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3 Food Guys Who Can Help You Eat Healthier

Your local butcher, baker, and produce manager have more in common than aprons— namely, specialized insider knowledge to help you buy better, pay less, and enjoy more.


The Baker

Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco

A bakery may not seem like an intimidating place, but it can be. “If Americans can’t pronounce it, they’re probably not going to buy it,” says Chad Robertson, the master baker and co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Take something like kouign amann, a delicious Belgian butter pastry, for example. “There’s no English word for it,” Robertson says. “So people are usually too embarrassed to order it.” Robertson is happy to bridge that gap and explain what the pastry is and even how to pronounce it. But at a bakery as popular as Tartine, you need to make the first move.

Talking with your baker can be especially valuable if you’re trying to stay healthy. Robertson has lots of advice, from being wary of baked goods made with multigrain or wheat grain (“It could still be packed with sugar and butter”) to understanding that gluten-free “doesn’t always mean healthy. There are also gluten-free Oreos and gluten- free Cheetos.” If you’re counting your calories, Robertson suggests trying out a meringue cookie, made from whipped egg whites.

Robertson’s Tips:

-Stick with places that bake in real time instead of a few big batches. If you walk into a bakery and the oven’s not on, turn around and walk out.

-Just as you look for certain fruits at specific times of year, fruit pastries and pies are seasonal, too. If you like apple or pear pies, wait until fall.

-If a bakery’s pastries are individually wrapped in plastic, they’re not fresh or weren’t made in-house (or worse, bought at a big-box store).

-Look for bakeries with long lines—not just because they’re popular, but because more customers means fresher food. If they’re constantly selling out, that means they’re constantly baking.

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