Hot Racks Bakery. It’s not easy to design and furnish your own business and start baking in large quantities, always wondering which products will be popular and which won’t.
But it’s also very exciting. “The freedom to bake what we want is awesome,” says Andrée. Her goal is to produce fantastic food that people love so that by the end of the day all the shelves are empty.
Learning the trade
Andrée was a dental assistant and dental sales rep. for many years, but she had always dreamed of becoming a baker. She finally took the plunge and enrolled in the Baking program at NAIT in Edmonton. She fell in love with bread-making – taking the time to make it from scratch and delighting in the final product as it emerged from the oven. Andrée works with 100% scratch ingredients and carefully nurtures her two natural sourdough cultures that will be three years old in May.
While she was at NAIT, Andrée met Anna Chernichan. Anna followed up on the one-year program at NAIT by taking the Baking and Pastry Arts program at SAIT in Calgary. Her specialties are cakes, pastries, cake decorating and meat cutting.
The two women complement each other and working together gives them the opportunity to focus their attention on their individual specialties. Anna makes scones, tarts and pies, while Andrée sets to and makes a wide range of breads – from roasted potato and onion to golden walnut raisin, focaccia and naan bread.
Andrée explains that the bakery’s focus is on quality. “We make everything from scratch,” she explains, “so we can’t make as wide a range of products. We won’t compromise on quality, so we make a limited quantity of certain things.”
A number of customers have requested a gluten-free bread, and Andrée says she is open to doing it if she can find a good product that turns out well and tastes good.
The bakery also buys local meat and honey to make hot and sweet beef jerky, and Andrée has started making tourtières (French meat pies) using her mother’s recipe.
There is a daily sandwich special; Andrée says her personal favourite is Saturday’s turkey club on sourdough.
Thoroughly modern bakery
Hot Racks Bakery makes extremely effective use of social media, thanks to Andrée’s husband and business partner, Warren Bobinski. The bakery started posting well before the doors were open and had an eager crowd waiting at the door when they had a soft opening for Facebook and Twitter followers.
It’s very helpful to be able to go online and check out the menu and the daily specials. The bakery is also planning some special deals for their online followers, so be sure to check them out on Facebook or @Hotracksbakery.
Neighbourhood scratch bakery
The bakery team is eager to grow along with their new neighbourhood. They are pleased to take lunch-time sandwich orders from local businesses and will happily set aside products if you phone ahead (373-7225).
It’s good to find a small, locally-owned bakery amidst the big box stores and chain restaurants. Do drop by and visit with the bakery staff and enjoy some of their fresh-made goodies.