“As a product of the team process, I’m acutely aware of the resources required – and at no time do any of us take that for granted. It’s a hard thing to convey – that through our involvement with international competitions we honestly do elevate American baking in the world’s eyes, which does matter to the little bakery on the corner. I’ve met many people who want us involved with their foreign organizations because we’re doing so many things right – and not just by winning. We have the spirit and the focus and the excitement that bakers the world over want to re-create. And with that feeling and drive we are able to keep offering the amazing selection of classes and events to everyone on our home turf.”
- Bread Bakers Guild Team USA 2008
Excerpt from Bread Lines
Vol. 7, No. 1 (Winter 1999)
Notes from a Boston Baker
I was skeptical about The Guild putting its precious resources into supporting a baking team to go to Europain thinking that this activity would only serve the few members who might make the team and receive the glory.
It changed my mind when I saw that The Guild had conceived of the importance of the team to Europain for multiple reasons. Team USA promotes the image of the American baker to the bread buying public as a skilled individual which can help explain why our bread costs a little more. The team also promotes the image of the professional baker as a viable career for upcoming workers.
Bread Bakers Guild Team USA serves an educational purpose in that the members personally appear at events such as the one held at my bakery making the knowledge they gained during their training and competition available to all of us. They also publish the formulas they develop for the competition.
In working to develop formulas and methods to produce the finest breads possible to take home the prize from The Coupe du Monde, Team USA experiments in an open way, constricted by the rules and timing of the competition but liberated from concerns about what would make a bread cost effective or properly timed for a modern production shop. Their only concern is to bake world class breads.
My customers didn’t know about The Coupe Du Monde at Europain last year, but this year they have heard about it on National Public Radio, from People Magazine, the New York Times, etc... and when they come in the shop they chat about it. They are now customers who are more aware than ever before that their neighborhood baker is involved in a serious craft, a skilled pursuit worthy of respect, and they have a little more awareness of why the loaf on my shelf needs to include the cost of skilled labor. The bread has become interesting to them beyond its simple purpose as a food. Their new understanding of the art and of the artisan becomes the point of departure for a conversation and relationship to develop between us.
– Clear Flour Bread, MA