What's Eric Eating Episode 189
Houston's dynamic duo of French baking, plus dishing on James Harden's restaurant
On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chefs Otto Sanchez and Matthieu Cabon join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Magnol French Baking. Founded in 2019, Magnol recently expanded its retail offerings by adding a patio and hiring a full-time barista to give customers more of a cafe experience.
As Sanchez explains, he and Cabon originally planned to start slowly by selling breads wholesale for a year before adding viennoiserie (croissants and other laminated doughs) and eventually pastries. Simply put, the bakery's location on North Post Oak near the Awty International School put it in close proximity to a diverse group of parents who didn't want to wait for Magnol to expand its menu. Sanchez recalls the conversation going something like:
"From day two, people started knocking on the door and saying, 'I want to buy a baguette.' Well, we have some. 'Do you have croissants?' We don't make those. 'Well, you should,'" Sanchez says. "It went downhill from there . . . Then, a lot of people I worked with at La Table would say, 'chef Otto opened a bakery. You should go see him' . . . It's a very organic thing to happen. Most of it has happened from word-of-mouth."
The conversation covers a range of other topics, including how the two chefs met while working in Vegas, the importance of using organic flour and hand-shaping breads to their process, and their future plans to grow Magnol to multiple locations.
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Felice Sloan discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Blood Bros. BBQ teaming up with pastry chef Alyssa Dole to open a new sandwich shop in Garden Oaks; chef Brandi Key joining Dish Society's parent company; and the opening of Acme Oyster Co. in Montrose.
In the restaurants of the week segment, the duo discuss their recent meals at Littlefoot, the French-inspired pop-up currently taking place at Theodore Rex, and Thirteen, the Midtown restaurant owned by former Rocket James Harden. While they rave about the elegant tasting menu served at Littlefoot, they found some issues at Thirteen — including an early contender for worst dish of 2021. Listen to the full episode to hear what it is.