This Fall the Director of Mid-Coast School of Technology, Bobby Deetjen, challenged all teachers to reach out and connect their classes with someone from their industry outside of the state of Maine. This is in an effort to further make a connection with the Work Based Learning Model.
The Work Based Learning model includes the alignment of classroom and workplace learning, application of academic, technical, and employability skills in a work setting, and support from classroom or workplace mentors.
Shelby Stevens, Baking & Pastry teacher, took that charge and emailed 4 bakeries across the country. With no prior connections, she was hoping to hear back from one bakery that would be willing to collaborate with her. Her inspiration for her connections come from a couple of her favorite cookbooks at the moment.
One of the cookbooks is Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang. Flour is a high production American style bakery based in Boston with 9 locations within the city. Chef Steven’s favorite recipe from the book is the Sticky Sticky Bun, one of Flour’s signature menu items. Pastry Chef/Owner, Joanne Chang can be found competing on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network.
Another inspiration was the cookbook Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski. Ludwinski is the owner of Sister Pie and is based out of a small bakery in Detroit, Michigan. Chef Stevens really likes this cookbook because it is a good Fall pie book, and every fall she finds herself reaching for it off the shelf. Additionally, this bakery uses a lot more alternative grains that she tries to expose her classes to. “I still get excited to find something new to work with and like to show my students as well,” says Stevens.
Both bakeries reached back out to Stevens right away offering tours and a presentation to her classes. Steven’s was happy to have both bakeries represented as they are in stark contrast, with one being a high volume production compared to a small neighborhood bakery. Jake Bruneau-Richardson, of Flour’s production kitchen for all 9 locations, graciously gave a Zoom tour of the facility and an idea of the volume of product they use on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Ludwinski was happy to show the students, via Zoom, her baking space and introduced her staff along the way.
Stevens says she is not done. She plans to continue to reach out to bakeries across the country to show her students what is out there with styles of baking, business styles, as well as various jobs within the industry. Eventually, when available, she would also like to take her students to visit some of the regional bakeries to not only see the facilities but see demonstrations and taste the products. She also would like to tie these connections to various post-secondary pathways to reach those jobs, including visiting colleges.