Megan Forman always knew she wanted to bake for a living. After graduating from the New England Culinary Institute and working in kitchens in New York City, she returned to her hometown of New Orleans and spent five years as the pastry chef at Bayona.
The Isidore Newman grad left Bayona to help open Sucre, further honing her skills as assistant pastry chef to Tariq Hanna. In 2012, Forman realized her dream of owning her own business when she and husband, Jay, opened Gracious Bakery in the Woodward Design+Build headquarters in Mid-City.
What inspired you to launch your own business?
Jay and I really wanted to do something for ourselves, and I had always entertained the notion of a bakery. One day I was passing by the Woodward space, and I instantly connected to the idea. There was really nothing in the neighborhood at all. It was a gamble that it would become a destination location, and it has done really well.
What’s the most rewarding part about growing your business?
The most rewarding part is having the honor of being around these talented people that work with us. They give it their all, in a very demanding, and not necessarily financially rewarding business. The other rewarding part is when a customer takes the time to say something positive and meaningful about our work or employees.
Do you find owning your own business gives you more flexibility to do things with your daughter?
I do have more flexibility. I know it takes a lot of hard work and many hours to make a day successful, and then you wake up and start all over again. But now I also try to have balance – for my child, Milly, who is 7, and for myself, as well.
What item that you sell takes the most time to create?
I love this question, and it really is important to our business. Our house-made croissants are the most time-consuming. We have an incredible pastry team that mixes, laminates, shapes, proofs and bakes croissants and danishes every day. The lamination process is very sensitive to time and temperature, and these ladies are experts!
Gracious Bakery, 1000 S. Jeff Davis Parkway, Suite 100; 2854 St. Charles Ave.; 7220 Earhart Blvd., New Orleans. 504.301.3709. graciousbakery.com.
To view more Mompreneurs, click here.