Beth George owns Bagel-ish, which will open soon at 226 Main St. in Beacon.

How did you get into bagels?
My son had food sensitivities and couldn’t eat wheat, but he could eat an ancient grain called spelt. When he was 6, I asked him what he was missing most and he said a bagel, so I created one. That was 20 years ago. Once I understood the value of real food and what people can and cannot eat, I wanted to put out a product that most people could say, “This is incredible, and I can eat it.”

Beth George

You describe yourself as a “bagel consultant.” What is that?
It’s a self-created job. My bagel mentor, Frank Mauro, who just died, suggested I become a consultant. I’m an attorney but I built a bagel factory without any experience. That was in Maine, where I created Spelt Right. The person I bought my equipment from asked me to bring the concept to New York. Frank saw the experience I had building bagel formulas and running my factories. He had experience in the front of the house because he had run a chain in the 1970s. He thought he could coach me and I could become a bagel consultant. 

How many bagel- makers have you worked with?
About 60. Between 2013 and 2019, Frank and I worked on about 30 projects, many of them international. He would say, “This company in Paris wants to do a bagel program. You want to go to Paris?” I went to the Bahamas because a woman had bagel equipment but didn’t know how to use it. Now she owns the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Nassau. 

I started putting in a few stores here and there between 2015 and 2018. During COVID, people contacted me because I could train remotely. Everything is science and math; as long as you understand the metrics, you can adjust. During COVID, a friend of my husband’s also pitched my story to The New York Times, and I got a three-page feature. The calls started rolling in — hundreds a day. It brings me more satisfaction and joy than I could have imagined to see people thriving, although I wasn’t prepared to be an international bagel consultant. 

What is the science behind a great bagel?
It’s starting with the best ingredients you can and a flour that is as pure as it can be. Then the water has to meet specific metrics. That’s a formula that a water filtration company can come up with. And then time. Time is essential with any sort of yeast product. That means getting the dough and the yeast to break down the sugars and proteins in a way that you get the texture you want. 

What brought you to Beacon?
I needed a home for my bagel shop and training center. I was searching for what I consider the perfect downtown that isn’t too far from Englewood, New Jersey, where I live. Beacon checked all the boxes. It’s creative, it’s friendly, it’s dynamic and it’s contained. It’s amazing to say, at 60, not that I’m starting something new but I’m doing it differently. I thought Beacon would be a great place to bring my craft to the world.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Simms has covered Beacon for The Current since 2015. He studied journalism at Appalachian State University and has reported for newspapers in North Carolina and Maryland. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Beacon politics

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