Thoughts from Kim:
Shoutout to My Managers and the Return of a Bakeshop Favorite:
Pain au Chocolat
Running a bakery is not a one-woman show. The stronger the team around me, the more we accomplish. I am proud and grateful to have two managers who work every day to help hone and uphold my vision.
Melissa is the bakery’s system person. Nearly two years ago she moved from the lead position at night to a managing position during the day. She faced the difficult task of managing a team of people on pastries that she herself didn’t yet know how to make. It was persistence and a level of excellence to which she holds herself that got her through. For example, when we were forced to close by Covid and our staff was home, Melissa tirelessly and cohesively formatted our recipe book, filling in all of the details of our recipes, so whoever is making any given pastry will have the same information at their fingertips. She is also overseeing the backend coordination of our wholesale and online store orders, a more daunting task than it might appear.
What makes Melissa so talented is not only does she have the organizational skills but she has the hands to make beautiful pastry. She is focused and precise and pays attention to the small details. It is her hands that are responsible for the stunning viennoiserie that we bake and pack into your orders each weekend. Her lamination is straight and even, producing lofty croissants that shatter into buttery crumbs. It is the best that I have seen come out of the bakery.
Working in tandem with Melissa is Gary, the graceful ballerina of the bakery. For a long time I didn’t work directly with Gary, who ran the night shift. I knew from the product that I would see in the morning that she had a good handle on the wholesale bake, and appreciated from the amount of work that was accomplished that she was running a tight team. One evening, I was working late at the bakery and had the good fortune to watch Gary conduct the large wholesale bake. I was blown away by the seamlessness with which she moved through each tray of pastry, every move practiced as if it had been choreographed. She moved with a fluidity that only someone with a great confidence in their craft is able to do. Her station was clean, her movements were minimal and the product that emerged from the oven was spot on with pure beauty.
Through every challenge Gary is inspiring and uplifting to those around her. What I appreciate most about her is that she speaks up kindly, and with heart.
I have watched as Gary and Melissa have gained a greater understanding of baking and also how to effectively organize, manage and help run the business of the bakery so that it hums along pretty seamlessly. And doing all this while we all work in separate Covid pods so that they each manage teams that do not even cross paths!
Melissa and Gary, I see you and I appreciate you. As well as the rest of my wonderful hardworking team, Magie, Heejung, Brittney, Chuck, Olivia and Joanna. Thank you.
Bakeshop has always been my home, and within it live people with whom I want to work side by side. Over the years I have had numerous bakers that I count as family. Covid has deepened this feeling. We are a unit that is surviving and persevering through very hard times. We are in a continuous cycle, holding one another up, giving time to whoever needs to care for themselves, to grieve, to get perspective, so they are able to show up and find purpose to continue doing their work within Bakeshop. One day I will look back on these days and breathe a sigh of relief, having made it through, and I will count and appreciate each person here. And I will always remember the enormous support of all our wholesale and retail customers as the reason why we all do this. Thanks to all of you.
This week we are happy to be bringing back one of your favorite Bakeshop pastries for the first time since we reopened as our Secret Item: Pain au Chocolat, made with custom Woodblock Chocolate batons. We hope you enjoy them!