Official JB 33 Welcome!

JB 33 has officially started the classroom!  They started immediately with Management and ServSafe books.  A lot of the students have previous experience with management, either in restaurants or other fields, like construction.  No matter where you manage, the skills we discuss are helpful!  The students have their classroom jobs, and you know what that means, new journalists!  Sonja will still keep us updated on the happenings in the kitchen, but we will have Chris and Virginia taking over the big part.  This week, Chris wrote a little bit on one of the team building exercises:

“This is class 33.  We are excited, motivated, and learning new materials. This week has been awesome!  Our first team building was drawing pieces of a picture into larger versions and then putting them together into one incredible picture of a minion named Chris #3.  We worked together as a team and created the minion through teamwork.  Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Now, some introductions to a couple of the students, and then we’ll get to an interview Virginia did with Ken, the kitchen manager.


“Hi, my name is Josh.  I’m from Beloit.  I am an aspiring entrepreneur.  I am in my 30s.  My mother, brothers, and sister are important to me.  I learned about Just Bakery while in Huber and thought it was a great opportunity to establish a career.  I am an artist, DJ, promoter, father, and jack-of-all-trades.  I struggle with failures and mistakes all the time.  My son and family bring the most joy to my life; my son is 1 year old.  I see success and happiness in my future because I’m working toward my dreams.  I want to be a resource for others.”

Chris and Virginia are our journalists for this round:

“My name is Chris. I’m from Jacksonville and I’m 27 years old.  My important family members are my awesome son, my little sister who is great, and my beautiful mother. I wouldn’t change them for nothing in the world.  My motivation for this program was really to better myself, learn a trade, and to create a better life for my son.  I’m outgoing, love helping others, a good leader, and can motivate just about anybody.  My struggles are addiction and trying to find easy ways out and running away from my own problems.  I enjoy writing poems, cooking, and family time.  I see myself having my own business one day and helping others find a way out of addiction and showing them there is a better life.”

“My name is Virginia.  Born and raised in Chicago.  Come from a rough background, from drugs to gangs, molestation, neglect, abandonment, abuse, and mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally destructed.  I had my first son, now I have a stepson also, and my fiance.  We moved to Wisconsin for a positive and productive life, opportunities, and chances and support.  When I came out here, I was struggling with homelessness, there was no help, no more resources, and I caught a case trying to survive for my family.  I got incarcerated and got a lot of resources from the Huber counselor, Jacci, re-entry program Carla, Carmella and Jackie from Just Bakery, Belinda from the road home, and of course, my fiance and kids.  Now I have a good support system and team and family that loves me dearly.  I’m taking this time to clear my hurt, my pain, and sorrows.  I’m getting my HSED, I’m going to complete Just Bakery and get my ServSafe and then get my culinary degree.  I want to be a chef and an advocate for kids on molestation and rape.  I want to share my story and my success!  My strengths are I’m strong, quick-witted, and motivated.  My weaknesses are I’m always surviving and always being destabilized with housing.  Something is always happening: either I’m not making enough money with my job, or I don’t have a job and it causes me to lost my home or make poor choices.  I want to always be stable and independent and trying to always keep stuff together and not get overwhelmed.  I want people to understand I’m not just a convict or a girl from the ghetto that’s ignorant, rude, aggressive or just a mad black woman.  I want to positive and live a positive life, I want to be successful, a good citizen, to give back, to be a leader, stable, to make a difference in my life and others.  I want to show people if I can do it, if we can do it, anyone can do it!  I want to trust and love again, I’m tired of these circles; I’m tired of looking and being the bad person.  It’s not me, no excuses, it’s just all I know!  Now I’m ready to sit still and let my God and my supporters lead me.  I’ll just sit back and listen, and it doesn’t matter what obstacles jump up at me, I’m going to make the right choices from this day on!”

And now for the interview with Ken:

“Hi! My name is Virginia! I’m one of the new journalist for Just Bakery.  While being in the program, I interview Kenneth Johnson, an inspiring kitchen manager at the bakery.  I’m amazed!  While talked to Ken, I found out he was incarcerated just like me.  Once he did his time, he knew he wanted better, so he stared off getting his GED before he was released.  He was incarcerated for three years in 1998 and never went back.  Carmella being his support has been remarkable.  I asked him where he would be if it wasn’t for Just Bakery and Carmella and he said jail.  It’s wonderful to have someone in your life who cares about you and is willing to help you make a difference.

I asked him what made him want to work with food and he said Carmella talked him into doing Just Bakery and it changed his life.  He worked at UW where he did production, and at Cranberry Creek.  Now he is the kitchen manager for Just Bakery and has been here for 5 years.

As a kitchen manager, Ken bakes, does production, sales, deliveries, and covers shifts.  He is very happy here.  He loves the staff he works with at Just Bakery: he said it himself “they are fantastic and the best in America”! 🙂

For us newcomers, Ken said the program offers baking, baker’s math, cognition, life skills, education and managment,a nd employment ethics.  His advice to us: “Trust us and let us interrupt your life- it’s a game changer!”

And a little peak in the kitchen with JB 32:

Bakers Blog week 10

I will never look at a Danish the same way again. This week in the bakery we had a great time making danish, of course I had a lot of questions for Jim. Did you know that a danish dough make from scratch (not every bakery makes them from scratch like we do) has many many layers? Our danish dough has around 80 layers, and in between layers is… you guessed it, BUTTER. As I was watching and learning to make the “snails”, what the dough is formed into to become a danish, I thought about a pastry that’s famous here in Wisconsin called a Kringle. I asked Jim if this is the same dough that would make a Kringle, and it IS. So of course right away Jim showed us how to make a Kringle, and it turned out amazing! We enjoyed sampling our work ☺️. We also made a two sided danish by forming the dough into an “8”, Which was beautiful once we baked it with cherry on one side and cream cheese on the other. I hope everyone reading this at some point tries one of our danish, they are one of the best I’ve ever had. We also made cranberry walnut muffins, scones and of course, cookies, cookies and more cookies. Friday we spent making breads; we made sourdough and multigrain bread again, along with white bread and a Parmesan pesto bread (oh my, the smell). I’m so totally enjoying this time in the bakery, and I’m learning so much, can’t believe we will be done in two more weeks.

Check back next week to meet the rest of the class and see what the student’s learn next!

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