Many bakers who haven’t been to culinary school refer to themselves as self-taught; David Chiappinelli, however, who owns the new specialty artisan Bella’s Bake Shop with wife Tatyana, prefers family-taught.
“I come from Italian and Armenian heritages, in which there are significant cooking/baking traditions,” says the father of two-plus-year-old Bella, for which the 1,800-square-foot bakery is named. “I was around lots of homemade food growing up in Bedford and developed a passion and appreciation for it.” Spaghetti carbonara, yalanchi (Armenian stuffed grape leaves), and baklava were but a few items his mother made that Chiappinelli recalls with fond memory. “I baked chocolate chip cookies from scratch at five.”
The career path for the Mount Kisco resident to open Bella’s was not a straight one. A graduate of West Point, he was an army tank platoon leader in South Korea and then went into finance in Manhattan. “For 12 years I lived in different areas of the city, and I discovered all the best nooks and crannies and developed my palate. Each neighborhood had good bread and coffee.”
Moving to Westchester from the city to raise a family (David and Tatyana are expecting a brother for Bella soon), he immediately saw a lack of good coffee and bread. He also knew there was an influx of NYC residents moving to the county. “I wanted to open an artisan bakery to bring a refined NYC-level product to Westchester,” he explains. According to Chiappinelli, “artisan” is defined as every step being important.
His signature products at Bella’s are croissants, macarons, and sourdough bread. “These are challenging items to get right,” he says. He invested in a French Pavailler oven that is a combination steam deck and convection oven. “Timing is everything for bread. And no commercial yeast.”
Among other items on the menu at Bella’s: olive loaf, brioche bun, muffins, madeleines, avocado toast, and ricotta toast.
To pair with his baked goods, Chiappinelli serves Counter Culture Coffee, a specialty roaster based in Nolita. “I don’t like the bitter coffees; Counter Culture has a sweet side and is rich, chocolatey, nutty.”
Bella’s off-the-street location may be a bit harder to find (the entrance is from the parking lot side of South Moger) but Chiappinelli says it allows him to afford more space. “Eventually I want to do wholesale, and the bigger space allows that.”
Bella’s Bake Shop
69 S Moger Ave