Time stops when Antonio Bachour steps into his Brickell bakery. It’s just before 9 a.m., and the din of construction and rush-hour traffic is audible even inside. A line of leggy, pencil-skirted women and suited men with strong jaws and pocket squares stretches across the dining room, past the ivory, chest-high tables and nearly out onto the sidewalk abutting SE Seventh Street.
Barely anyone pays attention to the staccato buzz of the kitchen’s ticket machine as it screams out order after order. The hiss of the espresso milk foamer might as well echo into the vacuum of space. It doesn’t matter that breakfast is at full tilt — the staff is fixated on the boss.
They hold their breath in fear, nervously watching as Miami’s best-known baker and confectioner surveys his domain. In a pale-beige Polo, thick-framed glasses, and yesterday’s 5 o’clock shadow, Bachour steps through the heavy glass doors bearing his name and takes a few swift strides to inspect an array of pastries displayed behind a chest-high pane of glass. He leans down, peering through the window to assess the gold-crusted croissants and glistening brioche buns filled with sweet cream and topped with apples.
But then he stops and furrows his brow when he notices a smudge on the glass. After receiving a signal, a white-aproned baker rushes out of the kitchen to polish away the blemish.
Then it’s back to inspecting the rows of croissants swollen with ham and cheese and the hazelnut-chocolate amalgam called gianduja. Some are out of line. “Straighten them up,” Bachour orders in a flat, unflinching tone.