Q&A with Violet Jones, Pastry Sous Chef

A pastry chef laminating heritage grain puff pastry dough in the Los Poblanos bakery.

We asked our pastry sous chef, Violet Jones, to share some helpful tips for home bakers using heirloom grains.

pastry dough

Q: what brought you to Los Poblanos?

A: My baking background began as a child, where I would bake after school and on the weekends with my grandma, Linda. I graduated high school early and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu when I was seventeen. Since graduating, I have worked in numerous bakeries and restaurants in Minnesota, California, and now New Mexico.

I first visited Los Poblanos in late 2020. I was traveling the states in a self-converted van and wanted to get the best dinner possible in Albuquerque since I would only have one night in the city. Campo at Los Poblanos was highly recommended, and I experienced the most incredible meal and hospitality. I told myself upon leaving if they were ever hiring for a pastry chef, I would take the leap and move to New Mexico. Almost exactly one year ago, I applied and was hired.

Q: what inspires your recipe creation? 

A: I create new recipes based on nostalgic flavors, interesting flavor combinations, and what ingredients are available to me from the farm. For example, a recipe I'm working on right now is a riff on PB+J. Instead of peanuts, I'm using locally sourced pecans. For the 'jelly' aspect, I'm utilizing the bountiful harvest of concord grapes from the Los Poblanos property.

Q: What do you love about heritage grains?

A: What excites me the most is how unique each heritage grain is. They have different textures, colors, and flavors and each one shines in its own way. 

Q: What have you learned from working with heritage grains at Los Poblanos?

A: I've mostly learned how each heritage grain behaves best. For example, Sonora Wheat flour can be used like an all-purpose flour in baking and Danko rye flour has less gluten than wheat flour.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to make with heritage grains?

A: My favorite thing to make is our puff pastry dough (currently featured in the Apple Turnover in the farm shop and the Mille Feuille dessert at Campo). Puff pastry is a laminated dough with many layers and the heritage grains provide a beautiful color and rich flavor.

Q: What are your best tips for home bakers using heritage grains?

A: Choose and utilize each grain in a way that showcases them for what they are. The texture and sweet flavor of Sonora is ideal for cookies, croissants, crackers and bread. The Danko rye in particular doesn't form gluten the same way as wheat flour does, and as a general rule should be substituted only up to one-third of the all-purpose flour in a recipe with rye flour.

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