Thursday, July 18, 2024

Gusto Bread formally becomes Long Beach’s first James Beard finalist

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Long Beach’s Gusto Bread, the Latin American-centric space that overtly overthrows Eurocentric ideals when it comes to baked goods, has officially become a finalist for Outstanding Bakery in the 2024 James Beards awards, the nation’s most prestigious food honors. It is the first time a Long Beach establishment has been a finalist for the award.

This unfortunately means that fellow Long Beach semifinalists—Chef Dima Habibeh of Ammatoli and Chefs Michael and Stefano Procaccini of La Parolaccia—did not advance to the finals.

Who is Gusto Bread competing against for the award?

They join four other nominees, one of the five whom will take home the award come June 10 at a ceremony in Chicago:

  • The Burque Bakehouse, Albuquerque, NM
  • JinJu Patisserie, Portland, OR
  • Mel the Bakery, Hudson, NY
  • ZU Bakery, Portland, ME

“We are so grateful for the recognition and to represent Long Beach in Chicago in June,” co-owner Ana Belén Salatino said.

Gusto Bread stemmed from a clay pot in a backyard and continue to be led by Arturo and Ana

Led by carb master Arturo Enciso and Salatino, the pair began offering baked goods out of their home and a clay oven that was in their backyard. Once they scored their brick and mortar on 4th Street, their game and reputation inherently changed: They not only began appearing rightfully at some of Long Beach’s best restaurants, they garnered national attention for everything from kouign ammans layered with nixtamalized corn—a dish that was on our Essential Dishes of 2023 list—and polverones with California walnuts to spelt flour biscuits and fruit galettes.

Shortly after opening. Food & Wine, the long-running cuisine magazine, had not only written about Gusto but deemed it one of the nation’s best bakeries.

Perhaps most notable, Gusto Bread is part of a growing tradition happening throughout Latin America—Panadería Rosetta in Mexico City immediately comes to mind—that decentralizes Europe’s (faulty at best) claim on baked goods, taking on fermentation and proofing techniques from their heritage’s own history and melding them with indigenous grains and ingredients. 

In November of 2023, Gusto’s brick and mortar expanded: Joining its beautiful parklet, the bakery officially pushed east into the neighboring part of the building, to offer proprietary, roasted-by-Arturo himself coffee and a bit more space. Americanos are replaced with “Xicanos,” fused with pilloncillo syrup and matcha lattes are layered with hoja santa. 

Gusto is located at 2710 E. 4th St.

Editor’s note: This article originally stated Gusto’s coffee was roasted by Rose Park Roasters; it is roasted by Arturo himself under their Cafe Cuate company.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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