Joe Belly

Pastry chef and musician Joe Belly is releasing an online EP of his folk and country tunes this Saturday. Elling Lien wanted to eat the mille-feuille, but asked these questions instead.


Why release your album online?

Easy access, inclusivity, and it’s cheap. The record is free online but there will be a limited amount of hard copies available at the release party.

How did you start as a pastry chef chef?

I started as a chef at the Delta Hotel in Whistler B.C. I used the money to pay university tuition, but fell in love with the work.

I was the head chef here in St. John’s at the Stonehouse restaurant until I moved to Toronto in 2001 to learn more. There I moved into pastry work and bread making. In Toronto I worked at a french bakery/bistro called Bonjour Brioche, where I made hundreds of baguette every day, thousands of croissant by hand every week… brioche, of course… mille-feuille, clafoutis, frangipane tarts and tartlets, fruit, berry galettes, truffles, galettes du roi, bouches de noel… all the French classics.

What food is most inspiring to you, musically?

Butter.

What role did food play in the recording of the album?

Making large quantities of bread and croissants while most everyone else is sleeping gets you to thinking. So I started thinking about songs and song lyrics.

On weekends at Bonjour Brioche I worked at 2:00 am and weekdays I worked at 4:00 am. Dough needs to be mixed, left to rise, formed into loaves, proofed and baked and cooled, and it can’t be rushed.

What brings you back to Newfoundland?

Newfoundland is home. It’s the greatest place on earth as far as I’m concerned, and the music and performing arts scene here is inclusive, not exclusive.

I hate the word exclusive… Who wants to be excluded?

There’s a huge battle: Food vs. Music. Who wins?

You need food to survive, and good food is a blessing, but would life even be worth living without music?

Check out Joe Belly’s EP release party and bake sale this Saturday above The Republic, $5. 5 song CD on sale for $8.