Baking Holiday Cookies with Friends

At Macrina, we love baking and we love community. The annual holiday cookie exchange is a great example of this—each cookie a story, each an act of love. It’s a time to visit your neighbors and share good tidings. Not much tops baking family recipes with friends, but when you don’t have the time, Macrina has you covered. Our collection of 20 holiday cookies, sold in a reusable Panibois wooden baking box, will bring joy to your friends and neighbors. Each of the six delicious types of cookie has a story and a distinct flavor.

Read our blog to hear how one of Macrina’s partners, Michelle Galvin, has rekindled and nurtured dear friendships through an annual holiday cookie baking gathering and to learn more about our Holiday Cookie Box.

A few years after college, newly married and busy establishing a career, finding time to visit with dear friends was a challenge. In high school, Trina, Kerri and I would spend whole days together, talking every day. But now, despite the desire, we barely saw each other.

With Christmas approaching, we made a promise we’d start a new tradition: a holiday cookie party. We all loved baking and revered the neighborly tradition of the cookie exchange. What better way to reconnect than spending an afternoon sharing and baking family recipes together?

At the first gathering, Trina brought a vintage pizzelle maker. The family heirloom looked, uh, well-loved. It was easy to imagine the hundreds or thousands of thin wafer-like cookies it had produced over the years. Making 200 pizzelles alone would be a monotonous task, but the repetitive task of spooning dollop after dollop of dough into the rustic pizzelle iron with friends made it fun.  We laughed a lot and had plenty of time to catch up.

Next, Trina taught us her Nonna’s biscotti recipe, the best in all of Montecatini she’d claimed. Her “trick” was to toast the almonds before adding them to the dough. Nothing satisfies the need for crunch like biscotti do, and I loved hearing the stories of Trina’s grandmother.

Since only two baking sheets could fit in the oven at a time, we spent an entire Saturday baking. It was like old times, talking of matters big and small, remembering old stories and sharing new ones. And at the end of it, we each had a large box of cookies to share with our friends, neighbors and family.

We promised we’d do it again the next year. And we did. And the year after that, too. Sometime in the early aughts, one of us showed up with a special holiday cookie edition of Martha Stewart’s Living magazine. We tried making her Chocolate Crackle Cookies. Soon our hands were sticky with chocolate dough. But they were so delicious straight from the oven—chocolate crack-le!—I worried we wouldn’t have enough to give away. Of course, they got added to the yearly event. Even after all these years, Kerri and Trina still debate whether they should be crisp or chewy and how long to bake them. I love them both ways—and both of them—so I sit back and enjoy the playful debate.

 

As we added cookies, we also added kids. Gingerbread cookies with bright white royal frosting and decorated sugar cookies made their way onto our cookie trays. With the many small helping hands, the mess grew exponentially. The number of hands helping clean up did not! But the kids were thrilled to help. Though some of them struggled just a little to part with the cookies, they were all proud to present their teachers with plates of cookies they’d helped make.

Not only did I catch up with my friends, but now we also traded parenting secrets and potty training strategies. Later those stories included the challenges of starting new schools, puberty and middle school, sharing the car keys with new drivers, and college tours.

Not that it was all free of tragedy. At one gathering, midway through the pizzelle making, Trina dropped the heirloom iron and it broke. (Thank goodness, it was her—not me!) We raced out to a fancy kitchen store for a replacement. It sufficed but didn’t make cookies anywhere nearly as good, or as beautiful. So, we took to eBay for a replacement, carefully inspecting images and bidding patiently. Three years later, we had not one but two vintage pizzelle makers—exact replicas—safe cover if the dropsies came over us again.

With more kids and more plates of cookies to assemble, the single oven was a bottleneck. So, we ventured down to the Macrina test kitchen in Kent. The kitchen had so much space and fancy ovens galore. We were like pros in there. In just three hours, we had plates and plates of cookies, and we’d barely broken a sweat! We realized that the point of the gathering wasn’t about speed and efficiency (although the convection oven with rotating racks that baked all our cookies evenly was amazing), but nurturing friendships of more than 40 years. We’re back to the two cookie sheets oven.

Fortunately, it is the exception when time and circumstance doesn’t allow for our annual event. The few times it has happened, all three of us were very grateful that we could count on the fabulous bakers at Macrina. Sure, we missed the time together. But we were still able to bring our friends, family and neighbors lovely gift boxes of homemade holiday cookies we could be proud of.

Macrina Holiday Cookie box is an assortment of 20 cookies bundled in a reusable Panibois wooden baking box. It contains:

2 Gingerbread

3 Chocolate Crinkle

3 Mexican Wedding Balls

4 Cranberry Orange Almond Biscotti

4 Pecan Rosemary Shortbread

4 Rugelach

Meet James Stanton: Cartoonist

This Sunday, art and football intersect in the Seahawks Gameday Poster created by our Sodo café’s very own James Stanton.

The Seattle Seahawks partnered with the legendary local graphic designers Ames Bros to curate a series of posters with unique artwork to commemorate this season’s home games. Barry Ament and Coby Schwartz, the creative force behind Ames Bros, invited James Stanton to be one of the eight accomplished Seattle artists to produce a poster.

James, who has worked part-time at Macrina’s Sodo café for nearly five years, is a cartoonist and illustrator who has been publishing his small-press comic Gnartoons since 2005. He’s also done comics and illustrations for Thrasher, The Atlantic, The Stranger, The Nib, Adventure Time and other publications.

“It’s such an honor to work with the Ames Bros on a Seahawks poster,” James says. “Coby and Barry know my stuff. They pointed out what in my portfolio they thought would work well, which mostly wound up being comic book covers. I ended up thinking about the poster as a comic book cover more than I did as a print.”

Assigned the November 3 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, James created a serpentine-like hawk rising from the sea and swamping a pirate ship with shredded sails. Majestic Doug firs tower in the background. The 18” x 24” posters are screen printed and can be ordered online and picked up at CenturyLink Field on game day or at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop during designated hours. The Seahawks are also producing 12 “platinum” posters on special paper with enhanced printing techniques. Those will be sold on the Seahawks’ Auction Website the day after each game and shipped to winners.

Buying a poster will not only serve as a unique art piece on your wall, but it helps fund arts education for kids. The Seahawks are donating all proceeds from sales of the posters to The Creative Advantage, an arts education equity program for Seattle Public Schools.

In addition to some cash, posters, and the prestige, James gets tickets to the game and a field pass. It’ll be his first live Seahawks game. “The Seahawks are a much bigger stage than I’m used to working on,” James says. “This was fun because they gave me a lot of freedom to draw whatever I wanted to, within certain parameters, of course.”

James moved to Seattle specifically because it’s a hotspot for independent comics and to help publish a free comics newspaper called The Intruder. He immediately found a room to rent in a Beacon Hill house already occupied by a few other comics artists. More than seven years later, that’s still the case. “When someone moves out, we find another cartoonist to take their place,” says James.

This coming spring, a hardbound collection of James’ collected work, titled Gnartoons, will be released by the Bay Area publisher Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club. And on Saturday, November 9, you will find James at Short Run, the one-day annual comics and arts festival that takes place at the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, with his newest comic, Swamp Mythos,—and copies of the Seahawks poster.

See more of James’ work on his website  or on Instagram and other social media apps at  @gnartoons.

 

Meet Diana Yelton: GM at the Aloha Café

Ultimately, it was Macrina’s Greek Olive Loaf that led Diana to our café. A recent transplant to Seattle in 2016, Diana was looking for a job when her boyfriend showed up with a loaf of his new favorite bread—the Greek Olive Loaf. He casually mentioned that he’d noticed a sign saying Macrina was hiring. 

Diana and her boyfriend had moved to Seattle from New York City where Diana had worked in independent film production. Out of college, she had considered a career as a teacher, but student teaching had talked her out of that. Her job requirements were only that she didn’t want to be cooped up in an office. “I’m an extrovert,” Diana says. “Being around people gives me energy. I loved Macrina’s bread and it seemed like a fun place to work so I interviewed.”  

Customers and coworkers alike were quickly impressed with her hard work, kindness and spirited personality. When the Aloha café opened in September 2018, Diana was an instrumental part the opening crew. When the tightly knit community of North Capitol Hill filtered in to check us out, Diana’s product knowledge and bright, lively personality helped introduce Macrina to everyone.  Everyone who has ever opened a new retail business knows just how challenging it is. There’s hardly been a quiet moment since we opened the doors, so strong customer service skills and a good work ethic have been bench tested. “We have so many regulars already,” Diana says. “You know their favorite pastry before you know their name. Seeing familiar faces in line is definitely a great part of the job.” 

When the General Manager position opened up in June 2019 it was clear Diana had earned the nod. “I was honored to be offered the job,” Diana says. “I worked my way up and feel like they saw something in me. Scott and Leslie are at the Aloha café frequently and both are very open and supportive. When I’m hiring it helps to be able to say very honestly that the company culture is really good, and there are many opportunities for growth.” 

 

 

 

Phuong Hoang Bui

Update: 6/14/2019Macrina’s Head Baker, Phuong Hoang Bui, started working at Macrina in 1994. To celebrate his 25th anniversary we gathered with him and his family at Palisade Restaurant to share our gratitude for everything he has done for Macrina and the way he brightens the workplace with smiles and his cheerful heart.

“The best part of the heartwarming dinner was Phuong sharing his fond memories of Macrina,” says Jane Cho, Production Manager. “Behind his kind, respectful mannerisms, he is a comedian and loves to laugh and tell a good story. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Phuong for so many years and to be inspired by someone with such integrity in everything he does.”
To learn more about Phuong’s amazing journey from Vietnam to Macrina read this blog that Leslie wrote about Phuong.

Original: 10/14/2012

Throughout my new book, More from Macrina, interspersed among the recipes and beautiful photography, are stories about the people and partnerships that make the Macrina community.

Phuong Hoang Bui has worked at Macrina for 18 years and as much as anyone, he embodies the spirit of the Macrina community in a way that makes me so proud to have him as a colleague.  I first met Phuong through the International Rescue Committee, where he had been eagerly seeking employment.  At our first meeting, Phuong conveyed a deep desire to work and to learn – I hired him as a dishwasher on the spot. This was in 1994 – just after Macrina first opened.

Phuong

While he worked as a dishwasher, Phuong would always make himself available to help with food prep, to help shape bread, and to watch the bakers load the ovens – constantly seeking opportunities to learn more so that he could grow professionally while supporting Macrina’s growth.

18 years later Phuong manages our entire wholesale production team – fifty employees in all, diverse in age, ethnicity and experience – and Phuong takes great care to help them all develop the skills to succeed in their work, and for many of them, to adapt to a new life in Seattle.

Before starting at Macrina, Phuong had been trying to get to America from his native Vietnam for some time.  His first attempt was as a boat refugee when he was captured and imprisoned for two years.  When he was released Phuong received help and support from friends and family, which led to his arrival and new life in the United States.

Today, everything Phuong does through his work at Macrina demonstrates his gratitude for the help and support he has received. Phuong works with his team to help them develop professionally and embrace new opportunities, just as he did (and continues to do).  Phuong’s desire to repay the kindness he was shown when he first arrived here reflects so much of the culture here at Macrina, and just as Phuong is grateful for the life he has here, I am grateful for the chance to have him be a part of our daily life at Macrina.

Learn more about Phuong and his amazing journey in More from Macrina. 

Meet our Family: The Brothers Nguyen

Macrina Bakery relies on many highly-skilled bakers. The brothers Andy and Dat Nguyen are two of our best.  

We still make all our bread by the same methods we did in 1993 when Macrina Bakery first opened in Belltown—only now we make much more of it. Long, slow rises, with carefully maintained starters and forming every loaf by hand is a labor intensive way to make bread. But it’s the way great bakers around the world have been making the best loaves for centuries. Making bread this way is who we are 

As we’ve grown, we’ve had to find and train new bakers. Our head baker, Phuong Bui, is one great example. And it was through Phoung, or more precisely, his mother, that we found two other key members of our bread team. Phuong’s mother met Andy and Dat Nguyen in an ESL class at South Seattle Community College in 2003. She mentioned her son was hiring at Macrina. Andy was the first to be hired, Dat followed a month later. 

Phuong trained them both how to shape our various loaves and they joined the forming team. Both brothers were quick learners and showed great initiative. Within a few years, they’d both mastered each of the bread-making steps: mixing, kneading, proofing, shaping, and baking. “Learning each station was difficult,” Andy says. “But now after fifteen years, even the holidays aren’t stressful, just busy.”  

Today, Dat is our Baking Assistant Manager. He oversees a crew of nearly 20, stepping in to help at every stage as needed. Sometimes it’s to speed production along, sometimes helping coach new employees, and making certain he can be proud of each loaf. “I’m thrilled Macrina has trusted me with more responsibility,” Dat says. “I take great pride in making great bread.” 

Andy works the rack ovens, baking hundreds of loaves every day. He ensures that each comes out with that crisp, caramelized crust our customers have come to know. With so many loaves and many types of bread, it’s part craft, part art and takes a high degree of precision and focused attention. 

Andy lives in Burien with his wife who followed him from Vietnam. They have an eight-year-old daughter who attends White Center Heights Elementary, which has a Vietnamese dual language program. On weekends she likes to go shopping with her father, often asking him if they can go out for a very American lunch—at McDonald’s. Andy prefers Thai food but sometimes indulges his daughter. He relaxes by tending the gardens in his backyard. 

Dat lives with his parents who emigrated to Seattle three years before Dat and Andy arrived. Dat has a six-year-old son who also attends White Center Heights elementary and is enrolled in the same dual language program as his cousin. Dat helps his aging parents with their needs. Recently, Dat has also had to contend with some of the skills his son has picked up at school, namely how to research new toys on YouTube. 

Both families remain close, often gathering on weekends and holidays. During football season they get together to root for the Seahawks. Over the years, both brothers have returned to Saigon to visit friends and family in Vietnam. Andy always makes a side trip to Long Khánh, a small city in Southeastern Vietnam to visit his wife’s family. 

At Macrina, we are incredibly proud of these two master bakers who have become part of our family. Without their talent, hard work, dedication, and ability to train and coach new employees we would not be where we are today. Thank you Dat and Andy for 15 great years! 

Meet Natalie Godfrey, Macrina’s Wholesale Sales Assistant Manager

Wholesale Sales Assistant Manager

One of the best ways to audition potential sales managers is to observe them in action—selling products that aren’t your own. That is just how we came across Natalie Godfrey. Leslie Mackie was in Walla Walla to meet with some of the farmers who grow wheat for Macrina Bakery. After a long, hot day, much of it spent in the field, Leslie dropped by the tasting room at Tamarack Cellars. A handful of Macrina employees joined her. At the time, Natalie worked there as a sales associate. 

“When I met Natalie at Tamarack Cellars,” Leslie says,  “I was impressed with her vast and descriptive knowledge of the wines she was selling. She took them very seriously and shared detailed stories about the wines. Her approach was so genuine and enthusiastic that she drew all of us in. We bought a bunch of wine to take home.” 

Natalie attended high school on Bainbridge Island, which is where she first tasted Macrina’s breads. “My mom brought home Macrina bread from Town and Country all the time,” she says. Whitman College and a degree in rhetoric studies had pulled Natalie to Walla Walla, but she entertained the idea of returning to the Seattle area. At the tasting, the whole Macrina team agreed that Natalie had a natural talent for selling products so Leslie left Natalie her business card. 

Natalie decided to move back to Seattle and called Leslie who was delighted to hear from her. “The sales team is the face of Macrina,” Leslie says. “If Natalie shared a similar connection with our breads and pastries as she did with the Tamarack wines, I knew she’d be a perfect fit.” 

”When I called Leslie to ask her about a job,” Natalie says, “she emphasized how Macrina invests in their employees and offers so many opportunities for them to be nurtured by others and to grow. She was honest, and I felt like it would be a good company to work for—one that I wanted to work for!” 

Natalie started working for Macrina in January as the Wholesale Sales Assistant Manager, joining Amy Bui, General Manager of Wholesale Sales, and Fanny Alvarado, Wholesale Manager, to make up our sales team. Amy has been showing her the ropes. “Natalie has already proven to be a great fit for the role, and I look forward to working with her,” Amy says. 

“I’ve learned so much already—about bread, sales, and hard-working people—and am inspired by it all. I love how Macrina is a community of inspiring, diverse individuals who all seem united by their love of bread,” Natalie says.  

Amy Bui, General Manager Wholesale Sales

Growing Up with Macrina

Few know Macrina’s products like Amy Bui does. She’s grown up with them. Her father is Phuong Bui, our Head Baker and longest-tenured employee. “I remember her running around the café,” Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, said. “She couldn’t have been more than three when she first started coming in.”

Amy remembers those days as well. She didn’t go to work with her father often but loved the experience when she did. “I loved being in the kitchen with Leslie. I’d beg her to give me a task so I could help. I’d stand on a milk crate and stir large pots she had on the burners or she would give me a lump of dough to play with on the forming table to keep me busy.”

Working at Macrina

In 2011, we hired Amy as a Customer Service Representative. She had a knack for building relationships with our customers. She kept a list of all our wholesale customers and made a point of eating at as many of the restaurants as she could. “Over my seven years here, I have eaten at 161 restaurants serving Macrina products,” Amy said, adding, “More to come!”

Soon, Amy moved into a series of management positions, proving her value at every new job. She served as our Wholesale Sales Assistant Manager before we promoted her to General Manager of Wholesale Sales in November of 2018.

“Amy is uniquely qualified for this job,” said Scott France, Macrina’s President. “She has shown tremendous commitment to our artisan bakery and is dedicated to exceptional customer service.”

“We have the best products this city has to offer,” Amy said. “Being able to stand 100 percent behind the products you’re selling makes the job easy.”

Starting as a Customer Service Representative gave Amy a ground floor view of all the moving parts that must operate fluidly so that the many hand-formed artisanal products can be baked daily and delivered early in the morning to hundreds of customers around the Seattle area.

“Fanny Alvarado, Macrina’s Wholesale Manager, has been a great mentor to me,” Amy said. “Fanny also started in an entry-level job here and worked her way up and up. She sets the bar high for expectations in customer service and job productivity and has supported me through all challenges and frustrations I’ve had.”

And how does it feel to spend your days selling so many things your dad has helped make? “It’s awesome. I love that I get to see him every day, since I wouldn’t otherwise.”

Ariel Singh, General Manager, Aloha Café 

Since I opened Macrina in 1993, so many amazing people have helped make the bakery what it is today. In honor of our 25th anniversary, we are spotlighting a few key employees. Each fills an essential role at Macrina. 

Ariel Singh’s experience and talent make her the perfect person to open our new café on Capitol Hill at 746 19th Ave E (on the corner of Aloha and 19th). She’s as wonderful a person as she is talented with customers and crew alike. Managing a café is a big job requiring superb customer service skills, extensive food knowledge, people management, logistics, administrative duties, and more. Ariel does it all with grace, charm and efficiency.

Leslie

Life at Macrina

Ariel started working at Macrina’s Belltown Café in 2012, in the midst of a remodel. She spent much of her first week working side by side with Leslie Mackie, cleaning and scrubbing, before moving into other roles in the cafés.

“Macrina has grown, but Leslie is still present in everything we do,” Ariel said. “The breads, the pastries, and the values are the same. In some ways, I’d say Macrina has just continued to grow into itself.”

After Belltown, Ariel moved to the McGraw Café where she worked as Assistant Manager. She was promoted to General Manager of our Sodo Café in 2016. This was when Macrina’s wholesale production still worked in the space behind the café. About a year later, having outgrown that space, wholesale moved to our bakery in Kent, though you can still watch the pastry team working behind the windows at the Sodo café.

“Before wholesale moved, it was so fun to walk back there and see and experience everything being made from scratch, the potatoes boiling for the potato bread, all the dough being kneaded, and teams of bakers hand-forming and scoring every loaf. I miss it and encourage my crew to get out to Kent to see all the work that goes into our products.”

There has been one advantage since Wholesale moved out of Sodo. “Without the huge rack ovens running 24 hours a day, the café stays cooler.” Plus, speaking of cool, Gelatiamo, Seattle’s extraordinary gelato maker, now occupies part of the space. Owner Maria Coassin quickly hit it off with Ariel, so much so that she has been helping Ariel plan her upcoming honeymoon!

Opening a New Café

Ariel worked down in Sodo until this past August. When offered the opportunity to open Macrina’s newest café, there was no hesitation.  “I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” she says.

The location of the café was once home to the Surrogate Hostess. People are still talking about the Surrogate Hostess today, which is a testimony of the impact the bakery made on the tight-knit community. This would be a tough act for anyone to follow, but Ariel is a perfect fit. She is good with her crew, but she truly makes a point to create connections with her customers. “I’ve loved each of the cafés for different reasons,” Ariel says. “Each has a nostalgic feeling for me that I relate to different parts of my life. The best compliment I can get is when a customer from another café comes in and remembers me and say they miss me.” Now she’s ready to make new memories at Aloha and excited to get to know new customers in a new neighborhood.

“Ariel is incredibly hard working,” says Crystal Kitchin, the General Manager overseeing all of the cafés. “She strives for perfection. Working in food service, you can only control so much yourself. The rest comes from training your crew well. Ariel has risen to the occasion and become a great leader.”

But Ariel is just as appreciative of Crystal. “I’m lucky to work for a boss who I really like,” Ariel says. “Crystal is a guiding light. If I’m having a tough time dealing with something, she has an answer. Even to the most complicated interpersonal issues that come up with a big staff. I’ve also learned so much from working with Leslie. She’s the epitome of Macrina and what it embodies, in all the best ways.”

The Married Life

Ariel was married to her husband Narayan Singh about a year ago, almost to the day, on Labor Day 2017. The Corson Building, a gem tucked under the freeway in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, provided the perfect setting for a food-crazy couple. If a flaw could be found, it was only that the day was a little warm for Ariel, about 85 degrees. “I was a little hot in my dress,” Ariel says, “but Narayan was happy. The wedding was perfect.” 

They met in Seattle after both moving from warmer places, Ariel from L.A., Narayan from Las Vegas. Taylor Murphy, a mutual friend, introduced them. She used to work with Ariel. Because of their friendship, and Taylor being the point of intersection, Ariel and Narayan asked her to officiate their wedding. “At work, Taylor was frequently a little late, and I’m a stickler for punctuality. But she was definitely on time for the wedding,” Ariel laughs.

Narayan is a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student at Seattle Pacific University. This keeps him very busy, which was part of the reason why they delayed their honeymoon until this summer. 

Quy Nguyen, Savory Department

Since I opened Macrina in 1993, so many amazing people have helped make the bakery what it is today. In honor of our 25th anniversary, we are spotlighting a few key employees. Each fills an essential role at Macrina. 

A year after I opened the bakery, I took over an adjoining space and opened the Belltown café. Customers could sit down for a slice of quiche, weekend brunch or a sandwich made with Macrina’s fresh bread. Back then, the savory items we made didn’t require a whole department. Brunch was an all-hands-on-deck affair, but as Macrina has grown and our lunch and brunch crowds have expanded, we had to do something to keep up with demand. Because of this, we now have a Savory Department. They prepare all the sandwiches, quiche, soups, spreads, salad dressings, and meze for our cafés. Quy is one of the stars, a talented cook who is efficient and graceful, two desirable qualities in a bustling kitchen. 

Leslie

Quy Nguyen, Savory Chef

On weekends, our Sodo Café bustles with brunch customers. In front of the stove, Quy Nguyen keeps her focus on the pans of eggs, sizzling applewood smoked bacon, herb-roasted potatoes, and heaping plates of French toast. Her hands quickly dart between the knife and pan. New orders come in and servers deliver hot dishes to tables. The kitchen heats up, but Quy stays cool. She churns out one pan of perfectly-cooked over-easy eggs after another and beautifully garnishes the plates. 

The rest of her workweek is just as important, but less intense. 

As a critical member of our Savory team, Quy preps and makes savory items for all of the cafés at our Kent bakery. After ten years, she knows all of the recipes and techniques. She works with the same precision and focus she employs on the brunch line, but she has time to share stories and chat with the other staff. “I like to joke around with them,” she says, through a translator. “They are like a second family.”

Still, nothing tops those busy mornings at the Sodo Café. “The favorite part of my job is working brunch. I find it very rewarding,” she says.

More about Quy

Quy moved to Seattle from Dalat, Vietnam, in 2003 with her husband and teenage daughter. The climate in Seattle is very similar to that of Dalat, whose temperate climate stands in contrast to Vietnam’s otherwise tropical climate. The region’s valleys are cloaked in mist much of the year, leading to its name “City of Eternal Spring.” For the first five years living here, she stayed at home while her daughter went to school. When it came time for her daughter to graduate from high school, she thought about working again. A friend recommended Macrina, so she interviewed and was hired and she’s been an essential part of the team ever since.

Quy does enjoy cooking at home. She primarily cooks Vietnamese food for her family, but has developed quite a taste for the diversity of cuisines in America, especially those of the French and Italian influence. Macrina’s Mac & Cheese is her current favorite dish to eat. 

She returns to Vietnam every two to three years to visit her mother, along with her sister and brother. She likes sharing with them recipes that she’s learned, and has begun teaching them how to make soups and salad dressings similar to Macrina’s. 

Marilyn Mercer manages the Savory Department. She says, “Quy amazes me. She’s willing to do any task needed to support our success. She’s quick and efficient, sometimes under hectic and stressful situations during brunch. Her food is always on point. Everyone at Savory and the Sodo Café appreciates her skillful teamwork. I truly enjoy working with her.”

Alfredo Machorro, Steward

Since I opened Macrina in 1993, so many amazing people have helped make the bakery what it is today. In honor of our 25th anniversary, we are spotlighting a few key employees. Each fills an essential role at Macrina. 

To those who deliver our supplies, Alfredo Machorro is the face of Macrina. His kindness is genuine. But he’s no pushover. If something isn’t right about an order, he straightens out the invoice or refuses product that doesn’t meet our high standards. With his rare combination of rigor and sweetness, Alfredo has earned the respect of our suppliers and admiration from all of us at the bakery.

Leslie

Alfredo Machorro, Steward Lead

Most of our customers never see Alfredo Machorro, but without him we’d have a hard time making a single product. Alfredo is our Steward Lead and Receiver. He greets each of our suppliers at the loading docks, checks in their deliveries and carefully ensures the quality and contents of each order. 

Alfredo takes great pride in his work and the knowledge that, indirectly at least, he has a hand in everything at the bakery. He ensures that the fruits and vegetables that arrive are of the highest quality and that the meats and cheeses have been refrigerated properly. He also manages an extensive inventory of various flours, sugars, butter, and all the different items we use for bagging and packaging our baked goods. 

“Each day is a little different, but each day is very busy,” Alfredo says. “I’ve been here seven years now, and with each new year I’ve taken on new responsibilities. I like everything about my job.”

Blake Gehringer, Alfredo’s supervisor, says, “Alfredo works hard to make sure that every single product Macrina orders is correct, gets dated and rotated appropriately one hundred percent of the time. I really appreciate how thorough and organized he is. I also guarantee that he is the nicest receiver in the Pacific Northwest, even when he needs to turn away product.”

This quality of kindness and thoroughness, both in his work and his relations with co-workers, has endeared Alfredo to everyone at the bakery. Not to mention how many rely on his knowledge of exactly where anything is. 

During the week, Alfredo arrives at 6 a.m. and works until 2 p.m. Incoming deliveries, rotating stock, taking inventory, and ordering new supplies take up most of his time. “Moving to the bigger space in Kent has made my life much easier,” he says. “The Sodo space had gotten too small for us. Now I can manage the inventory much better.”

Family, Food and Travel

Alfredo moved to Seattle almost 20 years ago from the historic city of Puebla, located in Central Mexico. Puebla has a climate quite similar to Seattle, so the rain and cool nights weren’t a hard transition. Eager to start his next chapter in America, he worked a variety of jobs, building a robust skill set. Before Macrina, he worked as a forklift driver, which is a tool he frequently uses at Macrina. 

Three of Alfredo’s sisters followed him to Seattle, settling near Burien, where Alfredo lives. They get together on Sundays, “After church on Sunday I visit my sisters,” Alfredo says. “I live alone, so it’s nice to play with their kids and enjoy time with family.” On special occasions, they make make Alfredo’s favorite dish, Mole Poblanos.

Alfredo also enjoys visiting his favorite restaurant, Azteca. The original location for the regional chain is near his home in Burien. It started out as a small mom and pop place in 1974. “The food is great,” Alfredo says.

When he’s not spending time with family in Burien, downtown Seattle has always been one of his favorite places to explore, though he does like to make it out of the city. “When I have a little vacation time, I like to visit the Oregon Coast, or sometimes I go to Wenatchee. I like all the apple orchards.”