On the consumer front, Davis cites the rising importance of transparency. “Right now, people crave transparency when it comes to the foods that they eat,” he says. “They want to know what’s in their food, and more specifically, where their food comes from. Transparency is something that’s been part of La Brea Bakery since we opened.” La Brea Bakery’s original starter, made using flour, water and skin from organic grapes, was created more than 25 years ago, and is still used to make all of the company’s breads today. “We’ve never used artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in our breads, so we’ve stayed ahead of this current trend and the demand to know more about the origins of your food.”
“I’ve been with La Brea Bakery for over 25 years and since the start of my career as a baker,” he says. “I’ve been given so many opportunities with La Brea Bakery and have enjoyed working to ensure it remains an innovative company with a growing portfolio of artisan breads. In recent years, I’ve explored new partnership opportunities, like the one with Wheat Montana and La Brea Bakery Reserve in which we became the first company to offer truly artisan bread on a national scale.”
To stay on top of innovation, Davis also works a great deal with Stephen Jones at the Bread Lab at Washington State University, testing new strains of wheat. “We’re constantly looking for new flavors and texture to explore in our breads in the future,” Davis says. His extensive experience with long fermentation and pre-ferments enables him to rely heavily on these skills at La Brea Bakery, especially when it comes to different combinations and flavor profiles. Formulation is one of his strongest traits, whether it’s formulating new recipes or improving upon old ones, and he has strong skills into how those interplay.
Davis draws inspiration from his mentors like Nancy Silverton. “I have a lot of friends in the baking industry, and we tend to feed off of one another. Nancy Silverton, who I worked for at Campanile and subsequently La Brea Bakery for nearly two decades, has been an important mentor and inspiration to me.” For the future, Davis says his interests lie in becoming more active in the industry by mentoring the new generation of bakers — sharing what he has learned, while learning from them the techniques and perspectives of this new generation.