Christina Tosi is famous for the imaginative creations she serves at the 10 Milk Bar bakeries she owns across the US and Canada. They have imaginative names, like compost cookies, cereal milk, and crack pie.
She says her love of baking goes back to her childhood.
“I grew up amongst matriarchs: grandmas and moms and aunts that love to cook and love to bake, so the kitchen was a big part of my upbringing,” Tosi recently told Business Insider during an interview at the Kellogg’s Cafe in Times Square, where she created a menu of inventive cereals last year. “Baked goods were sort of a vehicle for nurturing and care and love, and that’s [why] my happy place is in the kitchen baking.”
After culinary school, she started working with Momofuku’s David Chang, helping him create a dessert menu for his restaurants. Chang sensed that Tosi needed a project she could channel her energy into even further.
She opened Milk Bar in 2008. Tosi has since won two James Beard Awards and has written two cookbooks that explain how to make the Milk Bar treats that have become cult favorites.
“It’s been a wild ride,” Tosi said. “I was just staying true to who I was.”
One of the first items put on the menu at Milk Bar was an ice cream-like dessert called cereal milk. Tosi had created cereal milk as a type of panna cotta for Momofuku back in 2006.
“I was trying to make a flavor of milk that was delicious and interesting, but was more than milk,” she said.