Culinary Alum Represents U.S. at World Cup of Baking

Kendall College School of Culinary Arts Alum Represents the United States in the World Cup of Baking
Mike Zakowski of [the bejkr] in Sonoma, Calif., competes as a member of Bread Bakers Guild Team USA

Chicago—February 28, 2012—Mike Zakowski, a 1994 graduate of The Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, will compete in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, or World Cup of Baking, in Paris, France, March 3-7.

The Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie is an international, invitational artisan baking competition held in Paris every three to four years. Zakowski, owner of [the bejkr] in Sonoma, Calif., will represent the United States as part of three-member Bread Bakers Guild Team USA sponsored by the Bread Bakers Guild of America.

Begun in 1992 by Christian Vabret, president of the Ecole Française de Boulangerie d’Aurillac, to reverse what he considered to be a decline in bread quality, the Coupe du Monde is a competition that pits bakers who practice the craft of artisan baking against teams from other nations, using traditional techniques. The purpose of the competition is to gather artisan bakers from around the world to celebrate their profession, share knowledge of artisan baking techniques, and reinstate the value of the artisan-baking profession.

A native of South Bend, Ind., Zakowski has owned [the bejkr] in northern California for three years. When he owned Kraftsmen Baking in Houston, Texas, he was named Best Baker in Houston and won the Best Bread award for his pain biologique during the bakery’s first year of operation. Later, he was the operations manager at Artisan Bakers in Sonoma, Calif., for five years. Now at [the bejkr], Zakowski markets his creations at local farmers’ markets in Sonoma County.

“For an artisan baker, the Coupe du Monde is the biggest thing in the world that you can do,” Zakowski says. “It’s the Holy Grail. We‘ve got a really good team, and our last practice in the States, in Ann Arbor, was our best. We’re trying not to peak until we compete on March 5.” Zakowski will work at a school in a town north of Paris prior to the competition to experiment and adjust his hydration with French flours, which he says “are good, but different.”

In his first experience as a member of Team USA in France, Zakowski will specialize in Baguettes & Specialty Breads, one of the major Coupe du Monde categories. Three of the seven breads Zakowski is responsible for are compulsory: a traditional baguette, a varied baguette and a decorative baguette. He and team members Harry Peemoeller (captain, Artistic Design category) and Jeremey Gadouas  (Viennoiserie category) must also work together to produce a sandwich presentation for a fourth category, Savory Selection. Teams will be evaluated by international judging committees on the basis of individual excellence in artisan baking as well as on teamwork and time management. A U.S. film crew will accompany Team USA to Paris to document the competition.

For more information on the film documentary that will highlight Team USA’s efforts at the 2012 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, visit www.thebejkr.com. For information on the Bread Bakers Guild of America and its national bread conference, WheatStalk 2012, which will be held at Kendall College, June 28-30, visit www.bbga.org.

About the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts:

Kendall College, founded in 1934, is located in Chicago, Illinois. Kendall offers undergraduate degrees in businessculinary artsearly childhood education and hospitality management to a diverse and passionate community of more than 2200 students. The curriculum combines strong academics with practical experience and international educational opportunities that help give students in business, hospitality and culinary arts programs the skills and expertise to be leaders in their professions. Kendall College was ranked the number one program in Chicago for preparing students for careers in hospitality management and culinary arts in a survey of management at Chicago’s leading hotels and Michelin Guide restaurants (ORC International - 2011 Survey). The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has accredited the Culinary Arts associate program since 1988 and the Baking and Pastry associate program since 2008. Kendall College, a member of the Laureate International Universities network, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), www.ncahlc.org.