While you may be most familiar with Elizabeth Chambers from the red carpet or her idyllic Instagram that documents life with her husband, actor Armie Hammer, and their two children, you may not be familiar with her greatest love: baking.
Elizabeth worked as a model, actress, TV journalist, and amateur matchmaker before founding BIRD Bakery with her husband. The family-inspired bakery serves up nostalgic sweet treats (think coffee cake and southern pecan pie) that have inspired a cult-like following at both her San Antonio and Dallas locations.
To say that the San Antonio-born entrepreneur’s schedule is hectic would be an understatement. She’s a globetrotting mama who supports her partner on every red carpet, premiere, and festival, all while overseeing two store locations and building the BIRD Bakery brand. Yet somehow she remains stunningly down-to-earth—if homemade baked goods are the key to her success, we’ll have a dozen Elvis cupcakes and some champagne cake for good measure.
You’ve held many titles throughout your career. What inspired you to step into the food industry?
I come from a big food family, my dad is in the wine business, my sister is a chef and I grew up in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother. My grandmother had a catering business in San Antonio and people always asked us for her recipes so opening up BIRD Bakery was a no brainer! It’s so special meeting so many people who remember my grandmother all these years later.
What goes into creating one of your iconic Bird Bakery recipes?
So many of them are inspired by our own family recipes! Whether they were passed down from my grandmother or a family favorite my mom made growing up, so many of them have a personal connection from childhood.
If you could have a meal with someone, living or deceased, who would it be and why? What would you eat?
I would love to share a meal with my grandmother who sadly has passed away. I’d want to eat all of the amazing dishes she was known for creating when she had her catering business in San Antonio.
You’re very involved with your team, even after the massive growth Bird Bakery. Why is it important for you to stay active in all aspects of your business?
Nobody understands, appreciates and knows your business like you do. There is no substitute for being present.
What do you crave in life?
Feeling like you’re actually making a difference. I crave feeling fulfilled and I do that by being the best I can be to my family and business. I always aim to give my absolute best in every aspect of my life.
What about your job makes you feel the most fulfilled?
I’m most fulfilled when I’m giving my best and not leaving anything on the table. It’s important to know we’re always growing and expanding, living up to our greatest potential whether that’s personally or professionally.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My mom taught me early on to never take no for an answer.
What’s been the biggest surprise or highlight of your career to date?
I’ve had so many many amazing moments through the years but I think starting a new BIRD location and watching it not just operate but thrive is incredibly rewarding.
Where does your passion/drive come from?
The feeling of success is something I’ve always craves. Whether it was in school and getting good grades or doing well in business, I love knowing we are positively affecting people and keeping them happy. Also my mom, she has the most extraordinary drive of anyone I’ve ever met and instilled that in me.
What keeps you up at night?
What doesn’t?! Mostly just being busy. I know it sounds redundant but I’m always thinking about how we can be the best we can be and better serve our customers. On top of that, just my to-do list! It’s never ending.
Whose career really inspires you?
There are so many amazing people who inspired me! 10 years ago you couldn’t own a bakery and be a news correspondent. I love that there are so many people doing so many things. Whit Wolfe Heard has inspired me because she’s built something incredible the serves such a greater purpose. And Oprah! She will forever be my beacon of television inspiration not to mention all the good she’s done. I also look at so many restaurateurs who have built out multi-location concepts as inspirations as well.
What has been your biggest opportunity or biggest challenge as a woman in the food industry?
Opening our original location was my biggest challenge. I had never owned or opened a restaurant; my background was TV and marketing but not building something from scratch. It was easy for people to discount me as someone who wanted a side-hobby which couldn’t be further from the truth. BIRD is a true passion project and I’ve always known in my heard it was going to be a success.
When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find a new road + switch gears to find success?
Hurdles happen every day. I kind of love a ‘no’ because that means something isn’t meant to be and we are forced to take new roads. Taking challenges head on is important and force you to perfect your business. There aren’t failures; there are opportunities for success.
What are you toasting to in 2019? What are you most excited for?
In 2019 I’m toasting to health, happiness and new beginnings. I want to take everything to the next level, potentially open a new location in Denver and approach each opportunity the 365 days ahead will bring.