The Baker’s Apprentice Project – Part Two
November 20, 2013
On Saturday a week or so ago we had our first meeting of the apprenticeship program. I thought I ought to begin it with a dinner at my home and Kera Carpenter, author of the program brought champagne to lubricate the event. We sat at the dinner table and discussed what will be done and how the program will work. Each of the apprentices had committed to work a minimum of ten hours a week on tasks assigned by me. We will meet every other Saturday to report to each other and on those Saturdays the apprentices will also get a baking lesson.
Further, they will be expected to work at Bread Furst during our first month so that they can experience an opening.
They are a varied group, Michael, a half-Moroccan television producer who hopes to open a Moroccan Jewish restaurant (a classic cuisine). Michelle, an outgoing Korean attorney. Violeta, an Argentinian cheese monger. A shy restaurant line cook, Maiy, who hopes to open a Cambodian restaurant. And Oan executive recruiter in his Fifties, a highly enthusiastic bread-baker.
During the following week I met individually with each and then we had our first Saturday meeting.
For me, as I told you, this is an opportunity to have help in opening Bread Furst. Peter, the executive recruiter-baker, went right to work to see if we could qualify for an equipment leasing program.
Bakeries are equipment-intensive. We are going to spend well over $200,000 on baking, pastry, and kitchen equipment. I had hoped to find some of that on the used market where food preparation equipment is generally sold with a fifty percent discount. But I have been notably unsuccessful so far.
Michele, the attorney, started visiting bakeries and food stores to learn more about what prices are being charged; Maiy began learning about point of sale (cash register) systems. Michael joined the construction team. And Violetta dug into ways of involving Forest Hills, Van Ness, Chevy Chase D.C., our new neighborhoods, in the evolution of our business.
Our first general session last Saturday was three hours long. It was a bread-making class, the first of others we’ll have. We spent the first half, however, reporting to each other on what we were learning. Then we adjourned to the kitchen.