Maybe Elizabeth Hall didn’t always know that she was born to cook, but she has all of the ingredients that make up a true chef. At the tender age of 10, she began whipping up appetizers for her parents’ cocktail parties. Then there were the childhood summers spent perfecting crepes and stews. And, like any good chef, her eyes light up when she talks about food (she’s particularly fond of Spanish goat cheese). But the real proof is in her weekly brunch and lunch menus. You can taste the passion. Despite Elizabeth’s efforts to find a different path, even studying to be a surgery technician, she kept getting pulled back into the food world. That pull eventually plopped her right into our kitchen as head savory chef.
“When I tell people that I work for Macrina Bakery, they usually say, ‘Oh, they have the best pastries!’ And I usually say, ‘Yes, they do! But, that’s not what I do…’ And they’re like, ‘What else would you be doing there?”’
Considering its modest size, our Savory Department actually does a lot. From preparing the daily salads and soups to the rotating weekend brunch specials, this team of eight makes a big impact. In a busy week, that might look like hundreds of sandwiches or more in just one day.
“In the beginning I was really excited for the crazy level of creativity, which obviously is not the thing anymore. We have a job to do, we have people to feed,” Elizabeth says. “I like getting feedback from customers, I like it when the staff gets excited about something, and I like seeing my staff learn new things.”
Introducing staff and customers to new food experiences is one of her many gifts. One week you might find drunken goat cheese tucked into a pastrami sandwich or roasted concord grapes atop a peanut butter waffle.
“I love making people taste things,” she says with that blissful look in her eyes. “Like, this weekend we’re using black garlic. It’s fermented garlic that’s a little bit sweeter so you can eat it straight and you’re not going to get that heinous garlic breath.”
Sometimes she’s faced with the challenge of convincing the rest of the team of her vision, but in the end her creations win everyone over.
“What we do here is cherished by the community. You have to have a love of giving somebody their daily bread as opposed to an occasional thrill. You don’t go to an Ethan Stowell restaurant every night or even every week. But people come here every day and they bring their family and friends, because we’re offering a familiar, nourishing product.”