The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Are there any SFBI Graduates out there?

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SDbaker's picture
SDbaker

Are there any SFBI Graduates out there?

Are there any SFBI Graduates out there? (San Francisco Baking Institute)  I am taking their "Artisan I" week long class soon and was looking for some feedback. 

Has anyone attended (or know of someone who has attended) the 18 week professional program?  If yes, how has it prepared you for the industry of artisan baking/pastry?

 Thanks,

 SD Baker

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Hi SDBaker,

I have taken 3 course so far at SFBI: Artisan I and II, and Whole Grains and Specialty Flours. I'm going back for more in August and October.

I thought all three courses were great. Artisan I gives you quite a lot of theory on the science of fermentation, flour technology, etc., as well as hands on -- focused on basic baguettes done different ways, but you make a few other breads too. In my classes there was a mix of home and professional bakers.

The people there are very cool -- friendly and helpful in every way. And they really know their stuff.

Make sure you bring a camera! And wear comfortable shoes.

If you have any specific questions I would be happy to try and answer them.

I don't personally know anyone who has taken the long program, but if you take all the 5-day courses they offer (both bread and pastry) it's probably adding up to most of what you get in the long program.

I hope you have as much fun as I did!

Susanfnp

SDbaker's picture
SDbaker

Thanks Susan.  I am at a crossroads in my career.  Almost definitely changing careers.  My goal, if I go into baking, would be to open my own artisan shop, similar to the Tartine model in San Francisco.  I visited the school in May and liked what I saw.  I am using the week long course to help me in my decision of going further or not.  Worst case: I learn a whole lot for home use!

PS, where did you stay up there?

 Thanks,

SD Baker

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Hi SDBaker,

You’re definitely going to the right place if you want both baking training and guidance in how to open a bakery. I’m sure you know that TMB Baking, SFBI’s sister company, consults in bakery management, big and small, as well as being an equipment vendor.

I’m curious what field you’re changing from? As a career changer myself, I can empathize with how exhilarating and scary that can be at the same time, and I wish you all success on whatever path you end up choosing.

I’m lucky I live in the SF Bay Area, so I didn’t have to stay in a hotel. Most out-of-towners in my classes stayed at Staybridge Suites. They have a shuttle to take you back and forth to SFBI.

Susanfnp

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

That's where my son got his training. He was in their first class. He was able to move from there to two subsequesnt jobs at Essential (Seattle) and Uptown (DC ... with Didier Rosada as the head baker). He is relocating to another city soon (with girlfriend, of course) and has no fears about landing a job. He thought that the program was great and it gave him a great network of bakers to call upon.

As for using it to open a bakery ... it is just a introductory baking program, all be it a very good one. My son would probably say, since he has said it to me when I asked him, that if you are going  to open a bakery, get some real world experience and then, either have some very extensive small business experience or tons of capital to invest. My son's class was full of ex dot com'ers who had the tons of capital to invest.

The bakers will say, BTW, that if you want to run a successful artisan bakery, go into it with a wholesale model. Retail is frought with peril much like small restaurants or cafes. If you are insistant on a small retail bakery, you have to have a location with a lot of foot traffic passing by on a daily basis.

Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio

SDbaker's picture
SDbaker

Thanks Paul. Next month I will attend just the week course, Artisan I.  Unfortuneately, they don't cover sourdough until artisan II.

Any others out there?