He’s been called an artisanal bread god, but Kendall College alumnus Mike Zakowski, (A.A.S., Culinary Arts, 1994) the owner of The Bejkr in Sonoma, Calif., says he just likes making bread. He may be humble, but that didn’t keep him from competing in March with two other teammates at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie at the Europain exposition in France—otherwise known as the Bakery World Cup.
What’s more? Team USA won the second place prize. The competition featured 36 candidates from 12 countries. Zakowski’s team prepared for three years, training at locations across the United States sponsored by the Bread Bakers Guild of America. One of those training locations was Kendall College back in December.
In the eight-hour competition, Zakowski’s team produced items based on four specialties: baguettes, Viennese pastries, savory presentations and an artistic piece. “Each team member has a different specialty, but I had to prepare seven types of bread in eight hours,” he says.
“Ultimately, I was evaluated on weight, length, volume, texture, appearance, crumb structure, taste, cleanliness and finishing on time—which is a challenge,” Zakowski continues. “Kendall helped prepare me. My education taught me to constantly elevate my skill sets.”