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Everything is Rosie's

Rosie's Bakery owner and Newton resident Judy Rosenberg talks about her new cookbook, how she became a baker and exciting changes coming to her Chestnut Hill location

In an era where every chef and restaurateur seems to be looking for the next big thing and trying to expand, Judy Rosenberg of wishes she could downsize a bit more.

“I originally wanted to get Rosie’s out there, everywhere,” explains Rosenberg. “It’s kind of manageable with only three now, but still…”

Luckily, her daughter Maya and her son Jake are at the helm of her South Station and Inman Square locations, respectively. But it still isn’t the same as “being able to watch over by myself,” Rosenberg says.

When it comes to her new cookbook, though, Rosenberg has been there every step of the way. All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book is her third venture into the world of publishing her recipes and techniques, and she is very eager to share a fact that her publishers did not want publicized on the book’s cover.

The third cookbook is, in fact, a compilation of the first two cookbooks with some new recipes added. 

"I had to come up with another 150 recipes (for the second cookbook), but there was some room for deletion (of recipes from the first and second books) when I did this third book," Rosenberg said. 

This does not mean that Rosenberg’s latest offering isn’t full of original ideas and updates. The cookbook has 40 brand-new recipes, and ones from her previous two books have been retooled and annotated with adjustments and tips for oven temperature, bake ware and other variables that can stymie a home baker.

She added later that the information about the book as a compilation is listed on the Amazon.com website, which made her feel a little better about informing readers of what the third book includes.

Rosenberg thinks it is important for home bakers to know that even she, who was one of the founders of the stand-alone bakery scene in Boston, has disasters and do-overs in her home kitchen.

“A disaster is a learning experience!” says Rosenberg.

It’s hard to believe with degrees in French, teaching and experience at the MFA Museum School, that Rosenberg would go on to become one of the shaping forces of baking in Boston. 

Her supportive-but-anxious parents believed in her, though, as they financed her first solo undertaking, BabyCakes (sold through the famous Baby Watson Cheesecake store in Harvard Square). Then, in 1974,  Rosenberg’s love of waitressing, graphic design and desserts finally came together to form the first Rosie’s Bakery in Inman Square (not the same location as today’s Inman Square Rosie’s).

Rosie’s Bakery evolved into its present Chestnut Hill incarnation because of customer demand. Rosenberg noticed that many of her regulars at her first Inman Square location (purchased from Legal Seafoods’ Roger Berkowitz) were traveling in from the suburbs to enjoy her signature chocolate chip cookies, SoHo Globs and Chocolate Orgasms. So when the landlord for the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center approached her about moving her business to his buildings, she jumped at the chance.

“And it’s about three minutes from my house!” she laughs.

Fast-forward nearly 30 years, and it is obvious that Rosenberg’s parents’ concerns were unnecessary. Rosenberg is now running her small bakery empire with two of her kids; the third, Noah, is the assistant beer manager at next door to the Chestnut Hill location. In fact, Noah’s proximity led to one of Rosenberg’s favorite stories about her business.

“One night, we were closed, the doors were locked,” recounts Rosenberg. “And who should come knocking on the door but Steven Tyler (lead singer of Aerosmith). Noah saw that he was there, and Steven tells him ‘I gotta have some chocolate cake!’ So Noah got into the store and gave him two whole chocolate cakes. But Noah wouldn’t let him pay for them- remember, we were technically closed- but he did ask that Steven take some pictures with him in exchange!”

Now Rosenberg is the celebrity. In fact, she will be doing a on Thursday, Dec. 8th at and will be making several appearances around the Boston area to promote her new cookbook.

Another upcoming milestone will be the renovation of Rosie’s Chestnut Hill in March 2012, something Rosenberg says really hasn’t happened since the bakery opened.

“I really want to keep [Rosie’s] up-to-date. But I don’t want it to lose that feeling – everything still has to be warm and inviting and cozy and accessible.”

Cozy and accessible; just like Judy Rosenberg, her Rosie’s bakeries, and her new cookbook.

Wendy Schapiro December 03, 2011 at 01:59 PM
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Judy's fantastic partner (and first husband- how awesome is that?!), Eliot Winograd. To quote a recent email from Judy, "He is a bastion of support and tends to all the things in the business that I would not be good at doing." Eliot is a Newton native and Newton resident, a constant presence at Rosie's whose most important job may be taking care of the behind-the-scenes stuff so that Judy can work her culinary magic. If you stop by Rosie's, make sure to say hi to Eliot *and* Judy - tell 'em Newton Patch sent you.

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