Pastry Chef Alicia Hinze talks Cupcake Wars, ice cream, and the Buttered Tin's first year
In just under a year, The Buttered Tin's pastry chef and co-owner Alicia Hinze has seen her restaurant become a beloved part of St. Paul life. On a recent Saturday morning, with the place packed with customers inside and out, Hinze took time out to chat about her inspirations, her baby (the restaurant), and what a difference a year makes.
Best Restaurant in Lowertown 2014
At the corner of 7th and Wacouta...
Hot Dish: So the city must be happy that you are here (in Lowertown)?
Alicia Hinze: Yes, it's kind of funny, Mayor Chris Coleman tweets about us all the time. He loves our biscuits and gravy, so we get a lot of city support. In fact, Chris Coleman's nephew works for us. He's one of our bussers.
How did you come up with the name, The Buttered Tin?
It was a friend of mine, Matt Burgess. He is the creative director for Olsen (an ad agency). He was helping me come up with names for just a bakery, and he said the Buttered Tin, and I just felt like that was so right. Even though it hints more at the bakery side of the business, it still works for both the savory and the sweet. And, who doesn't like butter?
Agreed. What's the first thing you remember cooking or baking as a child?
It would probably be sleeping over at my grandma's house and her baking bread. And then we would help with the dough. I remember I loved waking up and she already had the dough rising. It was really yeasty and I loved it. That's probably my first memory of baking and knowing what it was about. But, I have to be honest, I didn't get into cake decorating and real baking until I went to Le Cordon Bleu. I wasn't some Martha Stewart at home.
What happened to you at Le Cordon Bleu?
When I went to Le Cordon Bleu, I thought, "Wow, this is how cake and frosting is supposed to taste and I love this." That's when I really got into it and it took off from there.
So your grandmother is your inspiration?
Yes, she's the only real baker in my family, but all my family has an appreciation for food. My dad likes to cook and my mom likes to do a few things in the kitchen and eat out. Both sides of my family have a lot of siblings and are pretty big families, so everything was always gathered around food. That was Jen (Jennifer Lueck, co-owner of the Buttered Tin) and my inspiration as well. Not only do you want delicious food, but delicious food brings you together. People come together over it. Wherever there's food, people gather.