We recently had the pleasure of joining Jen while she mentored a young student at Broad Street! Today, we are thrilled to share these photographs with you, and Jen shares more about her passion for baking and inspiring young children:
What inspired you to have children come and bake with you in the kitchen at Broad Street?
“Over the years at Broad Street Baking Company and Café, I have been fortunate enough to help provide summer baking camps through an organization called Operation Apron Strings and Mississippi ProStart Culinary Program. This is where I learned the importance of educating our next generation. Our youth is the KEY to our future. Without the next generation we will have no future.
Baking and cooking are art forms that I believe get looked over in the school systems and in our households. Today there are so many families who grab fast food or rely on the microwave out of convenience. Our kids have been taught to feed themselves simply by using a microwave. My goal by opening the bakery to tours is to give children, who have an interest or passion for baking, an open door. Even 15 minutes of invested time with a child can possibly give them an open door to their future.”
How is it rewarding for you? And how is it rewarding for the kids?
“This is rewarding to our youth because it is an opportunity to open their minds and inspire them for their future. It’s not just about just showing them baking skills. It’s about showing them so much more. It’s a chance to show them work ethic and life skills to better their future. Plus we have a blast baking together!!”
Do you have an earliest memory baking in the kitchen?
“Growing up, I had wonderful parents who inspired me in many ways, but no bakers in the family. This is one reason I’m eager to share with our youth, and the fact that it is lost in our school systems.
My few memories of baking as a child were when my Aunt Diane would send me family recipes and I would make them. This was such a joy, but I never knew I would end up in the baking world.
It wasn’t until I worked for Norwegian Cruise Lines as a server at the age of 19 that I realized people baked for a living. Wow! I know that sounds silly but it proves the more you can introduce our youth to the easier they will find their passion. I don’t mean just the parents. I mean all adults. If you see a child who is interested, then share it with them. You never know how you could inspire that child! One child at a time makes our future stronger!”
If anyone has a child who is interested in learning more about baking, are you still offering to mentor them? If so, how should they contact you?
“I will always be willing to mentor! My email address is email@example.com
I like to share both sides to becoming a baker. Whether going to college to learn the trade or learning the trade through experience. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with a baking degree. I also know many bakers and pastry chefs who were self taught and very successful. Everyone is different and it is important that the individual finds what best suits their needs.”
Jen adds, “Here at Broad St Bakery we are offering an intern program in the baking department. In the last couple of years we have worked with LeCordon Bleu Atlanta and The Women’s College in Columbus, Mississippi. We hope to continue to build this program. If you are interested in this opportunity you can contact me by email! We do our best to work with the school by following graduation guidelines.”
Thank you so much, Jen, for sharing your passion for baking with youth around the state. For more information on Broad Street Baking Company & Café, please visit their website here!
A special thank you to Caitlyn Sullivan for capturing these amazing photographs!