Recipe For Success | Q&A With Joanne Chang

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Family owned with locally sourced, all-natural ingredients from New England. Golden Girl Granola is the best granola you will ever have.  


JOANNE CHANG
OWNER- FLOUR BAKERY & MYERS + CHANG

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What was the moment like when you decided to leave your consulting career and make the pivot to hospitality?

Scary but exhilarating. I was not POSITIVE I would stay in the hospitality industry. I wanted to try it out and see what it was like. Luckily I loved it.

What was the reaction like from the people around you when you did? Were there any times where you felt that you had made a big mistake and questioned your decision?

Most people were shocked but supportive, including my parents. Most people also thought I’d come running back to business! At one point a few weeks in I was exhausted, it was hot, I got home late and I started to wonder, what have I done? I even tried to leave my job and try another restaurant because I felt the working conditions were too challenging. After talking to the chef of that restaurant I realized that all restaurant work was going to be very challenging and I decided to stay put.

You say the best piece of advice you’ve received was, “Flour is supposed to make your life better, not worse” – How did you refocus your energy to make sure you were always adhering to this?

I started making decisions that allowed me to focus on what made me start Flour in the first place- making people happy. So I hired another baker, trained another opener, promoted a manager, and made super clear what my vision for Flour was: making every guest who left the bakery happier than they were when they walked in.

What was going on behind the scenes to make you feel negative towards Flour?

The team was not executing the Flour vision in the way I wanted and it was very defeating. I was working incredibly hard and yet the pastries and food and service were not right and it frustrated me every waking moment (which was around 20 hours a day!). I realized that if I was not super clear on what I expected there was no way the team could make Flour what I hoped it could be. I refocused on being more of a leader and less of a doer.

What has been your biggest setback personally or professionally since starting your first business? How did you reset from this setback and turn it into a positive experience?

It’s always a huge setback when someone leaves you on not-great terms, especially if it’s someone you’ve worked closely with. This happens from time to time and I use it as motivation to be even more transparent and communicative to my current team so that if and when they decide to leave we’re all on the same page.

What/who keeps you inspired to continuously grow?

Christopher, my husband and business partner for sure- he’s always thinking about what can be better, how we can impact more people, operate smarter, and he inspires me every day to figure out how we can be stronger. My team as well- they all care so much and I love coming to work every day to see how we can improve.

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  • An honors graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, Joanne left a career as a management consultant to enter the world of professional cooking. She is the chef and co-owner of Flour Bakery + Café, with eight locations in the Boston area, and Myers + Chang along with her husband and business partner Christopher Myers. She is the winner of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker in 2016, as well as the author of Flour, Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery+Cafe, Flour, too: Indispensable Recipes for the Café’s Most Loved Sweets & Savories, Baking with Less Sugar, and Myers+Chang at Home. She is currently working on her fifth book, Pastry Love, All of My Favorite Recipes, which comes out in Fall 2019.

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