About Zoë

Zoë François | Photo by Susan Powers

(photo by Susan Powers)

Food Writing: I am the co-author of the best selling bread books: The NEW Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day and Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. In addition to the books you can also find my writing and recipes in Cooking Channel, Fine Cooking, Disney, Easy Eats, Mother Earth News and Cooking Club magazines.

Blogging: I created Zoe Bakes as a playground for desserts and a way to help home cooks overcome their fear of baking. I want to give people the confidence to make everything from vanilla extract to a tiered wedding cake. It is all easy with a little guidance and lots of how-to pictures. I also blog for the Cooking Channel, Food Network, General Mills and Breadin5.com. One of the thrills of blogging came when Ladies Home Journal invited me to join them at Ina Garten’s house for a Cookie Swap.

My history in the kitchen: Long before I wrote books or created my blogs, while studying art at the University of Vermont, I was an ice cream cake maker at Ben & Jerry’s. Then came Zoe’s Cookies, a cookie company I started as a way to earn extra money. I baked outrageous gourmet cookies in a tiny apartment and sold them from a beautiful vending cart on Burlington’s Church Street and to a few wholesale accounts. Once I graduated with a BFA, I traveled through Europe to consume as much pastry and art as possible. When we returned to the states, my husband and I moved to Minneapolis, where I found the world of professional kitchens. I quickly decided I needed more formal training so I headed off to the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Since then I’ve been a pastry chef at several Twin Cities’ restaurants. I’ve worked with Steven Brown (Tilia), Andrew Zimmern (before he started eating crazy things) and other culinary geniuses. I was doing what I loved. Rick Nelson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune called my desserts “endlessly delicious… the best in town…inventive and flat-out gorgeous!”  Most recently Mpls/St Paul magazine named me as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the Twin Cities for the work I’ve done with Chef Brown at Tilia.

Zoë François decorating a wedding cake

Teaching: I began teaching baking in 1997. I now travel all over the country to share my love of pastry and  bread baking. I also have a Bread Baking Video Class through Craftsy. Some places I have taught recently: Sur la Table (in several locations around the country), Kitchen Window (Minneapolis), The Cooking Warehouse (Atlanta),  The Cooking School at the Ocean Reef Club (Key Largo, FL), Cooks of Crocus Hill (MN), Mother Earth News Festival (PA) and many more. To find current happenings you can check my Events and Classes page.

Charities: I’ve been blessed to have a career that allows me to do what I love. I give back to my community by donating my skills to a variety of charity auctions in the form of classes or private lessons. I have been lucky to work with ARC, Children’s Heartlink, The Children’s Theatre, Second Harvest Heartland, Rein in Sarcoma, The Guthrie Theatre, MinnPost, VocalEssence, Share Our Strength, YWCA, United Way, The Playwright Center and many more incredible organizations that make our community stronger.

I live in Minneapolis with my husband Graham and our two sons, the best creations yet!