. Cold-brew from Burlington's Earthback Coffee Roasters will be on tap.