Five years ago, Jack became Bake with Jack
I had an idea, ages ago. The idea was to bring people together, family and friends, around the kitchen table and make dough together. We would have tons of fun creating delicious breads and bake them in your own oven because it makes so much sense, right?
And then? We could end with a meal designed to match your breads perfectly!
I thought that would be AWESOME, but for some reason I never really thought I could make it happen, so I put it on the back burner for a while and got a new chef job in another restaurant. And another one, and another one...
I had a few good ones, and I had a few not-so-good ones. And I had a few really bad ones. I drafted up a couple of blog posts about those, but don't have the nerve to hit the publish button yet. In time...
Anyway, long story short I fell in love with learning, the buzz of knowledge of new cooking techniques and ingredients. Being shown exactly how to do it right first hand in the minutest detail, there really is no substitute, and then practicing to get it just right. I loved it and still do.
Learning and teaching come hand in hand, so I thought to myself "Wow, wouldn’t it be incredible to be a teacher? I would see that buzz in the eyes of others every day!”
After a little research I found out that if I took one part-time college course it would lead on to another. Then, after that second course I'd be qualified to teach what I was already qualified in myself... Cookery.
So, I got a job in a restaurant front of house for a change, which meant I could do eight shifts a week instead of nine. Then on the ninth shift I could go to college, and that's what I did.
I passed course number one and the feeling of being “back at school” was great!
When I arrived at enrolment day, I was excited to sign up for the second course. "What's your degree?" Said the lady at the college. "Er, I don't have a degree" I said. "Well you need a degree to sign up to this course."
"A degree in what?"
So, I didn't. I couldn’t. Yeah sure, I could have studied a degree alongside everything else and it would have taken five years or so and cost a TON of money, but it wasn't really a possibility at that time and it certainly wasn't part of the plan.
I got a new chef job in another restaurant.
A few more jobs later and I'd had enough. I was out. It was over. I still was a chef but never again in a restaurant. I moved to a different part of the industry.
It's funny how things happen sometimes, how unpleasant times pushed me to do something more, and I am grateful for those times. A year passed, and I got itchy again and started ringing around. I found out that with the tiny qualification I had, I could teach Adult Education. For a year or so I designed and taught courses in kitchen skills, cookery, bread making and pasta. I loved it, it was a lot of work alongside my job but it was such a great experience. I was so nervous at the beginning, but as time passed, so did the nerves.
All of a sudden, that little idea on the backburner seemed a little more possible than it did before.
Then I got to work.
On April 20th 2013 the Bake with Jack website went live! (Not this one, another one!) I made a business card, then I printed a couple of ropey looking flyers off my computer and popped them in the post office. An advert in a paper here and a flyer there and I got my first booking!
That was FIVE YEARS AGO!
I can't believe it. Today I do a lot of other things, but the original Bake with Jack experience remains as the "learn at home" private bread making course with a meal. For five years I have been invited into your kitchens to host my courses and what they are now are far from what they used to be. They have evolved over time, we do so much more, and it's a much slicker operation! And I've loved every single one since.
I have been made SO welcome in homes all over, and that is a big deal for me. Whether it's family coming together in the holidays from university, or a Birthday celebration, a Hen party, Stag do, anniversary, Mother’s Day celebration, the christening of a brand new kitchen, friends catch up, every single one over the years has been so enjoyable and it really touches me that I can be part of those moments.
So, whatever your link is with me, thank you! It could be that this blog post is the first time we met, but even just reading this is playing a part in the future of Bake with Jack.
Five years is quite a milestone, but Bake with Jack is still so young. There's LOADS more that I'd like to do and will do in the next five years, and the next five years after that.