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Josephine started the Pastry Arts program in April 2022. While at Sunflower, she did a lot of baking, packaging, braiding bread, and preparing cake batter. She gained more skills in braiding bread and decorating desserts, and is interested in getting a job at Panera Bread or Wegmans Bakery Department. Josephine enjoyed packaging pastries, making dough for cookies and bread, and making cake batter using one of the big mixers.
Abby joined the Hospitality program in July 2022. Abby decided to enroll in Sunflower because she was seeking employment but wasn’t sure which direction to take. As a student, she worked in the front of house at the Bakeshop, where she handled opening and closing duties, making drinks, and answering customers’ inquiries. A couple of Abby’s favorite aspects of her time at Sunflower was pushing herself to achieve her potential and the students and staff. After the program, she will be employed at Coffee Republic.
Ana joined Sunflower’s Pastry Arts program in October 2022. She had always baked for fun, mostly cookies and brownies, but she wanted to gain more experience and skills in baking. She was drawn to Sunflower because of its location near the Metro and the opportunity to learn and work in a supportive environment. At Sunflower, Ana is responsible for making brownies, bars and cookie dough, as well as scooping the cookie dough. She hopes to gain better work ethic and time management skills through the program. After the program. Ana wants to pursue a career in baking and then eventually go back to college to study acting.
Ty’Asia joined the Hospitality program in January 2022. At Sunflower, she worked in customer service, taking orders, handling transactions, and providing top-notch service with a smile. Ty’Asia gained valuable communication skills and knowledge about the industry through the program, with the ultimate goal of becoming a server and working directly with people. She enjoyed the supportive learning environment and the experience of working at the front of house at Sunflower.
Michael started the Hospitality program in January 2022 . At Sunflower, he assists customers with their orders and recommends pastry products. He has improved his skills working independently. After completing the program, he intends to work at a café or bakery. Michael enjoys working at Sunflower because he likes interacting with customers and making espresso drinks.
Tali started the Pastry Arts program in January 2022. Tali came to Sunflower to explore her interest in baking and gain more skills in the field. With previous baking experience, she hoped to improve her skills in working with other people and learning baking methods. Tali enjoyed making platters and appreciated the program’s flexibility in accommodating her learning style and pace. After completing the program, Tali hopes to secure a job in the baking industry.
Ryan started the Pastry Arts program in July 2022. During his time in the program, Ryan enjoyed making cookies and learning about kitchen professionalism. He is currently gaining experience in the interview process. Ryan’s favorite part of his Sunflower experience was the people, especially the chefs who were always willing to help and answer any questions he had. Additionally, he loved the feeling of accomplishment after completing a new recipe or technique.
Mark started the Pastry Arts program in July 2022. Mark has been cooking since he was 12 and has always wanted to become a chef. During his time at Sunflower, he participated in classroom training, bake offs, and stocked baked goods for sale. Mark gained professional kitchen experience and baking skills, which he can use to secure a job in the field. His dream job is to work in a professional bakery or kitchen.
Gillian started the Pastry Arts program in April 2022. Gillie joined the Pastry Arts program at Sunflower after having a wonderful experience in the summer pre-employment program in 2018. Gillie specializes in making fudge cupcakes and decorating them, as well as baking various cookies, blondies, and pies. After completing the program, Gillie will be employed at Chouquette Chocolates. While at Sunflower, Gille took pride working with everyone to achieve great results.
Andrew started the Pastry Arts program in October 2022. Andrew previously worked in retail and construction but found baking interesting and engaging. At Sunflower, Andrew learned many things including: mixing, packing, organizing, making challah, and participating in bake-offs. Sunflower allowed Andrew to feel rewarded for his work and felt the environment comfortable and engaging. After completing the program, he hopes to work in a bakery or kitchen.
Hilary joined the Hospitality program in October 2022. Hilary chose to come to Sunflower to refine her customer service skills and gain more experience in the hospitality industry. Hilary works as a hostess at Red Lobster, and wanted to further develop her communication and interpersonal skills. At Sunflower, Hilary assists customers by helping them select pastries and fixes the display. Her favorite part about Sunflower is that she can practice her customer service skills and learn more about self advocacy. She enjoys working with customers and aspires to work as a restaurant hostess with more responsibilities at the workplace.
Darius started the Pastry Arts program in January 2022. At Sunflower, he learned how to make cookies and cakes and then package and match to the correct order. During his time in the program, Darius improved his time management skills to complete tasks within a limited time frame. While his ultimate goal is to pursue a career in cybersecurity and engineering, he gained valuable skills and experience at Sunflower that will help him achieve his goals.
Roland started the Pastry Arts program in October 2022. Roland found out about Sunflower through DORS. In phase 2 of the program, he assisted the chefs with tasks such as bread making, baking cookies and recipe development. He enjoyed learning the basics and intricacies of working in a kitchen. Roland plans to get a job at a bakery after completing the program. Roland appreciated his time at Sunflower because he got to meet new chefs, discover new foods, and learn new techniques.
Alex joined the Pastry Arts program in January 2022. Alex was drawn to Sunflower because he has always been inspired by working in a kitchen or bakery, and wanted to explore a career in the field. At Sunflower, he learned about food handling and baking basic recipes. Alejandro gained independence in his work and is interested in obtaining a job in a baking or kitchen facility. At Sunflower, he enjoyed packing and bagging products such as challah, as well as restocking the freezer.
Jami started the Pastry Arts program in January 2022. At Sunflower, she honed her skills in cupcake icing and cake prep. She was most excited about gaining job experience and learning tricks of the trade, and was pleasantly surprised to thrive in the work environment. Jami hopes to secure a job decorating at a small bakery. Her favorite part of working at Sunflower was the predictability and the satisfaction of knowing the job could be done well.
Gavin started the Pastry Arts program in April 2022. Gavin joined Sunflower because he was interested in the Pastry Arts program, which would allow him to work in a field he enjoys. During his time at Sunflower, he made a variety of pastries and baked goods gaining a baseline set of skills for the industry. After completing the program, Gavin will be working at The Creamery. What Gavin liked most about working at Sunflower was the friendly and inviting atmosphere.
Melissa started the Hospitality program in January 2022. Melissa completed the Pastry Arts program in 2011 and after talking to Sara Milner, decided that the Hospitality program was the next step for her to get back in the workforce. In the Hospitality program, she learned a lot at the bakeshop, serving customers, taking orders, and making coffee drinks. After Sunflower, Melissa plans to work in a bakery or customer service role in the hospitality industry or office settings.
Alex started the Pastry Arts program in July 2022. Alex joined the program with the aim of gaining baking skills and job experience. In Phase 2 of training, Alex made various recipes, participated in bake-offs, and packed bakery items. After completing the program, Alex will be working at Chouquette Chocolates. Alex enjoyed time at Sunflower, particularly the friendly people and supportive environment.
Jeremy started the Hospitality program in July 2022. Jeremy has gained customer service skills and knowledge about all of Sunflower’s products. In Phase 2, he trained at the Bakeshop and Cafe. After completing the program, he aims to get a job in a bakery using the skills he learned in the program. Jeremy enjoys working with his coach, learning new products, and improving his customer service skills at Sunflower.
Rachael joined the Hospitality program in July 2022. The opportunity to do something interesting after the pandemic is what brought Rachael to Sunflower. At Sunflower, Rachael assists with front of house tasks such as answering phones, handling money and assisting customers. She hopes to develop her confidence and communication skills while in the program. After completing the program, Rachael hopes to pursue a career in hospitality or child care. One thing that Rachael appreciates about working at Sunflower is the sense of community. She is not the only person with a disability, and she appreciates being able to work alongside others who share her experiences.
Brian started the Pastry Arts program in July 2022. As part of his Phase 2 training, Brian read recipes thoroughly before baking, participated in bake-offs, and performed various tasks such as cubing margarine, making raspberry crumb bars, and rolling hamantaschen. Through the program, Brian improved his communication and time management skills. Brian plans to be an assistant baker at Fresh Baguette. Brian appreciated the kindness of the staff members who have supported him.
Jordan started the Pastry Arts program in October 2022. At Sunflower, Jordan’s kitchen training included baking hamantaschen for Purim, making cookie dough in the mixer, packaging treats and decorating cupcakes. Jordan improved her piping skills, and while she’s good at rolling cookies and making thumbprints, she wanted to expand her knowledge and expertise in other areas. After the program, Jordan got a job working in a small food business. Sunflower taught her how to work with others, and she enjoyed working with the chefs and colleagues, particularly Andrew and Ryan, who have become her friends. Sunflower helped Jordan realize her passion for baking by exposing her to new experiences.
Ian joined the Hospitality program in July 2022. At Sunflower, Ian assists customers, opens and closes the Bakeshop, manages inventory and helps with orders. Ian is developing his communication and customer service skills, as well as a sanitation practices. After the program, Ian hopes to find work in customer service, potentially a cafe or bookstore. What Ian likes the most about his Sunflower experience is the opportunity to help customers in a less stressful environment. He appreciates the supportive and collaborative atmosphere at Sunflower, which allows focus on developing skills while also making a positive impact on the people.
Caleb started the Pastry Arts program in July 2022. Prior to Sunflower, he had basic baking experience with his grandma, and his specialty is baking chocolate chip cookies. Caleb has learned a lot from his chef instructors and now knows how to mark bread, cut bars, and put platters together. Once he completes the program, Caleb is excited to get a job in a professional kitchen. Caleb values the friendships he has made and the opportunities he has had while working at Sunflower.
Ryan started the Pastry Arts program in October 2022. After feeling overwhelmed with college, they decided to give the program a try and gain the skills necessary to secure a job. At Sunflower, they built recipes, participated in bake offs, created buttercream and have recently been learning how to make tarts. Sunflower helped them gain more confidence in the kitchen and in food service, as well as learn more about time management and planning. After completing the program, Ryan wants to work in a bakery, preferably on a smaller scale. What Ryan appreciated most about Sunflower is the environment in the kitchen and the clear chain of command and expectations.
Aiden joined the Hospitality program in October 2022. What drew Aiden to Sunflower was the opportunity to learn the skills while also receiving assistance with job placement. Before Sunflower, Aiden worked at a Sonic drive-in but left to pursue new opportunities. At Sunflower, Aiden is responsible for a variety of front of house tasks, including making drinks, operating the POS system and restocking pastries. One skill that Aiden is focused on at Sunflower is his communication skills, particularly in customer interactions. He appreciates that everything learned in the classroom is immediately put into practice in the Bakeshop.
Tyree started the Pastry Arts program in April 2022. He enjoyed making lemon bars and cake batters while at the program. Tyree gained skills working in a fast-paced environment, using various machinery, and following recipes correctly. He aspires to work in the pastry industry, teaching others the same skills he learned. Tyree enjoyed the staff, students, and high energy work environment at Sunflower, which made the experience enjoyable for him.
Jasmine started the Pastry Arts program in April 2022. Her time at Sunflower allowed her to work with the chefs, learning and developing new techniques in baking. Her main focus was on perfecting her cupcake piping skills using new tips. Jasmine will use the skills she learned at Sunflower to find a job that allows her to bake and decorate cupcakes professionally. She enjoyed learning new skills, assisting with breads, making frosting and saying “Yes, Chef” at Sunflower.