Michelle Halloran, Owner of Plenty the Bakery

What is Plenty the Bakery all about? 

I have been in the culinary industry for many years and have always wanted to have a small shop where I could focus on baking and have the ability to oversee all aspects of the operation. I came up with the name Plenty, because I wanted it to be small enough in scale that we could offer customers a great variety in a small footprint with personal service and attention.  

What do customers say about it?

I always ask for feedback and so far, we’ve had very positive reviews. We are lucky to have many repeat customers that we’ve gotten to know over the past couple of years and enough new customers to keep spreading the word about Plenty. We’ve been making our cinnamon rolls and sticky buns since the beginning and have gotten many “best ever” comments from folks that have tried them. A lot of customers also appreciate having a local weekend spot closer to home in the South Bristol area.  

What is your signature dish, a family favorite that most people cook at home, but with your chef’s own unique treatment of that dish?

It’s part of the Plenty logo, so I’ll have to say that cinnamon rolls are probably our first signature item and still a mainstay on the menu weekly. I started experimenting with and making cinnamon rolls many years ago. Although it’s something that many people make at home or pick up at the store, I always had requests from family and friends for them, so it was natural that they were the signature recipe to begin with. 

Where did you learn to cook? 

I learned quite a bit about cooking from family. My mother is a great baker, and so I definitely got some early experience from her at home. Both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks and I was exposed to some of their traditional Italian and German cooking techniques and dishes. More formally, I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, where I learned from some of the best instructors and had the opportunity to refine my skills. 

How long have you been cooking? How did you get started? 

I started doing some cooking when I was a kid at home, so I had an early start. I took a part time job cooking at a local diner when I was in high school and between attending the CIA for school and some of the time spent with my kids at home when they were young, it has been a lifelong experience for me.

Was there any other profession you wanted to be before you became a chef?

I’ve always been into the fine arts and continue to experiment with pottery, painting, and more when I have time. I think the culinary arts have been a great way for me to incorporate some of my interests in artistic detail to my profession.

How long have you owned Plenty the Bakery?

I opened Plenty in February of 2020, just before COVID-19 hit, so have been at it for 2 ½ years already.

What about the area inspires you?

I have a passion for testing recipes and developing them until they’re just right. The Finger Lakes area has a lot to offer in terms of local ingredients and a huge variety of culinary offerings which give me lots of ideas to keep experimenting with at Plenty. 

What do you like best about your job?

Easily our customers and community. The feedback we get from customers and the opportunity to give them something to look forward to on the weekends are extremely rewarding. As I mentioned, we opened just prior to things shutting down due to COVID. It took a couple of weeks to shift from folks stopping into the shop to online ordering with pickup, but our customers were right there supporting us the whole time.   

Do you have a “secret ingredient” that you like to put in the food you prepare? 

Butter. More seriously, although we do use lots of butter and quality ingredients, the secret ingredient is caring about what we make and doing things with quality, presentation in mind and plenty of love.

To learn more, visit plentythebakery.com. Stop at the bakery at 6459 NY-64, Naples, NY 14512 

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