I write and work from home and most of the time, I work in quiet, which isn’t really quiet. Right now, it’s the muted sounds of birds through the windows, traffic on my street, my dog Petunia, and the late summer buzzing of cicadas. When Chris Wilkins of Root Baking Co. stopped by my house recently to record, our recording also captured that natural working environment in the background. For me, this was the perfect setting for our chat because Chris and his wife Nicole are part of my “real life” as well as public life here in Charleston. Beyond the friendship, however, I have a keen appreciation and admiration for the products and the knowledge and even research coming out of Chris and Nicole’s bakery. Roughly 75% of their breads are made with grains that are grown and milled in the Southeast, and chefs from Sean Brock to Hugh Acheson serve it. You’ll hear Chris reference a lot of people in this interview, because personal connection is what drives his baking and his business, that passion and dedication coming through in each delicious bite. But what Chris won’t tell you is that he is a rising star in the baking world. He’s changing it with his blend of practicality, talent, and a hefty, hefty dose of putting in the work.