How Philly’s Busiest Pastry Chef Unwinds
Co-founder & pastry chef of the award-winning French inspired bakery, Machine Shop Boulangerie, Emily Riddell is one busy woman. As her days begin at 4 am, she has her hands deep in dough before most of us take our first step out of bed in the morning. Lucky for us, Emily sat down for a season one episode of our podcast – Precision Notes. During that podcast interview, we got insight into her business and some of her passion points — plus, many words of wisdom.
But, we didn’t really touch on what she does to unwind at home, especially with as much time she’s spending there due to the pandemic. Recently, we dropped by her place, masked up of course, to catch up and see her in her non-working element (we’ve known each other for 21 years. Old high school friends). From throwing clay in her in home studio to spending time with her lovable cat, Emily’s home time is truly her time.
Listen To Emily’s Episode Of Precision Notes
MSP: Your home is so warm and natural, why was it important to you to infuse so many plants and natural wood materials into your space?
ER: I have always felt drawn to the natural world, even though I grew up in the city I always spent lots of time outside camping and hiking. I spend every moment I can outside it calls me. I’ve always dreamed of living in an indoor/outdoor space so I’m trying to create that as much as I can in my little South Philly house.
MSP: You spend many hours a day at Machine Shop Boulangerie crafting delicious pastries by hand, so how does coming home and working with clay become one of your favorite relaxing activities?
ER: Working with my hands never gets tiring, it’s just the way I operate. The distinction I make between pastry and clay is that I truly keep clay for myself, in that I don’t ever sell anything I make. I only ever give things away as gifts so there is no pressure associated with throwing. Throwing is always an exploration, it has really become a meditation practice for me. I express my love through food of course but having to make money from it adds stress and I want to keep throwing as a form of play.
MSP: Vinyl records seem to hold a special place in your home. What’s one of your favorite records to vibe to and why?
ER: Well you know I’m an analog girl. Something about interacting with the record you’re playing gives it intention so you are listening to music not doing a hundred things while music is playing. I have so many special records, they all have a story or a particular memory associated with them. I always feel that music transports you and so I love going on those little trips. If I HAD to choose I would say Erykah Badu “Mamma’s Gun”. Just every song on that album, Damn.
MSP: Which book from your collection do you find yourself rereading and why?
ER: There’s always a stack or two of books on my coffee table that I’m into rereading at the moment. It’s usually a mix of pastry, art, poetry, and someone’s biography or memoir. I LOVE my books, I get so much inspiration from them. There’s always a book to help with whatever you’re working through.
“When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron Is a book that I find myself going back to read passages of, especially recently. With our world being so crazy her wisdom is always on point.
Founder & Creative Director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir has a deep passion for menswear and all things manly. Selected as one of the "5 Best Dressed Men In America" by Esquire Magazine in 2010 & as #GQFall 2013 Best Dressed Man. As of 2014, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ Magazine & GQ Report. Outside of that partnership, Sabir serves as an independent brand consultant as well. Reach me directly at SABIR@MENSSTYLEPRO.COM