The story below is from our September/October 2015 issue. For the DIGITALLY ENHANCED VERSION, download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
It isn't all about the pastries; Chef Zeisler makes sure of that with made-to-order meals.
Our Daily Bread might be best known for pastries, but their Roanoke location promises to change that. With breakfast, lunch and dinner options (including on weekends), Chef James Zeisler, Jr. is making a big name for his French-inspired cuisine.
Zeisler learned many tricks from his father, the program director at Virginia Western’s culinary department. He’s been cooking since he was 16 and went through the VWCC program to “get the piece of paper that proved he can cook.” After a few corporate jobs, Zeisler met Our Daily Bread Bakery & Bistro owner Thierry Tellier, which propelled him into the ODBB family.
The Blacksburg store makes their pastries daily and delivers them each morning to the Roanoke location. Meals are made to order, with the menu changing daily depending on ingredients.
Fresh ingredients are obviously important to the chef, as is experimentation. “I like to try interesting dishes. Once I find something new and re-create it, it’s done. I like to move on to new things.”
Zeisler doesn’t stray far from the restaurant. In fact, he lives right behind it, ready to pop in at a moment’s notice. As with most chefs, he doesn’t have much spare time, but when he does, he spends it with his 7-year-old daughter. Depending on what she wants to do, they go hiking, spend time outdoors and visit art stores.
“She’s not your typical kid,” says Zeisler. “She loves lamb and duck. I’m trying to make her an expensive date so the boys leave her alone!”
- 10 oz. all-purpose flour (about 1.25 cups)
- 5 oz. granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
- 24 oz. whole milk
- 5 large eggs
- 4 oz. melted butter
- pinch of salt
- Sift the dry ingredients together.
- Combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender and mix together.
- Add the dry ingredients and blend.
- While blender is on, pour the melted butter into the batter.
- Once mixed, ladle batter into hot pan.
- Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter covers the entire surface of the pan.
- Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.
- Top with strawberries, whipped cream, and/or any other toppings you’d like to try!
Makes approximately 8 crepes.
Visit TheRoanoker.com/ODBB to see an extra recipe for savory crepes. It’s a simple swap that will make an entirely different meal!