Every time I put Modern Baking's Annual Leadership Awards issue to bed, I'm reminded of how great our industry is. I'm reminded with each issue in little ways, but the July issue attempts to pack in some of the best of the best.
In what other industry are peers so eager to share their business experiences to help others succeed?
Where else are there so many ways to do business with so few common threads: an oven and some basic ingredients?
Who else can boast a baker's history, proud tradition and international influence?
You and I know the answer. But, few outside our industry do. There remains an image problem for bakery, which I think stems mostly from the lack of public awareness about all that you do. As a whole, you are too quiet.
If you watch the Food Network or read consumer food magazines or even local news, your bakery products are there. But, few bakers make the spotlight. And that's OK. The bakery trade is not ego-driven for most.
Too many people, including some among us, are quick to dismiss bakery. You've heard them say, “Retail bakeries, particularly familyrun operations, have all gone out of business.” Tell that to Paul Sapienza at Sapienza Pastry or Todd Wagner at Wagner's European Bakery & Cafè.
They're down on in-store bakeries too. “Supermarket in-store bakeries are all the same, and they don't even bake,” some say. Tell that to Nyla Stromberg at Marketplace Foods or Roland Krueger at Buehler Food Markets.
Or, how about the latest, “Soon, no more bakeries will exist in America because no one consumes carbs anymore.” Tell that to Simon Seaton at Umanoff & Parsons.
Bakery is a tough business. You're business managers, bakers, trainers, marketers, accountants and food technoligists, to name a few hats you wear. Plus, you're doing it all with products customers truly don't have to have. And, despite what the doubters want us to believe, you make money doing it. Good money.
You should be proud of all you do. We at Modern Baking would like to congratulate this year's Leadership Award winners and realize there are so many leaders that can't fit into one issue. Remember, it is OK to toot your own horn a bit. The baking industry could stand a few more good words.