As the executive pastry chef at the White House during George W. Bush’s second term, Thaddeus DuBois cooked for world leaders, dignitaries, celebrities, and political powerbrokers. Now the award-winning culinary artisan is dishing up tasty treats for the masses at the Borgata Baking Company located inside the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Alongside 182 gaming tables, 3,094 slot machines, five acclaimed fine-dining restaurants, and eight casual-dining eateries, the Borgata Baking Company dishes up sweet and savory grab-and-go fare throughout the day. House specialties include whoopie pies, éclairs, chili in a jar, and a New Jersey–style Sloppy Joe with corned beef, brisket, pastrami, coleslaw, and Russian dressing.
DuBois, Borgata’s executive pastry chef, discusses the concept’s May 2014 launch and how it’s been performing in its first year.
How did the Borgata Baking Company come to be?
It was a collaboration between mysel, vice president of food and beverage Becky Schultz, and the Borgata’s executive chef, Tom Biglan. We had been talking about this idea for years … and when the space opened, we explored different ways we could create something quick, fun, and exciting. That’s the Borgata Baking Company. It’s not your run-of-the-mill bakery-café with loaves of bread, but a place that’s bright, eye-catching, and ready to delight.
What has surprised you in your opening year?
The popularity of our French Macaroons would be at the top of that list. We couldn’t keep them in house. We were making 5,000–10,000 each week and had to purchase a cookie depositor to automate the process and keep up with demand.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of the eatery’s casino location?
The great thing is that we have a captive audience and a flow of people throughout our building on a daily basis. Plus, we’re able to capitalize on the marketing leverage of the casino. The biggest challenge is meeting some customers’ heightened expectations, especially given the Borgata’s reputation. It’s a daily challenge to exceed those expectations, but, then again, that’s also what makes it fun.
How does this compare to cooking at the White House?
I used to tell people that cooking in the White House was a prestigious position, but the work wasn’t prestigious. It was a cramped kitchen not much bigger than many household kitchens. And the largest crowd I ever cooked for was 200, which is like a sneeze in a bucket around here. It was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed working there, but the work could be mundane. At the Borgata, I’m blessed with so much more culinary freedom.