On April 8, teams of students took their work to market with a series of Pop-up Bake Shops featured at DC’s W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF), where they competed for the honour of top shop. After months of preparation, the students were able to see their semester-long projects come to life as they sold an array of artisan breads, confections and preserves to members of the community under their own unique brands.
“It’s awesome and really fun,” said Caitlin Lounsberry, an Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts student who had been looking forward to this day all semester. “Part of the goal is to break-even on the cost of creating our company, but it’s really not about the money – it’s about the food.”
Her team, Creative Café and Confectionary, based their theme around treats traditionally found in a coffee shop, stocking their booth with coffee-flavoured pastries, candies and chocolate baked goods. The team came up with the idea during their entrepreneurship class where students had the opportunity to develop a company and market it.
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Students drew on those entrepreneurial lessons and skills in their capstone project class, where the Pop-up Bake Shop event originated, with each team responsible for their shops’ baking, marketing, budgeting, ordering, packaging and any business decisions related to the event day. Other teams included The Butterstick, Sensible Creations and Classy Bees.
“It’s exciting to see all of our creativity and hard work come together,” said Kasey Rogers, student and co-creator of Classy Bees, which offered trendy treats like emoji-themed sweets, including lollipops.
“We just want to make things that people will think is post-worthy and to add to social media,” said Rogers’ teammate Medora El-Haj. “We like to describe ourselves as the Saturday Night Live of bakeries. Always keeping up with trends to keep people coming back.”
DC’s Pop-up Bake Shop event is an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience as well as showcase what they have learned in their program – from the kitchen to the computer to the counter and beyond.
“The students get to run a business for a day, which is an incredible learning experience before moving into the industry,” said Tanya Heck, pastry chef and professor at DC.
“It is not only about food creation, but incorporating the business aspect that will help students succeed after graduation, whether they want to open their own business or work for an established organization.”