Bao: A Private Debut

Tom is back in town! Or at least he is for another couple of hours before boarding his flight back to China. Over the past few weeks the team has zigzagged across half of New England talking with our partners in the community, finding new ingredients, and pairing our bao with delicious beverages and treats. Along with a well timed media blitz and the beginning of the construction process on our Cambridge location, it looks as if the stage is being steadily set for an epic grand opening in just a few months’ time.

Tom and Rosamond Hope and Main

Last Friday our friends at Hope & Main in Warren, RI gave us the opportunity to do something really special. They opened their doors to a select group of guests and asked us to make bao to be sampled and judged by them. Between Jhonny, Gerry, Jer, Clay and myself, we probably cranked out around 250 bao over the span of a couple of hours, with more than a little bit of teaching and mingling with our guests to slow production – not that we minded!

Jhonny Steaming H and M
This was also a test run for our new steamer, just delivered from Hong Kong

Bao making has always seemed to appeal to the inquisitive side of our friends and customers, and that evening was no different! Still, in all of our time together, I don’t think I have ever seen Jhonny and Gerry move that quickly around a kitchen before…

We did our best to recreate the Black Pork, Curry Beef, and Bok Choi bao, as well as adding an experimental flavor: sweet potato and taro. It was a hit! Our bao were paired with local favorites including Foolproof Brewing Company’s beer and New Harvest’s coffee. When focusing for months, or in Tom’s case, for years on making the perfect bao, it is sometimes easy to forget the care and effort that others put into making great food and drinks.

Washing down a hot curry beef bao with an American Pale Ale or sipping on Ethiopian single source coffee along with a delicately balanced blend of purple sweet potato and taro was an experience that encapsulated the entire evening for me:Family watching bao making Hope and Main It is a great thing to do what you love and constantly work to improve, as we have with our  bao, but much greater heights can be achieved when working in conjunction with the talented and passionate people around you, and celebrating what they do.

On that note, we would like to thank our friends across Massachusetts and Rhode Island who have welcomed us with enthusiasm and ideas for our bright future together. This first night of baos was for you. Don’t worry if you missed it though, there’s much, much more where that came from!


All Photo Credits to Bleu Grijalva



One thought on “Bao: A Private Debut

  1. DD

    Hey Austin!

    I stumbled upon Tom’s Bao Bao today at Harvard square and I was delighted that the restaurant finally opened!

    I heard about your venture from my ex coworker aka your sister (Alex?) and I signed the petition to the city of Cambridge for that. I’m excited, will come by and have a full meal soon!


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