Tag Archives: Semifreddi’s
The Crayola-blue storefront at 1615 University Ave. has stood empty for three years, slowly collecting window graffiti and dust. But this June, signs of life began to appear. Baking racks appeared in the windows. Long wooden work tables filled the room. Soon, a sign appeared on the front door: The Bread Project is moving in.
Founded in 2001 by Lucie Buchbinder and Susan Phillips, The Bread Project trains low-income individuals in food service skills — specifically baking — and helps them find and retain jobs across the service and culinary industry. Its students come from many walks of life. About 30% are formerly incarcerated individuals, 20% are refugees and new immigrants and others that have other significant barriers to employment. “Everybody is starting over, starting anew,” said Valerie Afroilan, the senior director of programs. … Continue reading »
Tom Frainier likes to cuddle a freshly baked loaf at his Semifreddi’s bakery and exclaim, “Bread is sexy.”
Frainier’s passion for making a beautiful and delicious foodstuff based on the ancient art of fermenting grain is evident. The idea of creating many jobs also excites him.
“We are the offensive linemen of the food world and not the celebrity chefs,” the Semifreddi’s CEO said recently. “Every day the team grinds out what has been made for thousands of years. Our business mission has evolved from ‘take care of the customer’ into ‘take care of our employees.”
This is a man whose business card reads: ‘Chief Bootlicker.’ … Continue reading »
Andre Green’s mission is both simple and heartfelt: no one should go hungry. It’s a mantra that has worked for him in his more than seven years serving food to the homeless and poor.
After a long stint in the kitchen at the East Oakland Community Project, Green began cooking for Berkeley’s most vulnerable residents on Valentine’s Day this year, as the new food services coordinator for Berkeley Food & Housing Project. The non-profit group serves hot meals to homeless men, women, and children from food purchased from the Alameda County Community Food Bank and wholesale grocery stores, along with donations from individuals, organizations, and businesses. … Continue reading »
Pat Van Valkenburgh is the kind of person that The Bread Project hopes to help. A stay-at-home mom who home-schooled her two children until they attended Berkeley High School, Van Valkenburgh desperately needed a job when her construction worker husband became unemployed. Since she enjoyed cooking, she thought the nonprofit’s nine-week café training program, which focuses on basic kitchen, food service, and barista skills, was a good fit and would help her find a job in the restaurant industry.
Van Valkenburgh didn’t have to look far for work: she was snapped up by the organization to manage the café it runs out of the Berkeley Adult School, where the program for low-income job seekers, started by Susan Phillips and Lucie Buchbinder in 2000, has been housed since 2003.
The part-time gig has made all the difference during tough economic times; Van Valkenburgh’s family has held on to their home and health insurance. (Both her kids, who attended the Academic Choice School at BHS, currently study at local community colleges and intend to transfer to UC.) … Continue reading »
As a child growing up in Berkeley, I’ve only tasted pre-sliced bread twice. When I was younger, my family traveled to Europe and I got to eat real French baguettes. Today, we live a few blocks from a bakery and get fresh bread every morning, like many Berkeley residents.