The Hive Bakery & Cafe is the brainchild of owner Sara McCann. The West Palm Beach, FL cafe offers breakfast, lunch, pastries and coffee. The menu, enhanced by local produce, features house-made pastries, artisanal breads, seasonal vegetables and savory cuisine focused on wood-fired rotisserie cooking.
Behind the scenes: the husband-and-wife culinary team of Executive Chef Jay Felton and Executive Pastry Chef Amber Felton have helped the Hive Bakery evolve into a West Palm destination. Chef Jay has created a savory menu with a selection of salads, homemade soups (green lentil and Mexican chicken) and gourmet sandwiches (on house-baked bread). Breakfast items include shrimp and grits, veggie frittata and an egg white wrap, while sandwiches include grilled broccoli melt and a lobster roll. There’s also a selection of white, red, rose and sparkling wines as well as beers.
The Feltons met in Chicago and worked in San Francisco before moving here in early 2020. While the pandemic put a pause on their restaurant plans, it also enabled them to get to know the area and recipe test at home. “All the training that we’ve had is great, but the key has been for his to understand specific tastes that locals like,” added Chef Jay.
Executive Pastry Chef Amber has brought her Michelin three-star experience to the South Florida eatery. Her specialties include Flourless Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Raspberry Cruffin, Hazelnut Date Twice Baked Croissant and “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Brownies — along with traditional and flavored breads and rolls.
Her flourless chocolate cake has become a local legend. Patrons can expect everything from hazelnut and date twice-baked croissants to house-made candies. Decadent desserts such as flourless chocolate cake (made with Cacao Barry Guayaquil 64 percent dark chocolate) can be enjoyed by the slice or as baby cakes, presented in beautiful takeaway boxes. “This is perfect for me because I get to do a little bit of everything,” added Amber.
For his savory contributions, Jay is focusing on familiar flavors that pack a punch. Think: truffled mushroom tartine, wood-grilled salmon salad, and a turkey club on Amber’s brioche. “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he noted. “I’m trying to make the classics that everybody knows with a small twist.”
Chef Amber’s road to the Hive is an example of a chef following her passion. “I’ve been baking and doing pastry since I was 15 years old. I took a food class in high school and became obsessed, with following recipes, with different ingredients, different methods and techniques. I love the discipline pastry requires and how it promotes creativity and thinking outside the box. For me, it just makes sense. It’s all I’ve ever done and all I will ever do.”
Among the challenge of the Felton’s move from Chicago to South Florida was finding a resource for ingredients that would enable her to continue he pastry artistry.
“There is no food service provider better than Chefs’ Warehouse. I’ve been using them for years across three different states, and I’ve always had great experiences with them. They stock the best quality products, and their reps are outstanding. Most of their reps used to be chefs themselves, so they understand the struggles we face, and because of that they are always available and always willing to help.”
“Being in a small city in South Florida doesn’t have the same perks as being in a major city like San Francisco or Chicago, so sometimes ingredients are difficult to source but my rep always goes above and beyond for us, constantly communicating, suggesting substitutions for OOS items and always keeping us informed of exciting new products. It’s hard to find that in a rep, and I’m so grateful for mine.”
Chef Amber’s mission has been to bring a new level of quality to the West Palm Beach marketplace. “A signature item we make at the bakery is called a Vanilla Strawberry Cruffin; it’s a hybrid between a croissant and muffin. I use Central Milling Flour and Isigny French Butter (two ingredients I can only source from CW) to make the cruffin and then fill it with a house made strawberry jam using vanilla paste from Nielsen-Massey (also sourced from CW) and garnish it with Chef Rubber’s freeze-dried strawberries (also from CW). Without those four ingredients, the cruffin wouldn’t be anywhere close to what it is.”
With that commitment to quality and Chefs Warehouse to ensure that she they have access to the very best ingredients, the Feltons are quickly building a name for the Hive in South Florida.
To learn more about the Hive Bakery & Cafe, visit their website.