It Takes a Team

Cassandra, Leia, KristleLina, Maurice, Frank, Jose and myself, Jay, make up the first class of 2018 and the 29th group to go through the Just Bakery program.  Our class, of course, has different personalities and energy levels, but we all seem to get along together well.  We’re also all ecstatic to begin our mission this course.  During the first week, we have been studying a little bit of everything: ServSafe, Nutrition, Management, and my personal favorite, Math.


What I’ve enjoyed about the group so far is the fact that we all help each other out when needed.  There is a lot of information and skills that we have already gained, even in the first week.

I went through the class back in 2015 but was not motivated to really take the class seriously, so this round is a second chance to complete the course as well as pick up more credits.  I’m trying to stay more engaged and cut back on the horseplay.

Right now it seems like everybody is really looking forward to getting into the kitchen to start the baking side of the class.


And now, to meet a couple more of our students.


“My name is Leia, like the princess…because…I am a Princess. I was born in Oklahoma, but have spent the majority of my life in Madison.  Family is something special; I admire large, tight-knit families.  I am fortunate enough to have many people in my life that became family.

I am a mother of many.  I personally have two boys who are 9 and 10-year-old.  My partner has 3 girls, ages 2, 12 and 15.  We are also currently expecting one more to add to the bunch.  My 10 year old has Down Syndrome and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  He has taught his brother and I so much about life and perseverance.


Self doubt has always held me back, coupled with procrastination and lack of accountability, I’ve grown complacent in life.  I’m confident Just Bakery is the perfect opportunity to shake things up.

My first job was as a waitress in a small mom and pop restaurant when I was 15 years old.  Since then, I have imagined owning my own small restaurant.  I was able to work one on one with the owner and it really inspired me.  Post-waitressing, I learned the ins and outs of food safety in a hospital setting, before becoming involved with the local food cart community.  Most recently, over the last two years, I had the chance to fully operate a food cart as if it were mine.

Running a food cart is an experience like no other.  It taught me a lot about myself: my abilities, what I need to learn, and where I want to go.  I’m excited about the opportunity and head start Just Bakery will give me towards earning a culinary degree at MATC-Madison.

All in all, the last few years have been quite tumultuous, and recently came to a very abrupt stop.  I’m finally able to be excited for the days to come.”


My name is Cassandra, I’m 44 years old.  I am a single mother.  I have 6 kids.  I am from Cincinnati, Ohio, but I have been in Madison over 32 years.  My family is very important to me.


I have a friend who told me about Just Bakery and said that I would love the program because I love to cook.  So she helped me get in.  My biggest dream is to open a soul food restaurant.

I struggle with drugs and alcohol.  My joys in life are my kids and being in the kitchen.  I see myself doing my dream.

I don’t want to be anyone but myself.”

One of the assignments this week was to create advertisements or table tents for restaurants highlighting their healthy options.  Far left: Leia’s Olive Garden Top: Jay’s Denny’s Bottom: Cassandra’s Camp Trippalindee


We also did a SWOT analysis for Management this week and the class had a great discussion comparing their decisions for each space.

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