Tzurit Or was born into the world of Baking, but she never intended to make a career out of it–she still does not see herself as a pastry chef. Tzurit has lived many lives: joining the Israeli army, working for twelve years as a film producer, and creating Tatte Bakery inspired by familiar foods from her childhood.
Her mother was constantly baking for events or gifts for members of her Israeli Kibbutz. With limited access to grocery stores, the majority of food in the community was made fresh and shared amongst the Kibbutz. Tzurit’s daily childhood chores were to help in any way and need the kibbutz needed, it could be planting tomatoes, harvesting grapes or milking the cows, and of course, baking alongside her mom in the kibbutz’s main kitchen and at home almost daily. The first cake Tzurit made was a mousse cake, but her favorite was the cheesecake, The same cheesecake that is devoured by customers at Tatte and by Tzurit and her brother as children. Her mother had to hide the crust from them because they would finish eating it before her mother could even bake the cake. Tzurit had never seen boxed cake mix until moving to the United States in her 30s. Everything she had ever made or eaten had been made from scratch, it was always fresh.
Before it was a multi-location brick-and-mortar store, Tatte was a stand at the farmers market. Initially, she applied to have a market stand because she was trying to create a home and sense of place for herself in a new country. “In my house growing up, baking is something that you do in life, it is not a big deal,” it gave Tzurit a purpose each day and brought comfort. It just so happened that her self-taught skills and recipes were outstanding. With many cooks and bakers, sharing food is beautiful and connects people, and she did. After applying and submitting samples to the market, she could have a stand in any farmer’s market in the Boston area–her bakes were outstanding and had new flavors. Initially, she joined the farmers market to meet people and share her love for baking, and to find a community and connection with others. But it did turn into a successful business. One year after the Copley Square Farmers Market, she opened the first location in Brookline.
Tzurit did not need to fall in love with baking or pastry but to find a home in America using her skills. At Tatte’s 31 locations, among many delights, you will find the same cheesecake, chocolate buns, and meringue cookies that Tzuirt learned to make during childhood from her mother. After carefully designing each store, Tzurit meets the new team during orientation and opening week to teach and answer any questions. Employees who feel valued and inspired at work can make future guests feel the same way. A homey feeling washes over you as you walk into any location. The cafes welcome guests to sit and relax, even if they aren’t ordering anything. Tatte welcomes patrons to comfort, joy, and a sense of home when they step in.
In 2009 with just one store at the time, Tzurit partnered with Bakes for Breast Cancer for the first time. She immediately decided to share a best-seller to partner up with the fundraiser–usually, the halvah brownie or coconut meringue cookie–and has done so for the past 13 years. Tzurit was excited to help the cause and be a part of the community that Bakes for Breast Cancer creates! When you go to Tatte, grab a treat, sit and relax, enjoy the ambiance, and remember all the beautiful work that goes into creating the cafes and the delicious empire that Tzurit has made.