2/1/3/18 | For 3 days this February and March, the center of the bread universe will rise over Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts (JWU) in Providence, RI: 150 artisan educators, bakers, chefs, and food professionals will convene for WheatStalk 2018, which runs from Tue., Feb. 27-Thu., March 1.
Organized by the Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA), this invitation-only event brings the top bread professionals together for a comprehensive immersion into the art, science, craft, and technology of bread. Participants will learn and improve techniques, share ideas, and build community through hands-on classes, lectures, and demonstrations.
JWU International Baking & Pastry Arts Department Chair Richard Miscovich, a past BBGA board member, believes that “bread is a social leveler,” and was instrumental in bringing the event to Providence for the first time. The event occurs every few years and has been held throughout the US.
Nearly 700 people applied for Wheat Stalk’s lottery-style invitation, open primarily to BBGA members. Dozens of JWU students are skipping their spring break and staying on campus to volunteer, participate, and network with the Olympians of the bread world. (The event is not open to the public.)
Presenters and attendees include James Beard Award winners, internationally-decorated chefs and bakers, old school and new school trailblazers, bakers, millers and growers:
- Joanne Chang, chef and co-owner of Flour Bakery + Café, Boston and 2016 James Beard Award-winner
- Hubert Chiron, fourth-generation baker from southern Bretagne, France and head of the experimental bakery at INRA (National Institute for Agronomic Research)
- Members of the award-winning, internationally-renowned faculty of JWU’s International Baking & Pastry Institute (IBPI): Lauren Haas, Mitch Stamm, Richard Miscovich and Harry Peemoeller.
Class & Lecture Highlights
- Feb. 27: Doughnuts, crullers, and churros, taught by Rachel Crampsey of Montclair Bread (Montclair, NJ), 2014 winner, Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown
- Feb. 28: Starting & growing your own bakery, Amy Scherber, Amy’s Bread, New York City and Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Café, Boston
- Mar. 1: Beyond whole wheat bread, taught by Jim Williams of Seven Stars Bakery (Providence, RI)
Bread: A Hallmark of JWU
In addition to the upcoming Wheat Stalk 2018, JWU will be hosting the second annual International Bread Symposium at its Charlotte campus from April 26-28. Nathan Myhrvold, author of “Modernist Bread, is scheduled as keynote speaker, and bakers, historians, scholars and millers will convene from all over the world to explore the future of bread.
Ten years after establishing its Culinary Arts program in 1973, JWU added an associate’s degree in Baking & Pastry Arts to its curriculum. In 1997, the university became the first in the US to offer a bachelor of science degree in Baking & Pastry Arts. In 2010, it expanded its offerings to include a bachelor of science degree in Baking and Pastry Arts & Food Service Management. Today, there are nearly 1,400 undergraduates enrolled nationwide in the university’s baking & pastry programs.
About the Bread Bakers Guild of America
The Bread Bakers Guild of America, founded in 1993, is a nonprofit alliance of professional bakers, farmers, millers, suppliers, educators, students, home bakers, technical experts, and bakery owners and managers. It describes its members as a “funky, iconoclastic, independent, creative and colorful group who value and promote baking education and thrive on the lively exchange of ideas.” The Guild is today a community of 2,200 global members and counts among its membership both a veritable “Who’s Who” of celebrated artisan bakers, as well as the next generation of bakers.
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