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Oral Histories

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Kristen Hall

The Essential and Bandit Patisserie

Kristen Hall was born in 1977 and raised in Dalton, Georgia. Originally a medical education fundraiser at University of Alabama in Birmingham, Hall began baking with her young children. In the beginning, Hall and her daughters would package their baked goods, drop them at friends and neighbors’ homes, ring the doorbell and leave. A friend christened them the “baking bandits.” In 2013, she applied her baking skills to a baking pop-up shop. Hall continued to do pop-up baking programs. In the spring of 2014, she opened up a baking booth at Pepper Place Market. That same year, she left her job at UAB to pursue a full-time career as a baker.

In 2015, Hall and her business partner, Victor King opened their first café venture, Feast & Forest, a collaboration that was a small bakery, cafe, and coffeeshop in downtown Birmingham. That restaurant closed in 2018. That same year, the team opened The Essential, a restaurant in downtown Birmingham. In 2019, the team opened Bandit Patisserie, a bakery, in Homewood, Alabama.

Date of interview:

Michelle Little

Cary Norton

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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