Founder of Pasadena's Old Town Bakery
Amy Pressman, 53, a longtime Southern California chef who founded Pasadena's Old Town Bakery, died early Friday at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, said her son Sean Weiss. She had esophageal cancer.
With fellow chef and business partner Nancy Silverton, Pressman was to open Short Order hamburger restaurant and Short Cake bakery this fall at the Farmers Market in the Fairfax district. She had worked at several well-known restaurants in the area since the mid-1980s, including Parkway Grill and Spago, where she was the assistant pastry chef to Silverton, then Spago's pastry chef.
Born April 20, 1958, in Chester, Pa., Pressman attended Boston University for a year before enrolling at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia. She moved to California in 1985 after completing her studies.
She began managing in-store restaurants for the old May Co. department chain, and then worked as a pastry chef for local restaurants before opening Old Town Bakery in 1989. She established a retail and wholesale operation there and later consulted for a range of restaurants.
Pressman, whose recipe for cinnamon buns was named one of the best of 1998 by the Los Angeles Times Food staff, began baking as a child. In a 1998 article for The Times, she wrote dreamily of her turquoise-green Easy Bake Oven, "a present from my mother for my eighth birthday that marked the beginning of my lifelong passion for baking....
"Presenting my loved ones and friends with delicacies from the oven has been a lifelong thrill for me."
—Los Angeles Times staff reports