When she was 4 years old, Iris Chung would pull a chair up next to the stove and watch her mother cook dinner. By the time she was 9, she was making dinner for parents. “I learned basic skills from my mom, home economics class in the fourth grade, and Girl Scouts,” she remembers. By the time Iris was in high school, she was baking, teaching herself through trial and error using her mother’s Betty Crocker cookbook.

Pinon cookies

Pinon cookies

Today, Iris bakes twice a week at LACM, where her typical day begins at 5 a.m. “I first feed my whole-wheat starter and prep bread dough to be baked later in the day,” she says. As the dough rises, she turns to variety of other tasks, from baking breakfast biscuits to making tiramisu cake. “I aspire to make healthy tasty goods with the best ingredients,” she says. “I love to eat and try new things, which has me constantly searching for new recipes; I am always looking for the next challenge.”

Her biscotti, cheese pie, gluten-free chocolate cake, pinon cookies, and pizzas have all been popular with Co+op shoppers. It’s Iris’s breads, however, that really take the cake (no pun intended). From galettes to focaccias to country rolls, she’s able to produce a range of sweet and savory breads that never stay on the shelves for long.

“It is a pleasure to work side by side with such a talented, passionate baker,” says deli manager Theresa Westfall. “Her bread is fabulous; I had never seen such beautiful herb de Provence olive boules.”

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