Thomas Keller Recruits Master Baker Ben Hershberger

Chocolate cherry sourdough. Olive walnut sourdough. Rosemary bread.

Pumpkin bread. Sun-dried tomato bread.

Is your mouth watering yet?

These are just a few examples that illustrate why The Phoenician's master baker Ben Hershberger has gained a following for his outstanding artisanal breads, which he bakes daily for Il Terrazzo, Windows on the Green, in-room dining, and the banquet department at the resort, and also sells every Saturday at Scottsdale's Old Town Farmer's Market.

Soon, though, Hershberger will be leaving the Valley to go work for Thomas Keller, the most celebrated chef in America.

"It's a great opportunity," Hershberger says, explaining that his new position in New York City will involve making bread for the famed French Laundry chef's Big Apple properties, Per Se and Bouchon Bakery.

He just gave notice to his employer, and plans to stay in town through February. His official start date for the new gig is March 15.

Hershberger will undoubtedly be missed by local food fanatics, who flock to the farmers market to buy his freshly baked loaves every week (he always sells out, naturally).

This coming weekend, he will be taking bread orders for the following Saturday, which may be his last. However, he adds that The Phoenician is giving serious consideration to continuing the farmers market bread sales running after he leaves.

Let's hope they keep the chocolate cherry sourdough.

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