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Behind the Bakery: Meet LINE DC Pastry Chef Alicia Wang

5:30 AM EST – Adams Morgan

Early each morning, before most of DC has had their first sip of coffee, Executive Pastry Chef Alicia Wang makes her way to the LINE’s kitchen to kickoff one of the hotel’s most important daily rituals: croissant creation. 

Croissants, though, are just one of her specialties.

Peek into the display case at No Goodbyes at 7:00 AM, when her first bakes of the day hit the coffee shop, and you’ll find a spread that’s less like a corner bakery and more like a menagerie. Using regional ingredients, Wang leans into references from around the globe to create unexpected flavor combinations and pastries. There’s the Everything Bear Claw, a sweet and savory spin on the classic breakfast danish that’s seasoned with the flavors of an everything bagel and stuffed with cream cheese; Cruffins filled with seasonal jams (think: croissant dough rolled into the shape of a muffin); and, famously, her Cretzel, a German-inspired croissant and pretzel hybrid.

When she’s not deep in dough lamination—a process of creating pastry dough with stacks of meticulously-thin layers interspersed with butter—or nurturing her sourdough starter (she honed her bread skills over hundreds of hours during COVID while baking breads for friends and family on a farm in Pennsylvania), Wang is working on desserts for No Goodbyes, the restaurant’s signature buttermilk biscuits and Parker House rolls, and the spectacular treats served at weddings and special events at the hotel. 

A UVA grad (with degrees in Mathematics and Chinese Language and Literature), Wang is a self-taught baker: she worked in kitchens in DC and LA before building a program at the LINE. The big constants in her baking are a love for local farms (two of her favorites right now are berries from Five Sisters Farm and Black Rock Orchard for stone fruit) and a commitment to always mix things up with the seasons. Which is why the best way to get a sense of her menu is to check out the latest creations on it—every morning at No Goodbyes.

ONE FOR THE ROAD

What DC pastries does Alicia Wang have sweet dreams about?

Rose Ave Bakery

Located in Downtown DC’s Block Food Hall, Rose Ave Bakery was launched by baker Rose Nguyen in 2020. “They make flavors people wouldn’t usually see more approachable,” says Wang. “They use things like lychee, Sichuan peppercorns, Ube (which is like a purple sweet potato). She’s constantly doing new things.”

1110 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, DC

by glavin September 22, 2021