A former chef and current line cook at The Commons Grand Rapids is launching a bagel bakery.
Grand Rapids resident Kevin Chaperon quit his job as chef at The Commons and took on a part-time line cook role so he could focus on rolling out a new company, Blacklist Bagels.
His first batches of bagels were served with brunch at The Commons on Saturday and Sunday.
Chaperon is a former East Lansing resident and Florida native who has been working in restaurant kitchens since the age of 18. He moved to Grand Rapids five years ago to attend the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. While that plan didn’t work out, Chaperon said he stayed in town because he liked the local food and beer scene.
He first worked at The Mitten Brewing Company starting in 2015 and eventually became a chef at The Commons after owner Beth Rich opened the 1970s-themed restaurant at 547 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids in late 2018.
Chaperon said he became “addicted” to bagels after working at a bagel shop before moving to West Michigan.
“I came to Grand Rapids, and not to ‘talk smack’ about the bagels here, but they weren’t what I was used to, and then it took five years to come up with the idea that maybe I should just make the bagels since I want them so bad,” he said.
“I started making them at home, and they were tasting really good, so I reached out to Beth to see if she would let me operate out of her kitchen, and she was very happy to accommodate as much as possible.”
Chaperon said he works part time as a cook and full time on his bagel business. He said owning a shop is in the back of his mind, as he is focusing right now on “making the best product I can with the tools I have.”
Blacklist Bagels are made New York-style, using barley malt syrup Chaperon purchased from Queens, New York, as well as special bread flour; then they are boiled before they are baked.
Initially, Blacklist is selling a few “basic” flavors: plain, everything, asiago cheese, cinnamon raisin and French toast, along with housemade flavored cream cheeses, including veggie, berry, garlic and herb, and spicy jalapeno.
Chaperon said he is working on expanding his repertoire of bagel offerings and plans to launch a website in the next few weeks.
The bagels are available during weekend brunch carryout at The Commons, which runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Bagel pre-orders can be made by calling the restaurant at (616) 458-2704.