Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
The purpose of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is to bring together members of the Guild and within the Artisan Baking Community and engage in diversity outreach initiatives. The committee meets regularly to discuss and create collaborations on both the promised and new initiatives that support the goal of enhancing the Guild's diversity, inclusion and equity.
Bio: Jessica Eng recently graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a B.S. in Baking & Pastry Arts and Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship in 2020. As a native to Queens, New York, she has been working through kitchens across NYC, including Gotham Bar & Grill, Orwasher’s Bakery, and L’imprimerie. Jessica was initially able to step foot into the industry while attending Food and Finance High School, a public NYC technical school, with 98% of the school made up of minority students. She has been involved with the Food Education Fund (FEF), the school’s non-profit organization that provides students with job opportunities in the food industry through equity and continues to work closely with FEF and their students. She is also an alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program, another non-profit that helps inner city youth enter the food industry through volunteering and training programs. Later on, Jessica worked with Heritage Radio Network and WNYC for several projects to report on intersectionality in food and sexism/gender disparities in kitchens that she was exposed to while pursuing her passion for bread. Her goal is to continue learning as a baker on how to use food as a tool for local and systemic change, focusing on education and accessibility through socio-economic equality in the industry.
Purpose Statement: Coming from a family of immigrants, the cultural barriers they faced when they came to America made me realize the true power that food has for change and bridging social, political, and cultural gaps. My hope is that we are able to foster an environment that is a safe space for those who are underrepresented to make way for a true seat at the table. I also always felt that parts of the baking and culinary industry had a sense of exclusivity. With this, I am looking forward to working together towards creating an environment in this field that is more accessible, equitable, and empowering for BIPOC through true visibility and dedication to providing education and opportunity for all communities.
Bio: Veronica Herico is owner and head baker of Pane di Vero, a Sonoma County-based micro bakery specializing in artisan style rustic breads. She has worked as a volunteer at Central Milling’s Artisan Baking Center for more than two years under master baker Craig Ponsford, and received formal training at the San Francisco Baking Institute. Her passion for bread baking began in 2017 after quitting her corporate job to backpack through Europe, South East Asia and South America during she which worked at farms, food markets and cafes in Italy and Chile, explored local food cultures from east to west, and met many amazing people that taught her the importance of preserving precious food traditions. Prior to that she worked as a senior account manager and consultant at a global communications agency based out of San Francisco. Veronica also has her bachelors in Political Science and Mandarin Chinese Language from UC Davis.
Purpose Statement – Really excited to be a part of this committee. From the start of my journey as a bread baker I was very much aware of the lack of inclusivity within this industry, but my love for it continued, so it is really meaningful to me to now have access to a platform through which I can help activate the change I wish to see. Here to especially elevate the voices and influence of women of color in this industry, as they too often get forgotten or unnoticed.
Bio: An alumni of Johnson & Wales University, Shala Irby graduated with a B.A. in Baking and Pastry Arts in 2017. During school, she gained experience
through the award-winning venture, Gracie’s and Ellie’s of Providence, and the fast growing enterprise, Bellegarde Bakery of New Orleans. She later took her passion for bread baking to Clear
Flour Bread in Brookline, MA. There she continues her education by developing new recipes and perfecting the breads Clear Flour has produced for more than 30 years.
Purpose Statement: Artisan bread is something I missed out on growing up in a Black and lower middle class family in the Midwest. As a part of this committee I wish to represent and serve as a role model for aspiring bakers of color. With everyone’s help I hope to plant a seed and not only increase the presence of BIPOC in our field, but to help Black youth participate in the communality of bread and experience the passion that comes with consuming food prepared with care and health in mind.
Bio: Andrew Janjigian (@wordloaf on Instagram) was Cook’s Illustrated magazine and America’s Test Kitchen’s resident breadhead for 11 years. He now publishes his own email newsletter on bread baking at http://wordloaf.substack.com. He is a regular bread baking instructor at King Arthur Baking Company in Norwich, VT and Burlington, WA, and has taught at Central Milling's Artisan Baking Center and The Kneading Conference in Skowhegan, ME. He’s also been an organic chemist in biotech and a line cook at restaurants in New York City, Boston, and Martha’s Vineyard. He has a Master’s in biology from Harvard, where he researched low-tech mushroom cultivation methods. He resides in Cambridge, MA.
Purpose Statement: A more inclusive and diverse BBGA—both in terms of leadership and membership—will mean a better organization, better bread, and ultimately a better world. I’d like to help foster that however I can.
Bio: Jackie Lee is the owner and baker of The Right Dough, a cottage operated micro-bakery located in West Oakland. She specializes in wholesome and hearty German-style breads and handcrafted, artisanal breads. She is an SF project manager-turned-bread baker, who has been fascinated with food for over a decade. She became interested in bread baking in 2009 after seeing her mother-in-law bake bread in her backyard wood-fired oven. Since then, she became focused on making bread that her German husband can’t find and making artisanal food. In 2018, she deciding to take her passion for bread to the next level and became a dedicated volunteer at the Artisan Baking Center in Petaluma, CA. She was later accepted to the school’s internship program where she focused on breads under the tutelage of Master Baker, Craig Ponsford, and some of the finest minds in the world. She has also assisted the 2020 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie US Team, instructed culinary classes in Petaluma, CA, and contributed to the book “Flavors of Oakland” which features her signature handmade potstickers. Jackie is an avid farm-to-table gardener, a foodie, and is a Bread Bakers Guild of America Certified Bread Baker.
Purpose Statement: Bread is something that is fundamentally found in almost every culture around the world in one shape or another. It is life, it is political, it has the ability to bring people together, and it has the ability to teach us to use our hands to create something empowering.
As an Asian woman in the Bay Area, I am often shielded from a lot of the daily injustices because of living in one of the most diverse cities in the country. I have been nurtured by the people of my surroundings but it doesn’t mean that injustice does not exist.
I trust that through education and the spirit of community we can help bridge the gaps caused by discrimination and help empower people. We are not just bakers. We have the ability to reach out to others beyond our specialization and spread our knowledge to build community linkages through food.
As a member of this committee, I look forward to learning how we can help our guild evolve through the ever-changing times through flour, water, salt, and sometimes yeast.
Bio: Kristen Lopez is the Executive Bread Chef for Facebook, overseeing the entire company’s in-house bread program. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Baking & Pastry from Johnson & Wales University in 2013, Kristen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to bake bread at Bouchon Bakery for retail, wholesale and The French Laundry. She has been a BBGA member since 2016, was heavily involved in the planning and execution of the BBGA’s Artisan Marketplace at IBIE 2019 and has been serving the BBGA in other volunteer capacities throughout her membership. In 2020, Kristen became a Certified Bread Baker and is always looking for ways to continuously learn.
Purpose Statement: The BBGA is very important to me because of the community it cultivates. And this committee is a most important first step toward bettering our Guild, the Artisan Bread Community and beyond. As a white woman, I will be here to listen, act as an ally, be actively anti-racist and facilitate meaningful work through any tasks needed of me by this committee. I will use my prior service to the BBGA as a way to help this committee explore ideas and plans too. The more work identified and organized to be done in any facet but especially in the vein of inclusion, the stronger the BBGA will become.
Bio: Marian Newby is a Johnson & Wales University graduate with an Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry and a Bachelor's Degree in Hotel Lodging Management. She has been baking for six years and has worked in such places as Wild Oats Bakery, Black Beard Bread Company and now is Maitre’D at Havana Beach Bar and Grill. She has discovered a new passion and in her spare time, has started a social media, marketing and food photography business. She hopes to continue being a part of the baking community to meet new people and never stop baking.
Purpose Statement: Being a part of this effort in a time like this is something that I needed. I AM HERE to help those individuals who need support during this horrid time. Not being seen, heard, or not helping those in need, has to stop. I am here to stand with you, help you, and hear you. I want to help those who need to grow their confidence, pride, and their joy.