Meet the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Baker Semifinalists: Greg Wade
Greg Wade is the head baker at Publican Quality Bread in Chicago. Under his leadership, the bakery crafts beautiful whole grain long fermented breads fresh daily.
Wade grew up in Milwaukee with baking as a family routine, but it wasn’t until taking a baking class at The Illinois Institute of Art that he finally realized his calling.
After graduating from culinary school, Wade began working at Taxim in Chicago, specializing in breads and pastries. In 2010, he joined the bread baking team at Girl & The Goat in Chicago, which would be his first full-time bread post. By 2013, he was overseeing bread baking at Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, and Little Goat French Market.
Now the head baker at Publican Quality Bread, Wade runs the bread programs for One Off Hospitality Group, working hand-in-hand with the company’s chefs to develop new breads to fit each restaurant’s menu. Meanwhile, Wade continues to build authenticity into his breads, with a focus on fermentation and sourcing the best local grains for loaves with dimension and integrity.
Wade says that one of the biggest challenges getting started in bread baking is handling the dough. “It takes a long time to be able to touch the dough the right way,” he says. “Some people will come in here and it’s obvious they’ve never worked with dough before and I’ll see them and they’re just grabbing at it, it’s sticking to them, it’s just a mess, it’s just not doing what they want it to do. Learning the feel is one of the most challenging things.”
This is Greg Wade’s first time being named as a semifinalist in the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Baker category.