You’ve probably eaten bread baked by Max Watson.
Watson is head baker/chef at Farm to Market Bread Co., a company that distributes to more than 200 locations in the greater Kansas City area, from neighborhood Hy-Vee stores to restaurants on the Country Club Plaza.
“We feed the city every day,” says the 30-year-old baker.
Farm to Market distributes to Wichita and Lawrence, too.
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“We like to drive local business and be a part of somebody else’s creative dishes,” Watson says. “It’s one more thing that helps us get up every day.”
Q: Are you from KC?
A: Born and raised. I take it very seriously. All the places I’ve ever worked have been locally owned and operated. People who live in KC know how cool KC is, but I’m glad we’re finally getting some recognition nationally. We’re a hidden gem that’s not very hidden anymore.
Q: How long have you been baking?
A: As long as I’ve worked here, about three years. Before that, I was a chef and a cook in several different restaurants in town.
I’ve been cooking for 10 years. I left my chef job and was kind of looking for that next thing for me personally, a place to go and collect my thoughts. I’m the type of person who needs to be learning something and not just doing something.
Q: How did you link up with Farm to Market?
A: I was a customer of theirs. I thought, ‘You know what, that’ll be fun. I’ll learn how to bake, and make delicious bread.’
It evolved from there and I kind of fell in love with it. They asked me if I wanted to help change some stuff and help take over and I said, ‘Sure.’
Q: So what have you changed?
A: We used to try to do everything all at once, and we make lots of different types of bread. Some are done fast, and some need more time to rest and ferment. I separate those two and create some different processes to give each individual bread what it needs to be the best.
Q: So, KC. Football season. Chiefs. What kind of bread do you “knead” for tailgating?
A: Right now we’re running a chili cheese sourdough with chopped jalapeños, and large chunks of cheddar mixed in. It’s a round, hard loaf. You could chop it up and maybe make a bread bowl out of it. It’s delicious on its own. That’s my recommendation tailgating-wise. We run it all season until the Super Bowl. That’s our football bread.
Q: What do you eat at home?
A: My kids (Haddie, Henry and Hazel) are kind of bread snobs. We don’t eat Wonder Bread at our house. My kids get the luxury of really good bread. … (They) love our sourdough.
Q: Did you win your wife over with your culinary skills?
A: I’ve been married (to Annie Watson) for almost nine years. She’s a Southern girl. … I could bread or fry almost anything, and that would be the thing that does it. I’m not trying to impress anybody. They’re all just glad I’m home before the kids are in bed.