Based in Berkeley, California, Alta Mira Baking Company is a minority-owned, collaborative project between Chef Carlos Altamirano and Baker Francisco Barrera.
Carlos and his wife, Shu, are the dynamic team behind Altamirano Restaurant Group, encompassing seven neighborhood eateries in the Bay Area, including a Michelin-recognized restaurant. Altamirano trained under some of the Bay Area’s most celebrated chefs, including Reed Hearon of Rose Pistola, Bob Helstorm of Kuleto’s, Dave and Ann Gingrass of Hawthorne Lane and Bradley Ogden of One Market Restaurant.
Alta Mira Baking Company’s head baker and co-owner Francisco Barrera started his career working in the kitchen at Tra Vigne in St. Helena with Chef Michael Chiarello. Chiarello saw Barrera’s potential as a baker and introduced him to renowned French baker Pascal Rigo. Barrera went on to work with Rigo for 10 years, overseeing the first in-store baking training programs at Mollie Stone’s Markets and Whole Foods, opening Bay Bread in San Francisco and fulfilling wholesale orders at The French Bakery in Ventura.
When the iconic Vital Vittles production facility went on the market in 2022, Altamirano and Barrera thought it was the ideal space to challenge themselves creatively. Even as they dreamed up their new and expanding line of baked goods, they decided to honor the legacy of Vital Vittles by continuing to produce the same sandwich bread that was developed by Kass Schwin and Joe Schwin in 1976 under the Vital Vittles banner.