They say when one door closes, another opens. That statement couldn’t be truer for New York pastry Chef Francis Legge, also known as “Chef Scottish Francis,” from his days competing on MasterChef. Once crowned “The Donut King” by Gordon Ramsay, Legge spent years making deliciously creative donuts. When the coronavirus pandemic caused his donut shop to close, Legge used the opportunity to open a new dessert concept close to his heart and far less represented in America: Shortbread Society.
What inspired you to open a shortbread business?
“I’ve been making shortbread since I was a wee boy in the highlands of Scotland; my granny’s recipe has always impressed anyone who tried it. After making donuts for six years, I felt it was time to commit to shortbread and carry on my family’s legacy with my wife, Christine, by my side. There are hardly any shortbread shops in the US and we have a very special niche, plus shortbread is the original cookie!”
What is the history of shortbread in the Scottish culture?
“Shortbread has been made in Scotland since the 12th century, but was refined into a luxury dessert in the time of Mary Queen of Scots in the 1600’s. Every family now has their own recipes and this is my family’s. I can’t wait to bring all my granny’s recipes to the table.”
Where can people find Shortbread Society?
We do secret dessert pop-ups all over the tristate [NYC, NJ, CT] area. It adds a little fun, mystery and happiness to everyone during these interesting times. It’s amazing to have such an incredible outpouring of support for our small business during these times. They now call me the ‘Bansky of Bakers’.”
What do you love about your business?
“I get to work with my wife and build something we are both passionate about and carry on my family’s secret shortbread and dessert recipes. It’s so satisfying working with my family’s recipes to carry on tradition all while putting my own modern spin on the dessert world.”
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“We do surprise ghost popups all over the tristate area and Jason Biggs from American Pie and his wife, Jenny Mollen, surprised us and showed up at one of our pop-ups and I had the chance to make him an American Pie Shortbread.”
What Cambro products help make your business work?
“Everything Cambro makes is incredible, the best quality out there for Chefs.”
What do you see for the future of Shortbread Society?
“After conquering NYC, we plan to start shipping and being able to send our shortbread all across the USA. We want everyone to taste the dessert decadence of our luxury shortbreads! Plus, other surprises we can’t release yet…”
Links for Shortbread Society
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.