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G Force

Keeping her eye on the pie

(Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)
By Peggy Hernandez
Globe Correspondent / February 16, 2011

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Q. Why is the Boston cream pie a challenge?

A. It’s always about how to maximize the amount of custard. Places are wimpy on the custard. My challenge was to make the cake more interesting. I hollow out the cake, fill it with custard, and then put the hollowed-out squares on top because they hold more chocolate when it’s poured over the top.

Q. What happened after Food Network called in April?

A. They called once or twice a week with questions or sent me e-mails. Then they wanted a casting tape. A good friend, a freelance director, bailed me out.

Q. You still had no idea, though, what they wanted?

A. No. Finally, in June, they said, “We love your Boston cream pie. We would like you to do a demo for us. The producers will contact you with production dates.’’ I told them we weren’t available from September through October. We were expecting our son to arrive.

Q. You adopted a son, Dominic, during this process, so everything happened at once.

A. We started the adoption process three years ago. Last year, we got matched with Dominic, who was born in Korea. We were told he would arrive in October or November. So we decided to open the Newton Highlands place in July. We opened on a Monday and got a call on Tuesday that he was arriving Thursday.

Q. How has it been juggling a 19-month-old and two locations?

A. I have a great team at Bread & Chocolate of about a dozen people. I took two weeks off after Dominic arrived. They said, “Give us the keys and don’t worry.’’ Now my husband, Steve, and I split days so we have a parent at home. I’m here five long days. Dominic has changed my life. It’s bittersweet because I wish I could spend more time with my son and mentoring my team.

Q. Why is mentoring important to you?

A. I didn’t have a mentor or professional contacts when we started. Mentoring is a commitment I make to young people we hire regardless of how long they stay. They should leave knowing more than when they came.

Q. Did you bake on TV at one of your shops?

A. We filmed Dec. 7 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. I went with my assistants. I could invite family and friends. I was speaking to the crowd, saying, “Now we’re going to make the cake,’’ and suddenly I looked up and Bobby Flay was there. It was a blur of frenzied activity. I have no idea what I did. I’ll be just as surprised as the viewers.

Q. Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery won her throwdown with Bobby Flay in 2007. She says she knew him already. Did you?

A. No. This was my first brush with a celebrity chef. I’ve never even met Joanne Chang.

Q. Do you think appearing on the show will change your business?

A. We’re going to work very hard so this doesn’t change the level of service and attention we give our customers. I hope it will propel our growth a little faster.

Q. What does your team think about your TV appearance?

A. When I hire young chefs, I tell them, “We’re not here to get famous, we’re not here to be celebrity chefs or compete on cooking shows on the Food Network. We’re here to be the best neighborhood bakery possible.’’ Now they laugh at me.

Interview has been condensed and edited. Peggy Hernandez can be reached at mphernan1@gmail.com.

WHO
Eunice Feller
WHAT
Feller, 43, a 2006 graduate of Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, will appear on “Throwdown! With Bobby Flay’’ on March 9, at 8:30 p.m. on the Food Network. The dueling dish: Boston cream pie. Feller has tweaked the state’s official dessert by infusing the custard with thyme and orange, then bathing the cake in a dark chocolate ganache. She and her husband, Steve, live in Newton, where they own and operate Bread & Chocolate Bakery Cafes in Newtonville and Newton Highlands.