The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The State of California moves to shut down the SFBI!

dmsnyder's picture

The State of California moves to shut down the SFBI!

I just got this e-mail from Michel Suas.

To All SFBI Family Members,

I know Christmas and the holidays decoration are red, guess what we got?!! 

Red Tape from Sacramento!

Yea, according to the Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education our SFBI program is not approved by them or up to the standard making me a "Public Offender". So we have to shut down the school until they review our program and services we offer. I am so much in disbelief that I don't want to fight for it. I already gave so much SFBI; my frustration is over the limit of my generosity

If you believe SFBI was important for you email me the reasons why we should stay open that could make the Bureau change their minds. Since they ordered to shut down our webpage please cc the email to, in case they can get SFBI email. Whatever the outcome I get, the best time was running SFBI and seeing the joy of the people attending the classes and some evolution in the industry with great products.

Thank you for your support it was a fun "rise"!

Best Regards and Happy Red Holiday!

Michel Suas

Owner and Founder



I think this is pretty outrageous, on the surface, but I have no idea what the standards are that may not have been met. I suspect it's simply that Michel never sought certification by the State. But he's been at this for over 25 years! Why now?



Floydm's picture

Yup, agreed.  I just sent Michel a note asking that if at any point TFL members can be of service writing letters of support or bringing attention to his situation to please let us know.


suave's picture

Oh, jeez!  I've looked through the idiotic law they've concocted, and, frankly, closing the shop does not look like such a bad idea.

dabrownman's picture

but I'm not sure it will do little if any good and certainly won't solve SFBI's real problem.

The problem is that the folks in CA elected their state and local representatives by overwhelming majorities and these are the very same representatives who wrote this law.  These representatives are doing exactly what they were elected to do - pass this law and so many just like it.  It is SFBI friends, neighbors and fellow Californians in the vast majority, that want laws, just like this one, enacted whenever there is an opportunity to do so - and they will continue to do so.

It is a free country and, as a libertarian, I want all Americans to live where they want, get what they want and vote for, if in the majority like the people in CA.  It is their right to rule; elect folks and enact laws as they see fit - period.  But, that doesn't mean the folks at SFBI have to live that way either.

We would love to have the SFBI located in the Phoenix Metro Area and be overjoyed if would happen in the future.  There are many here who would help make this happen.  Why should SBFI suffer at the hands of those who are duly elected and pass these despotic, onerous laws, insane taxes and business regulations?  Do you really think SFBI's friends and neighbors will stop electing representatives who will no longer think these laws are necessary and required?  Things will only get worse and never better for the folks at  SFBI, as long as, they are located in CA.   The only reason this  horrible effect can make any any sense at all is if SFBI is not appreciated or just outright hated by their government and the folks that elected it. Who needs friends like those?

Come on over to the other side of the border where you can have a decent and respected family business that is allowed to be successful and profitable for the owners, employees and students.  Where you can grow your dreams rather than have them squelched and squandered by the thoughts and deeds of insane others.  You don't have to live under the oppression of your current slave masters who will never ever change - no not ever.

There is a better way.   Move and be free again - just as so many other CA business owners and their employees have realized!


dobie's picture

Hi suave

I know this is an old post, but I came across it in persuit of other things and I was struck by your comment that 'frankly, closing the shop does not look like such a bad idea'.

Keeping an open mind, I was curious to read the legislation. The link you provided does not get me there. Is there another link or could you tell me what I need to search for to read the appropriate CA legislation?

Thank you


linder's picture

I sure hope they don't close, it would be a shame to lose a good baking school.

carblicious's picture

Looks like in attempt to protect students, California is going to shut down a great baking school.  Only larger schools can afford to do the paper work and manage the fees imposed by this law.  It would be a shame if SFBI closes.

sfbi_staff's picture

Hello members of TFL,

my name is Juliette Lelchuk, and I am one of the teachers here at SFBI. Upon learning this shocking news only ysterday, we staff have created a petition to try and keep our doors open. The issue is not at all that we have not sought proper licensing, quite the opposite. The basic gist is that our license expired due to a change in the law, but we have been VERY actively trying to rectify the situation for many months by providing all required documentation and fees. Nevertheless, we have received the abatement notice from the state. 

Here is the letter we are sending out today, with links included. Please keep spreading the word on our plight, our only hope is to gather support from the baking world at large to fight this. 

Thanks you so much for all of your support now and over the years. We will keep you posted.

-The SFBI Team


Hello friends of SFBI far and wide, we hope this letter finds you well this holiday season. As some of you may be aware from an email sent yesterday by our boss and founder Michel Suas, SFBI was ordered to cease all operations as of last Friday by California's Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Although we have indeed submitted all the proper documentation, forms and associated fees to renew our license to operate, the state has ordered us to shut down while they process our application. We have been informed that this process of review can take 2-3 months or even more. Sadly, we will be unable to survive the financial strain such a period would impose upon our very small organization. 
Clearly this is a grave situation with great urgency, one for which we are reaching out to you for your support. That is why we the staff, the SFBI Family, are reaching out to you in the hope that we may be able to convince the BPPE to allow us to remain open while our application is pending review.
Faced with little recourse, we immediately decided to initiate a petition on, which you can view and sign by clicking here. We invite you all to sign the petition, which we plan to submit on this fast-approaching Monday, December 31st, New Year's Eve.
 We the team here at the school did not learn of this until yesterday, as Michel did not want to dampen our personal holiday celebrations in the past few days with this heartbreaking news. We are now facing the very real and shocking possibility of closing our doors in just a few days, and close to 30 people losing their jobs at the drop of a hat. Some of us have been here several years, some of us are interns who have recently graduated and are starting our baking careers. The common thread we all share is our love of baking and the passion to share that skill and knowledge with people like you from around the country and globe. We hope to continue serving the artisan baking community for many years yet to come, but right now we are asking for your help. What has SFBI meant to you, or to a loved one who has attended classes here? How will the artisan baking industry and movement suffer if SFBI must shut its doors? We encourage you to send us your statements of support via this email. Please do note that the SFBI website and email may soon have to go offline per the order to cease all operations, so this email address as well as are for now the best points of contact. We also offer our heartfelt thanks to the many who have already reached out to us in the last 24 hours since receiving the news. Thank you once again for your support now and throughout the years. Once again, the petition can be viewed by clicking the above link, or by pasting this URL into your browser: Yours very truly, Miyuki, Mac, Juliette, Frank, Kate, Laura, Alysia and the rest of The SFBI Team
BurntMyFingers's picture

I just signed the petition. I also used to live in CA and am aware of the problems created by the dysfunctional legislature and the creative ways that businesses and citizens find to get around them. As I understand it, SFBI fell afoul of a processing deadline and is now ordered to shut until the papers can be processed correctly, and the problem is the school doesn't have the resources to stay in business until they can reopen.

What about contacting your local representative in the state legislature and seeking a special legislative act that gives you a one-time exemption? SFBI is just the kind of place that San Francisco legislators want to nurture, not shut down. Or, what about operating during the processing period as an unofficial institution... people make donations rather than pay fees, and after you are again "legal" you can give them certifications or other recognition. Is that possible?

sue cardiff's picture
sue cardiff

I love this forum and the wonderful bakers who post here, but the truth is that the majority of the people living in California have voted in the government that comes up with these atrocious regulations, and these same people continue to support them year after year. I have purchased several items from SFBI over the years and hope they are allowed to continue their programs for many years. But until Californians throw out these bureaucrats, they will have to live with the consequences.

proth5's picture

from the BBGA - a link to the full story.

When the whole thing is laid out - not as bad as it seemed (although it would have been a shame if SFBI got shut down...)


LindyD's picture

Thanks, Pat.  Interesting article, though I'm not sure everyone is going to "live happily ever after" given the drastic change in curriculum, even if only temporarily.

proth5's picture

it will not be as easy a glib reporter would like to make it, but it does give SFBI some operating space, has brought the school and its value to front of mind for many people, and has shown some people with influence (I am sure) how fragile some good things really are.

While no one would ever confuse me with a dewy eyed optimist - this could be something very positive in the long run.  It depends now on the community of bakers to "make it so..."