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After being named culinary director of Buzz Bakeshop in November, “couture cake designer” Maggie Austin LaBaugh has ended her relationship with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group bakery.
“Maggie was in a contracted consultant position with Buzz to revamp the menu and do a redesign of the spaces, and that’s been completed,” says Jessica Rapier, managing director for Maggie Austin Cake. “Because we have such a diversified business—we’re working on a book right now… we work with a hotel in Tokyo—we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire.” Rapier says their work with Buzz actually ended a couple months ago.
NRG owner Michael Babin says there was always “an element of open-endedness” to their partnership. “She was naturally having some business commitments come in that were pulling her on long travel and stuff like that, and the stint just kind of ended,” he says. He adds that LaBaugh actually worked with NRG for more than a year, even though the restaurant group didn’t release info about her involvement until last November.
LaBaugh’s photo, quotes, and bio were previously plastered all over the front of Buzz Bakery’s homepage (see above screenshot from February). All mentions or images of LaBaugh have since been removed from the website.
But Babin says not to read too much into that: “I seriously doubt that there was much of a connection in timing between taking that down and the exact date of whenever she stopped actively working [for Buzz].”
While LaBaugh is gone, her menu—including more accessible versions of the ornate cakes she’s made for celebrities and royalty—will stick around. Babin says there are no plans to hire a new culinary director.