We had the good fortune of connecting with Brooke Carter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brooke, how do you think about risk?
I’ve always fancied the approach T.S Eliot had on risk, which is the same philosophy that my dad has taught me throughout my adult life- that “only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”. In my early twenties I (like so many others) found myself too nervous to take risks, even the ones I so desperately wanted, because I had no control over the outcome. I think there’s a lot of safety in concretely knowing how something will turn out or simply just staying stagnant. We as a society tend to fall into comfortability. The thing is, without risk, we truly don’t know our limits and what we’re capable of. My life and career completely changed the moment I fully gave in to risk. I was 24 when I started my first farmers market, but it wasn’t until I was 26 and on a plane headed to France that I realized the depth of importance that taking chances has in life. If I hadn’t put fear on the back burner and jumped all in, I never would have gone to the boulangerie I lived and studied at in Normandy, nor the baeckerei in Northern Bavaria. I never would have met all of the incredible people I get to call friends and family. I never would have been inspired by all the different countries and cultures that you find pieces of in my baked goods, and I wouldn’t have taught pastry classes in Versailles or Whitstable. Taking risks is necessary for growth and evolvement. Risks give us the gift of opportunity. Does that mean sometimes you might fail? Of course it does, but failure only teaches us and allows us to refine many different areas of our lives- it’s one of the most positive things. Taking risks has opened so many doors for me, it’s something more than just a role in my life. Without it, and learning how to let go, I simply wouldn’t be the baker/business owner (nor the person in general) that I am today.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I own and am the sole baker of The Rosemary Bakery, LLC here in McKinney Texas. Everything that you find on our table stems from a memory -whether that be here in the states or from the EU/UK, it’s something unique. I think that’s a large part of my work and what sets my product apart from others. I want more than anything for my customers to take our baked goods home and create a memory of their own. Our products are more European in the sense that they aren’t overly sweet like the baked goods you normally find in America. Our menu changes seasonally, sometimes even weekly, depending on what’s available and most fresh. We source organic and/or local ingredients and are interested in proper grains.
I think I’m most proud of our growth, customer base, and product line. I honestly am so thrilled weekly to make everything from scratch for a community that loves us as much as we love them. It’s something that’s equally exciting and incredibly humbling. I am also over the moon to have so many customers that are either from other countries or travel often that buy from us weekly-hearing their stories about how our products remind them of a certain place makes me beam!!
Getting to where I am today was not an easy feat. I’ve been baking professionally for just shy of ten years, and have owned my own almost eight. Along the way I’ve encountered tough challenges in business and also folks that told me in my early days that I would fail or that they couldn’t quite see my particular vision being successful…yet here I am. Overcoming the challenges and doubts was something that took me some time to get past, but I was able to rise above it and let those parts fall from me. Sometimes we have to close doors to open new ones, and I’ll tell you-those new ones hold a lot of light!
I’d love for the world to know that this is something more than just a business to me, it’s my passion-my love. Each viennoiserie, sourdough bread, pizza, small pastry, pie, and so on is made with delicate intention and immense care. I want our baked goods to be something that brings people together, something that invokes beautiful feelings/memories/dreams of far away places. Or maybe, more simply, I hope our business feels a bit like home.
It’s not just my story anymore, after all.
It’s our story,
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ohh McKinney is such a lovely town!! I’d say it depends on the person and their interests, really. I’d most likely take them downtown to Layered for brunch and make it a point to swing by my two favorite shops-Ettiene Market and Last Art Gallery. I always love taking friends on long walks around the square or downtown area in general because there are just so many amazing places to explore! Late afternoon would probably include a nature walk at the Heard Museum, followed by a few appetizers at The Yard. Into the evening I’d 100% make it a point to meander over to Rye for a nice cocktail. For a day trip I’d probably head to Denton to show off some of my favorite places from my youth like Recycled Books before having a picnic by the courthouse. I also love taking people to the DMA or getting tickets to other cool experiences around DFW like candlelight performances or special evenings at different venues. And, obviously, I’d make sure this ended on a Saturday so that whoever was visiting could stock up on proper pastry/bread before heading home! One thing I love about McKinney is that the downtown area is so close-knit and this really is a town focused on community. It’s something magical, I swear.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Truth is there are SO MANY people around the globe that deserve recognition in my story. From just crossing paths and chatting over a pastry in someone’s bakery to the folks at my own market, my list is so dang long!! Most certainly I’d love to shoutout my family and close friends/fellow business owners-they have been by my side and show up for me continually. I can’t thank them enough for all that they are and all that they do, particularly my mom and my stepdad. I’d also love to shoutout the folks in France and Germany that took me in and taught me far more than I could ever express-I wouldn’t be the baker I am today without their mentorship and friendship. The farmers/vendors/managers of the McKinney Farmers Market that work so hard, alongside every single customer that waits so patiently in our line, deserve some serious recognition as well.
To all the folks out there-you know who you are-thank you for being part of my journey, I couldn’t do this without you!