Meet the Baker, Steven Cianci, Owner/Baker at D’Orsi’s Bakery
Steven left Wall Street as a broker to follow his passion, baking. He took over D’Orsi’s Bakery, located in Port Reading, New Jersey in 1998. D’Orsi’s has been written up in the Star Ledger and New York Times for its breads, wedding cakes and pastries. I spent a couple of wonderful hours with Steven in his bakery to learn more about what makes D’Orsi’s special. Here are some highlights from our conversation:
Most memorable sweet while traveling?
Drinking an espresso in Italy enjoying the lightest sfogliatelle pastry warm out of the oven.
What banking skills did you bring to baking?
Everyday customers come in with exotic cake ideas they see on the food networks as well as the internet. I fit the customers’ requests into their budget by offering illustrated options that will satisfy the customers’ vision.
Describe the most challenging customer order and why?
When we first started doing custom cakes, I took an order for a tiered cake that gave the illusion of calla lilies suspending from the top layer of the cake in the air. I said yes to the customer but had no idea how to pull it off. We ended up fabricating a clear Lexan tube that suspended the top layer of the cake!
Who would you like to bake for and why?
There was a food critic for WOR radio named Arthur Schwartz. I loved listening to his show and using his cookbooks. He appreciated the history of food and pastry. At the bakery, our entire baking staff takes pride in our end product. Creating new items stimulates our passion for the profession, maintaining a consistent product which keeps our customers coming through the door.
Who influenced you the most in your career?
Many people have influenced me throughout my life, but my mom was by far the most influential. Her preparation and attention to detail made everything look effortless. She would entertain friends and family in her home and these times proved to be some of the best memories of my life.
What is your favorite dessert and drink pairing?
My favorite dessert and drink pairing is the triple combo of espresso, a nice biscotti, and a fine cognac or grappa on the side.
Where would you like to travel to next?
Portugal or Italy
For your last dinner, what would you order?
My last dinner hopefully would be spent with good friends and family. An all fish dinner with clams on the half shell, oysters for appetizers, linguini paired with a crab sauce, and then a blue claw crab eating festival with everyone around the dining room table (simple things in life).
At home, what is your go-to meal?
A medium sized rib-eye steak with sauteed dandelion and arugula salad.
What is your favorite cookbook?
Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz. There are many recipes that bring me back to my childhood and I enjoy reading about the history of the dish which always makes it taste that much better.
What is your favorite restaurant?
It is hard to pick a favorite restaurant generally speaking because there are so many different types of dining experiences. However, I love Biamontes in Greenpoint…now that’s Italian.
What is the most popular item at D’Orsi’s?
If you interviewed ten customers and asked for their favorite item, I feel you will get ten different responses. Our simple sponge cake with lemon curd and whipped cream is an excellent summer treat that is light, fruity with a creamy finish.
479 Port Reading Avenue
Port Reading, NJ 07064