After spending months wrestling with the Seal Beach planning commission for approval to add a retail bakery adjacent to the Crema Cafe, the owner of the dining hot-spot was given the green light.
At least for now.
Doors opened recently under a conditional-use permit pending the final inspection.
“We finally got the permit. I am very grateful to be here, although, I wish the dealings with Seal Beach were more business friendly,” owner Tarit Tanjasiri said.
Errors in the permit promise delayed the bakery’s opening.
Seth Eaker, a business consultant for , worked as a liaison between
Tanjasiri and the city on a resolution to concerns about adequate parking for the Main Street business.
“The important thing is that the Planning Commission worked hard with staff and [Tanjasiri] to create a solid, workable CUP which was fair and consistent with the intent of the Main Street Specific Plan,” he said.
But despite its red-tape challenges, the bakery is now operational, featuring 12 styles of artisan bread, baguettes and pastries baked fresh daily. A sourdough loaf is offered for $5.
Tanjasiri, in consultation with world-renowned Master Baker, Frenchman Didier Rosada, wanted to have more control over the product he served in the cafe by baking bread in-house instead of relying on suppliers. Rosada, who met Tanjasiri through a mutual friend, is known throughout the bread world for his classical artisan training. In addition to being a published author and consultant for bakeries across the country, Rosada helped lead the US baking team to several gold medals in bread making, including a 2005 win as the head coach. Rosada will work in an advisory capacity to Tanjasiri for the artisan bakery.
Tanjasiri, who is of Thai descent and jokes that he should know more about rice than bread, has spent many trips to France and Germany trying to perfect the art of baking bread.
“The French don’t have to try very hard,” Tanjasiri says. “They just do it correctly.”
So what does it take to do it right? For Rosada, the secret to the perfect loaf is simple. “Select the best ingredients and process them respecting the art of a natural baking process. Short mixing time, longer fermentation times to develop maximum flavor and bake on the stone to get the proper crust, crumb, texture and flavor,” he says.
Just one year from when Tanjasiri took his first bread class, this is exactly the process he hopes to follow in the artisan bakery. But for Tanjasiri, bread is much more than its ingredients or something we eat. “It is a symbol of fun, friends and family,” he says. “It is the idea of breaking bread that I really love.”
The Crema Cafe first opened its doors in 2006 and if Tanjasiri has his way, it will be there “forever.”
“I have come to really value service and community. It is best to take care of it.” Tanjasiri says. “I am grateful that we get to do something really special here in Seal Beach.” For now, the Crema Cafe will be there at least until its 20-year lease expires.“
Good things are simple,” Tanjasiri says. “They just have to be done right.” And if the Crema Cafe’s past popularity is any indication, it looks like Tanjasiri is doing something right.
: 322 Main Street, Seal Beach, (562) 493-2501, M - F 6:30am - 3:00pm,S - Su 7:00am - 4:00pm
Bread Fun Facts by Southern Utah University
• Each American consumes, on average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
• Breaking bread is a universal sign of peace.
• Bread is probably the one food eaten by people of every race, culture and religion.
• Farmers receive approximately 5 cents (or less) from each loaf of bread sold.
• Murphy's Law dictates that buttered bread will always land buttered‐side down.
• The average American student will have consumed, upon graduation from high
school, 1,500 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
• An average slice of packaged bread contains only 1 gram of fat and 75 to 80