So after our initial story on Fritz Pastry, we got more details from pastry chef James Gray about what both he and owner Travis Schaffner call his "amicable" decision to move on from Fritz Pastry. Gray, a Chicagoan who had a chain of five bakeries in Pittsburgh (not Philadelphia) at one time, says that he and owner Travis Schaffner decided to eliminate his position based on the economy and Gray's own desire to be more of a baking consultant than an everyday baker. He says the six months he's been at Fritz involved looking at expanding into bigger opportunities such as retail products which ultimately didn't make sense, and that "it's no secret that it's hard for small, boutique businesses in this economy. Bigger is easier than small, everybody in the business knows that."
While he came to Fritz as a hands-on baker, he says "it quickly became clear that I needed to step out of the role of baker and into helping advise on how the bakery could sustain itself." In the end, they both agreed that it couldn't afford someone of his experience and salary level in the kitchen and "that's totally okay. There's no animosity between us, and besides being here until July, I'm totally open to consulting for Travis in the future. We got along very well." Gray says he is not looking for another pastry chef job but wants to do more of the operations side of baking, and is talking to different people in the industry. As for Schaffner, he responded briefly by email: "James and I are on perfectly good terms, and he will be with FP until at least the beginning of July."