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JWU Charlotte Bread Symposium Honors North Carolina’s Legacy of Flight

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On Monday and Tuesday, May 22 + 23, a very special event is happening at JWU Charlotte: The first Johnson & Wales University International Symposium on Bread will bring world-renowned experts on bread — including bakers, historians, scholars and millers — together to discuss the industry’s past, present and future.

The symposium is the brainchild of Chef on Assignment Peter Reinhart, James Beard Award-winning author of more than 10 books, including “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice,” “American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza,” and more. In this post (which originally appeared on Reinhart’s Pizza Quest blog), he gives a sneak-peek and shares the incredible centerpiece made specially for the Symposium by Chef Harry Peemoeller. Read on:

By this time next week, we will have wrapped up the first Johnson & Wales University International Symposium on Bread. But as I write this, we’re still in the final stages of preparation, tweaking the logistics, the audio visual systems, the meals, and the special features that we believe will make this a very special gathering. The welcome ceremony will start at 9am EST on Monday, May 22nd. (You can also watch via our livestream here.)

In the meantime, enjoy this bread sculpture created by Johnson & Wales Master Baker Harry Peemoeller, a former Coupe du Monde Team USA member who has become known worldwide for his show pieces made entirely out of bread dough.

Because we’re hosting the event in Charlotte, North Carolina, Harry decided to give his showpiece a North Carolina theme. He told me that his inspiration came when he noticed NC license plates printed with the state slogan, “First in Flight” — referring to the Wright Brothers’ invention and demonstration of their first airplane at Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of the North Carolina seashore. To show the evolution of their concept from blueprint to final prototype (including its original inspiration: the bicycle), he was able to recreate the original Wright Brothers design blueprints on faux-parchment paper that he made with puff pastry and other thin layers of dough; he inscribed the text with food-grade cocoa ink painted on by silkscreen.

Everything you see in these photos was made with edible bread dough, either yeasted or unleavened, and then treated with, again, edible paints, varnishes and glues made with natural ingredients and sugars. I’ll interview Harry in a future blog to bring his whole creative process to you. For now, I wanted to give you a tease of the level of creativity that will be present at the Symposium.

Needless to say, I’m so over-the-top excited about this event that, in the words of the 2,000 Year Old Man (Mel Brooks), “I could plotz.”  

Till then, I’ll leave you with the “Baker’s Blessing” (which I made up as a reminder to myself to always stay resilient): May your crust be crisp and your bread always rise!

Follow the Symposium on May 22 + 23 by downloading the Whova app, which contains the full program, presenter biographies, abstracts and sponsor info. Access Code: jwubread

WATCH THE LIVESTREAM

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Topics: Charlotte