Keith Kouris, owner of the East Ends Blue Duck Bakery, has been named by Dessert Professional Magazine as one of the top 10 bread makers in North America.
Kouris and his wife, Nancy, opened their first bakery in Southampton in 1999. From the beginning, Kouris made both bread and pastries, but it was the bread that seized his imagination, and he started experimenting with European-style artisan loaves, made by hand from natural leaveners instead of commercial yeast.
Eventually, the bread outgrew Southampton, and Blue Duck opened a Southold bakery with a large production facility. In addition to Southampton and Southold, Blue Duck operates bakery cafes in Riverhead and Greenport.
With this award, Kouris is in very esteemed company. The nine other honored bakers are:
Richard Bourdon, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Housatonic, Massachusetts
Keith Cohen, Orwashers Bakery, Manhattan
Tim Healea, Little T Baker, Portland, Oregon
Eric Kayser, Maison Kayser, Manhattan
Aileen Semenetz, Hot Bread Kitchen, Manhattan
Ursula Siker, Rising Hearts Bakery, Culver City, California
Mark Stambler, Pagnol Boulanger, Los Angeles, California
Tissa Stein, Tabor Bread, Portland, Oregon
Robert Tell, FIKA, Manhattan
Dessert Professional is a trade magazine serving pastry chefs, bakers, chocolatiers, sugar artists and educators. The list of 10 bakers was compiled by editors Tish Boyle and Matthew Stevens.
Blue Duck Bakery locations are at 30 Hampton Rd., Southampton, 631-204-1701; 56275 Rte. 25, Southold, 631-629-4123; 130 Front St., Greenport, 631-333-2060; 309 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-591-2710.