After nineteen years of masterminding the sweet side of Wolfgang Puck’s dining empire, racking up numerous distinctions and awards along the way, pastry chef Sherry Yard is stepping out on her own. Yard is fulfilling plans to helm her own ambitious 10,000-sqaure-foot bakery at the Helms complex in Culver City, which famously served L.A. its daily bread from 1931 to 1969. Yard’s concept will invoke a 1950’s luncheonette, with separate spaces including a dedicated bakery with counter-service, a full restaurant serving lunch and dinner, and a retail area, all with a color-popping design by AIA Award-winner Ana Henton (Lukshon, Intelligentsia). The project, which seeks to revitalize the Helms Bakery brand after a 44-year snooze, will be run by both Yard and Sang Yoon, the chef and owner who already oversees both Lukshon and a location of his Father’s Office at the complex. So, what will Yard and Yoon be offering?
Among the wonders that will be baked daily are a “Classic Helms” bread along with traditional loaves, breakfast items like pancakes , waffles, and French toast, pastries including later cakes, danish, pies, cookies, and yeast-risen donuts, some sort of proprietary Helms Bakery-brand coffee, and ice cream and assorted frozen sweets. Lunch offerings will include sandwiches, soups, and picnic salads, among other “reinterpreted riffs on Americana pastry items and food.”
As these three L.A. institutions connect like Voltron to resuscitate Helms (where former Rustic Canyon chef Evan Funke is also due to open a pasta lab and Italian restaurant named Bucato), The L.A. Times reports that Yard’s long search for a replacement at Spago lead her to Della Gossett, a veteran of Charlie Trotter in Chicago. Yard tells the paper’s Russ Parsons of her plans, “I don’t feel like it’s my place and Sang doesn’t feel like it’s his. We feel like we’re bringing something back.”
Before Helms reopens under the two visionary chefs, a pop-up will grace Father’s Office in Culver City this January to preview some of their eventual output on a supplementary menu.