Meet Cong Son: General Manager of Packing


Cong won our Continuously Improving Core Value Award 

People committed to a life of continuous learning show up with curiosity. They’re skilled listeners and keen observers. Cong Son, our GM of Packing, is one of those individuals. From the day he first stepped into our bakery, Cong has been a dedicated student.  

Shortly after his family moved to Seattle from Vietnam, Cong came to Macrina in 2014 looking for a part-time job. He’d heard good things about the company from a friend he met in his ESL classes at Seattle Central. We hired him into the packing department. A year later, he became a full-time employee. His quick mastery of day packing, night packing, slicing, pastry packing, and labeling — the full range of packing activities— underscored his rapid advancement. A promotion to packing lead was followed by another to assistant manager. Then in September 2023, we promoted Cong to general manager of packing. Cong manages a staff of about 30 people. Over three shifts, they pack and label all our breads, pastries and other baked goods.  

Cong speaks fluent Vietnamese and Cambodian and his English is commendable, especially considering it’s his third language. Still, Cong is challenging himself to improve his English. “Now that I’m a general manager, I want to be better able to communicate with general managers of other departments,” Cong says. “Communicating with my team is easy. Many of them speak Vietnamese, and we work together every day.”  

Challenges stimulate Cong. “I’ve been learning computers in my new role,” he says. “Macrina is giving me a lot of support. Like they did by sponsoring ESL classes for me and other managers earlier in my career.”   

Cong seemed to be the only person surprised when he won our Continuously Improving Core Value Award. “Seeing my name on the plaque was a surprise,” he says. “I keep learning, keep building new skills, and taking on more responsibility.”  

That’s the attitude and work ethic Cong brought to Macrina and that has carried him into the ranks of general managers.  

Beyond his professional success, Cong Son finds joy and balance in his personal life. Making his home in the Rainier Valley near Columbia City, Cong enjoys time with his family. Depending on the season, you’ll find him spending his free time digging clams and geoducks on Vashon Island or squidding in Elliot Bay.  

Cong’s journey is a testament to the power of continuous improvement and the opportunities it brings. 

Meet Leonardo Barrios, Delivery Driver

Core Value Award Winner: Hard Working

Sure, Macrina is a bakery. We bake bread. But more than that, we’re a team of people passionate about food and community. Our employees, coming from all over the world, are drawn to Seattle for its culture, people, and natural beauty. While the allure of a job might be what initially brings them here, it’s the deep-seated values at Macrina that have kept employees like Leonardo Barrios around for many years — and that make Macrina a special place to work. 

Leonardo began working at Macrina in 2003 as a delivery driver. There was the café and a burgeoning wholesale operation, all based in Belltown. Leonardo made all the deliveries in a small Astro van. He worked closely with founder Leslie Mackie and Macrina’s head baker, Phuong Bui. “It was a tight community,” Leonardo says. 

In 2008, with business expanding, we opened our Sodo café and moved our wholesale bakery into the space behind the café. Scott France, now Macrina’s president, was just getting involved. For personal reasons, Leonardo stepped away from Macrina around that time. His bond with Macrina remained strong, and in 2016, interested in returning, he paid a visit to our new bakery in Kent. “The building was so big,” says Leonardo. “I was impressed. Scott saw me and was so happy to have me back. I felt very appreciated.” 

Today, Leonardo is the primary driver on our busiest route. His day starts at midnight, meticulously organizing and double-checking orders, making sure that every coffee shop and grocery store on his list receives their delivery flawlessly. By eight in the morning, when most of the city is getting to work, Leonardo is ready to head home, having delivered bread and pastries to over 50 locations.  

Originally from a family of cheesemakers in Chiapas, Mexico, Leonardo moved to Seattle in 1997 to live with his uncle. After arriving, he worked in a restaurant and took English classes at Seattle Central Community College, where he met Maria del Carmen, a young woman from Honduras. They married and have since built a life together in Seattle with their two children, now young adults. In addition, two brothers followed Leonardo to Seattle, and they see each other regularly. Leonardo also occasionally gets back to Chiapas to visit his family in Mexico. 

“When I moved to Seattle, so far north of the Mexican border, I encountered so few other Spanish speakers,” says Leonardo. “I’d be on the bus and see another Latino and say hello, just to speak a little Spanish. Many languages are spoken at Macrina, and right away I felt like I belonged.” 

“Leonardo is one of the most hard-working people I know,” says Fanny Alvarado, Macrina’s Wholesale Manager. “When he arrives, he sets a mood and tone with his enthusiasm and positive energy.” 

Kilts For Kids! Vote and Get a Free Coffee and Cookie!

Free cookie and a drip coffee for all voters when you stop by and vote at one of our cafes! 


Kilts for Kids is a charity event organized by the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) to support the needs of children and their families. Macrina joined in 2019 at the invitation of Manny Chao, Georgetown Brewing’s founder and avid RMHC supporter. We’ve been a faithful supporter ever since and we’re at it again this year.  

The spirited competition requires participants to don kilts and encourage people to vote for them. With a $10 donation per vote, RMHC has raised over $700,000 since 2012. This funding provides a crucial lifeline to families who must travel to access critical medical care for their children. RMHC’s offerings include Ronald McDonald Houses—a comforting haven for families with hospitalized children — and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, which offer a peaceful respite within hospitals. Additionally, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program delivers essential healthcare services to underserved communities. 

Motivated by our competitive spirit and a desire to raise significant funds for children in need, we are offering a free drip coffee and cookie (excluding our Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies) as a thank-you to all voters for each vote cast. 

Voting begins on April 8 and runs through April 22. Vote early and vote often! This is one kilt-raiser you can feel good about.   


Thank you!  

Our New Ancient Grain Loaf

A hearty gluten-free loaf made for bread lovers (made in a gluten-friendly environment) 

At Macrina, in particular over the last decade, we’ve been baking with more and more heritage grains. We’re fortunate to have a close relationship with the renowned Bread Lab and Cairnspring Mills, both located nearby in the Skagit Valley. The quality, flavor and nutrition of the heritage grains they make available, many grown in-state, has led to thrilling possibilities. 

One goal has been to make a gluten-free loaf that celebrates different grains without compromising on flavor or texture. Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, has spent months experimenting in our test kitchen to develop a loaf that rises to her standards. The result is our Ancient Grain Loaf. “This is unlike any other gluten-free loaf I’ve tasted,” says Leslie. “It’s highly nutritious, packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins, and its excellent flavor makes it ideal for open-faced sandwiches or toast.” 

Teff and millet, two ancient grains naturally free of gluten, add flavor and texture. Brown rice flour and finely-ground oats round out the grains, to which we add organic flax and chia seeds, olive oil and honey for enhanced flavor and richness. A long, slow fermentation process allows the bread to develop a semi-dense texture while retaining plenty of moisture. The bread has a subtly nutty flavor with a hint of honey sweetness.  

At room temperature, the bread has a shelf life of two days, but refrigerated it will stay fresh up to a week.

Creamy Risotto with Mushrooms and Broccolini

April’s lengthening days and blooming tulips hint at upcoming visits to the farmer’s market and dining al fresco, yet the persistent showers and crisp evenings make me crave healthy comfort food. Risotto, a dish I find appealing throughout the year, feels particularly fitting now. This straightforward recipe can be prepared in just over 30 minutes and is surprisingly easy to make. By incorporating half the stock initially, you only need to stir occasionally while sautéing the vegetables, then focus more as it approaches readiness. The broccolini introduces a refreshing burst of green and harmonizes well with the lemon zest. Meanwhile, the mushrooms add a rich umami flavor to the risotto, enhancing its overall depth.

Printable PDF of this recipe here.
Makes 4 servings.

½ cup olive oil, divided
¼ cup shallots, finely diced (approximately 2 each)
1 cup Arborio rice
5 cupes chicken or vegetable stock (you may not use all of it)
3 cups fresh mushrooms (chanterelle, shiitake, oyster, or button)
4 cups broccolini, cut into 1½-inch sections (2 bunches)
1 heaping Tbsp garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
1 cup Parmesan, finely grated, divided
1 lemon, for zesting

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat and then add the shallots. When the shallots are translucent, stir in the Arborio rice. Coat the rice completely in the oil, then pour in half the stock. Simmer for about 35 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, gradually adding more stock as the rice absorbs it.

Meanwhile, wipe the mushrooms with paper towels to clean them. Trim the ends and slice the mushrooms into ½-inch pieces. In a sauté pan, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium high heat, then add the mushrooms, sautéing until they are golden brown. Lower the heat slightly and add the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil, broccolini and garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes and season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper.

When the rice is al dente, fold in the vegetables and ½ cup of Parmesan into the risotto. Stir gently over low heat for a minute to marry the flavors. The risotto should be tender but firm to the bite. If it’s on the stiff side, stir in a bit more stock to loosen it up (it continues to absorb liquid even off the heat).

Divide the risotto between 4 plates and garnish with the remaining Parmesan. Grate lemon zest over each portion using a microplane. Excellent on its own, the risotto is even better served with a warm crusty loaf of Macrina Casera bread and a generous bowl of extra virgin olive oil for dipping. Enjoy!