Behind the Counter with Pastry Chef Ignacio Zorzoli of The Butcher’s Daughter

Nov 1, 2016

The Butcher's Daughter in Venice, CA

Delicious, flaky croissants. Crumbly, sweet blueberry scones. Warm, freshly baked bread. For most people, these indulgent pastries are synonymous with words like “butter” and “cheat day.”

If words like “vegan” or “gluten-free” came to mind, then you’re probably familiar with The Butcher’s Daughter. A self-proclaimed “vegetable slaughterhouse” with three bustling locations in New York and a new California outpost in Venice, the Butcher’s Daughter takes your cravings for a spin with seasonal, local produce and a focus on reducing carbon footprint.

One bite of their signature Avocado Benedict or Coconut & Cashew Pancakes proves this isn’t your average Yogi hangout. Their vegetarian dishes showcase hearty flavor that would satiate even your carnivorous brunchers.

This celebration of fresh ingredients and vegetables can only be accomplished with talent and passion. And the Butcher’s Daughter team is bursting with it. Spotlight on Pastry Chef Ignacio Zorzoli, who we sat down with in Los Angeles this past month to discover his recipe for a successful vegan pastry program.

For context, the first Butcher’s Daughter in New York doesn’t have an in-house pastry program. Chef Zorzoli was brought into the Butcher’s Daughter LA family to change that. With a French-trained background, Zorzoli honed his skills at Bottega Louie, Bouchon, and finally Maude before joining Butcher’s Daughter. Prior to the Venice location opening in January 2016, Zorzoli researched how to build a world class pastry program while also keeping it 100% vegan. This means replacing eggs, butter, cream… which is no easy feat. “Obviously I came from a very traditional French background, so I’m used to putting eggs and butter in everything. So there was a lot of R&D on how to reverse-engineer everything,” according to Chef Zorzoli.

Chef Zorzoli’s craft doesn’t stop at pastry. He, along with several original Venice team members, laid the foundation for this always-packed hotspot on Abbot Kinney. Building tables, painting the walls, no task was below the team — Zorzoli jokes he should have signed a corner of the restaurant with his name. That’s the spirit of The Butcher’s Daughter. Everyone’s welcome.

From the smell of the sweet Zucchini Flax Muffins to the presentation of the Pesto & Micro Kale Pizza, The Butcher’s Daughter invites you in. It’s food you want to eat with your friends, share with your family, and recommend to your coworkers. The stigma associated with vegetarian dining has been turned on its head, instead focusing on the fundamentals: comforting, wholesome dishes that everyone can enjoy. Best said by Executive Chef Richard Rea: “That’s why people really gravitate to this.”

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