A hard-working baker takes a break to play dress-up.
by Mick Kelly . portrait by Matt Rose
Most days, Lisa Hoffman bakes. Bent over the counter in a hot kitchen, she might spend a few hours rolling dough for pretzels, bialys and big loaves of organic semolina. Or she might ring up customers or clean. On days when she doesn’t bake, she’s up to her elbows in the other hard work of running a small business, the Underground Bakery, which she started with her partner Matthew Hickman, in downtown Hendersonville 2009. “I basically live in T-shirts and crocs,” Hoffman says.
But she hasn’t always baked. In fact, after culinary school in Schenectady, New York, she spent a few years as a pastry chef at restaurants and resorts in Sedona, Arizona, and elsewhere in North Carolina. Then, five years ago, she made a move to get out of the kitchen altogether, getting her degree in interior design at Appalachian State University. But that all got pushed aside when she and Hickman started Underground, which puts a twist on the usual baked goods. They’re made with 100% organic flour that’s been milled in North Carolina, and the selection of breads is noticeably global, with items like Challah, a traditional Jewish-style braided bread, and brioche pecan sticky buns.
Cranking all this out to meet demand at the bakery, which expanded last year into a larger space on the north edge of downtown, keeps Hoffman hopping for 12 hours at a stretch. We decided she could use a shopping trip, which included a stop at The Sanctuary in downtown Hendersonville for a gorgeous, lemongrass-yellow Eileen Fisher top and sleek pants. Then, we found funky BCBG Maxazria boots at The Beehive, a downtown Hendersonville resale shop, and chunky earth-toned Sanctuary jewelry to top it all off. With her friend (and bakery client) Kelly Cook on hand to do makeup, Hoffman held her breath: her hair stylist, Cesar Vazquez of Divine Creations Beauty Salon, gave her blonde highlights and the shortest haircut she’s had in some time. “It just feels really nice,” Hoffman says. “I feel lighter. I feel like my hair was really dragging me down and I didn’t even realize it.”
Lisa’s hair by Cesar Vazquez of Divine Creations. 744 North Grove Street in Hendersonville. 828-696-2190.
Makeup by Kelly Cook of Luna Blue Studio. 828-551-1949 or LunaBlueStudio.info. Eileen Fisher clothing by The Sanctuary in Hendersonville. 828-698-2646.
Shoes by the Beehive Resale Shop in Hendersonville. 828-692-8882 or www.beehiveresale.com.
Shot on location at Divine Creations.