"The Bagel Brothers"
I'm Jason Scott and I'm going to tell you how two Jewish kids from Rhode Island ended up baking bagels in Oakland, CA. It all started with my older brother Mark.
Mark and I are best friends, business partners but most importantly brothers. Usually, when there was finger pointing in my family, it was because we did something that mom and dad got mad about and one of us was grounded for.
In this situation, I’m pointing my finger at Mark, and my parents couldn’t be happier or more proud. This journey starts with Mark’s curiosity, love and passion for food. In that order. Mark started cooking 3 course meals at home when he was 10 years old. His early stage of curiosity with food quickly turned into love which of course turned into his passion. I always looked up to and mimicked him in every way and of course, his curiosity and passion for food soon became mine.
After both graduating from the Johnson and Whales University in Providence, Rhode Island, today we are walking the same path. We have been working together in the food industry for 10 years: running and managing several restaurants, working side by side as a General Manager/Chef/Sous Chef combinations, and now as the owners of the local bagel shop.
How exactly did we get interested in making bagels? It all has to do with our family’s move from the East Coast, out west. While helping to pack up our childhood house, we stumbled upon a couple forgotten cookbooks that, to our excitement, contained handwritten recipes from our great grandmother. One recipe, dated back to the turn of the century. To our interest one was an authentic recipe for a bagel with a starter dough. Commercial yeast wasn't readily available back then, so the every day home baker would use a starter dough, a dough full of natural leavening yeasts and delicious fermentation to create complex, flavorful, crusty breads. This is how we decided on our business name. Authentic bagels are based on the authenticity of our families recipes.
Our first effort into the bagel business started at the last Oakland restaurant we were working at together. While Putting together our brunch menu for Mothers day, we realized we wanted to add bagels, but unfortunately hadn’t found any on the West Coast that were up to our standard. Naturally we decided to make our own, relying on our grandmother’s recipe.
Building off of our grandmother’s foundation, we have added our own personality and flare to our recipe. We do not classify our bagel as a New York bagel or a Rhode Island bagel but ours have a similar texture and consistency inside and out. However using a sourdough starter, we’ve given our bagels a unique San Francisco taste beyond anything we’ve ever found. Using the sourdough starter is our way of marrying the two coasts we call home. If you haven't been able to tell so far the starter dough is what really sets us a part from other bagelers. It's what keeps us authentic.
After having fun with this initial batch we started to perfect our own version of the recipe. A year later, we decided to put them on the popular Sunday morning football menu. At the same time, Mark had just become engaged and was trying to save money for his wedding. To make a little extra money, we started selling dozens of bagels to the guests and regulars at the restaurant under our “Authentic Bagel Company” name.
From then on we quickly became known as "the bagel brothers." Our aim was to make a product that was unique and fresh, while blending our knowledge of an East Coast bagel with the San Francisco sourdough tradition. After perfecting our original bagel lineup we left our jobs as Executive Chef and General Manager and founded a wholesale bagel company. We began renting a kitchen in Jack London District of Oakland and started distributing samples to some local coffee shops and cafes. Shortly after, the craving for our bagels began to bloom. We now distribute wholesale to a loyal customer network of over 30 different cafes, restaurants and catering companies.