28-year-old pastry chef Ry Stephen introduced the “cruffin” to the food-obsessed city of San Francisco, changing the face of the city’s bakery scene. The pastry, which takes three days to prepare, is shaped like an ice cream cone, has become hugely popular in the city, selling out minutes after coming out of the oven, and making Stephen’s bakery, Mr. Holmes’ Bakehouse, a famous name citywide. All you need to do is search a few hashtags on Instagram to understand the popularity of the baked good of the moment.
The recipe for a cruffin, which can be filled with caramel, strawberry milkshake or Fluffernutter cream, was stored in a binder along with Mr. Stephen’s 230 other recipes, in the bakery’s kitchen – until last week.
A non-traditional thief broke into Mr. Holmes’ Bakery last week and made off with the recipes, leaving money, expensive equipment and computers untouched. When a bakery employee started working at 3:00 AM on February 27th, she immediately noticed that the shop’s door was open. Soon after, another employee went to fetch the recipe binders and found them missing. They immediately texted the boss, Mr. Stephen, who was still asleep.
Since the bakery has copies of all of its recipes stored in computer files, and the stolen recipes do not include a lot of important details, the robbery did not hurt the business much. If anything, the media attention it garnered has only increased the number of curious customers waiting on block-long lines, wanting to try one of the headline-grabbing pastries.
The San Francisco police are currently investigating the theft. Stephen does not believe that any of his employees are involved. He is similarly optimistic about his competitors in the city. Stephen does not need to rely on the cruffin for the success of his bakery, which also offers delectable treats like “California roll” croissants filled with salmon, ginger and wasabi. Also, he is confident that, thanks to social media, a cruffin thief who actually tries to sell an imitation product from the stolen recipe will soon be found out.
This is not the only food-related crime to rock the city-by-the-bay recently. Thomas Keller’s renowned French Laundry restaurant had $300,000 worth of fine wine stolen from it on Christmas 2014. Most of the bottles were later recovered on the other side of the United States, in North Carolina.