An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Nov 18, 2013
07:45 AMThe Connecticut Table
A Bakery, French Patisserie? Hen & Heifer in Guilford Both, Deliciously
Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register
Whang Suh, left, owner of Hen & Heiffer Bakery in Guilford, puts out more macaroons. At right is staffer Linda Miyagi.
Colorful macaroons, dairy-free, whole wheat carrot muffins, flaky croissants, delectable caramels, crunchy granola and the delightful aroma of coffee brewing greet you as you enter Hen & Heifer in Guilford.
While some refer to this newest addition to the Guilford Center as a French patisserie, others call it a bakery. Local resident and owner Whang Suh has an eclectic display of baked goods, caramels and granola, making it hard to categorize his venture.
“We’re doing something interesting here,” said Suh. “Croissant certainly falls into the bread category and it’s hard to say that we’re not a bakery. When I think of bakery, I think of just bread, but people think of bakery and think of all sorts of things.
“It doesn’t make a difference to me,” he adds, “but it’s interesting and I always wanted to do something where I’m having the opportunity to work with bread, work with sugar, work with chocolate, work with pastry, all sorts of things. So it’s nice that we’re doing a little bit of everything here, so that the day’s always exciting for me, for the staff, for the customer.“
Since opening in May, Suh has been busier than he ever expected and is now working on renovating the building that adjoins his patio seating area to expand his kitchen, and possibly expand the seating area or offer cooking classes in the future. (Images above and below from Hen & Heifer's Facebook page.)
“There is a desire for what we’re doing that I didn’t know existed,” said Suh, standing in the main area of the small shop. “When we started I thought it would be just me in the kitchen and maybe someone standing out here. Maybe we would sell a dozen croissants in a day; maybe someone might come in and buy a couple macaroons. That’s what I thought would happen.”
Growing up in a Korean household, Suh remembers, “the closest I got to pastry was ice cream.” So on his mother’s birthday, starting at about 10 years old, he would try his hand at baking a special cake.
“It interested me, it was fun,” recalled Suh, “it never really came out, but there was a certain enjoyment in trying to do it.”
Suh has certainly come a long way since those days of botched birthday cakes. With training at New York’s French Culinary Institute and training at Per Se Restaurant he yearned to branch out on his own and share his passion for baking.
That love affair with food is certainly alive and well at Hen & Heifer.
“This is a very personal expression in terms of baking and what we offer,” said Suh. “We’re not just making it because we think there’s a market for it. We’re making it because I truly, truly love everything that’s here.”