Chad Robertson graduated with a dual degree in Culinary and Pastry Arts from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. During his tenure at CIA he met classmate Elisabeth Prueitt, and she would soon become his life and business partner. Starting his career with an apprenticeship at a bakery in Western Massachusetts, Robertson worked twelve-hour shifts pulling three thousand loaves a day. Together with Prueitt, he apprenticed with master bakers in Provence and the French Alps, learning the intricacies of working with wood-fired ovens, and developing a life-long interest in ancient and native grains. Robertson and Prueitt returned to the States in 1995 and settled in the Bay Area of California, building a modest bakeshop called Bay Village Bakery. While Prueitt created finely wrought French pastries, Robertson focused on breads, devoting himself to perfecting his technique by focusing on what he described as "three ingredients and a world of possibility: flour, water, and coarse gray salt." After five the couple stumbled on an available storefront on a corner in San Francisco’s Mission District, and in 2002, opened Tartine Bakery. The bakery became a San Francisco institution almost overnight. In 2006, Robertson and Prueitt published the Tartine cookbook, and in 2010, Robertson published Tartine Bread, a book in which he shared 20 years of acquired bread baking wisdom. The book garnered numerous media accolades and continues to spawn eager internet debate among dedicated bakers.
Robertson is currently exploring ancient and forgotten grains, both in the United States and Europe. He plans to build San Francisco's first urban mill, where he will work with heirloom grains. He is the recipient, with his wife Elisabeth, of the 2008 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. He has consulted and taught baking classes to professionals and novices in the US and overseas, and he has been written up in a variety of premier media outlets, including Bon Appetit, Elle, Food Arts, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, and The New York Times. He was recently chosen by Chow.com as part of the Chow 13, a group of industry leaders notable for "pushing the food world in new and adventurous directions."