Judies is Back. Just Call It “La Cuisine”

Allan Appel PhotoBen Bloom loves bread so much he refused to let his all-time favorite, a French peasant loaf created by longtime friend Judie Saleeby, become baking history. He bought her recipes and the name and hired 15 employees to plant a branch of his Branford-based La Cuisine in downtown New Haven.

An aromatic ribbon cutting for “La Cuisine, Home of Judies Bread” took place Wednesday on Grove Street, where the Judies European Bakery closed earlier this year

Bloom’s son and business partner Brendan described his dad as a “bread fanatic.”

The elder Bloom grew up in New Jersey with Brooklyn relatives. He was surrounded by the heavenly aromas of relatives doing home baking.

He has known Judie Saleeby as a friend and business adviser for three decades, ever since she opened her small shop on Short Beach in Branford and Bloom and his wife nurtured their initial Guilford home-baking business into La Cuisine in Branford.

With the purchase of the Judies name and secret approach to baking, Bloom said, now every loaf and sandwich he sells at the new store and his catering business will feature daily-made Judies loaves.

“I didn’t want Judies to die. We didn’t want the product to go away. We are committed to putting it back on people’s tables,” Bloom said.

Without revealing secrets, he described the bread as “artisanal, with all natural and high quality ingredients handled with care.”

The Blooms accepted the congratulations of local officials including Chris Ortwein, the economic prosperity manager of the Town Green Special Services District, which organized the event.

“We know how difficult it is to open a new business, so we appreciate your effort to come to the Elm City,” she said.

If he’s at his kitchen at home and has a yen for a Judies loaf, here’s how Ben Bloom says he makes his “spring bread salad.”

Here’s the recipe: roasted asparagus, steamed spring peas, and, of course the most important ingredient, cubed up pieces of day old Judies French peasant bread.

You toss with a caper and lemon vinaigrette and top with shaved parmesan.

But be careful not to toast the bread hard like a crouton. It needs to be just soft enough to absorb the dressing, he said.

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posted by: JuliS on April 11, 2013  11:18am

this is great! i was so sad to see this bakery go. thanks for bringing it back!

posted by: parejkoj on April 11, 2013  11:33am

Woo-hoo! Great news. It looks like there are more vegetarian options on the menu now, too?

I will once again salivate at the smell of delicious fresh bread whenever I walk down that block of Grove. Which is often.

posted by: anonymous on April 11, 2013  11:44am

Great to see.

posted by: mlpavela on April 11, 2013  11:48am

this is delightful!

posted by: Fairhavener on April 11, 2013  12:56pm

My faith in humanity is restored, Judie’s peasant bread is back!

posted by: David Backeberg on April 11, 2013  1:39pm

Thanks for bringing this back!

posted by: Truth Avenger on April 11, 2013  3:59pm

Yayyyyy! Best peasant bread around.  I hope the hours of the new “Judy’s” will be expanded.  It was hard to catch Judy’s open sometimes. Welcome to New Haven, La Cuisine… We are looking forward to those delicious crusty baguettes with just the right touch of salt…..

posted by: lrnoff on April 13, 2013  7:44am

I was so happy to see the bin at Edge of the Woods full of Judie’s again! Thank you for doing this Mr. Bloom. Dinner at my house has been saved!

posted by: Teachergal on April 13, 2013  11:16am

Yap!!!!! Great news!

posted by: Fair and Honest on April 15, 2013  9:27pm

This is GREAT! Thank you Ben Bloom for bringing Judie’s great bread back to the city!