Listening to directions at Panera Bakers in Training Program
I first heard of Panera Bread’s new Bakers in Training Program 3 months ago through a group my kids are part of. I signed up immediately, as I always look for activities that help my kids learn more about food supply, kitchen tools, and makes them more comfortable with cooking.
I love Panera food and I think the Bakers in Training concept is right, but Panera misses the mark as it had a fantastic platform to educate kids about baking and they didn’t leverage it. Here are my reasons why I believe Panera misses the mark:
1) The kids didn’t get to ‘make their own bread’, instead the dough was already pre-made and all they did was mold it into a log for baking. There was no mixing, measuring or kneading. It was all already done for them. Perhaps a minute or two on the ingredients would have been great. Even better would have been having them mix their batch. It doesn’t have to get complicated. My 6 year old has learnt from summer camp that you can make a simple bread with 5 ingredients.
2) I believe an introduction to some of the tools would have been fabulous. Which kid wouldn’t love to see a big whisk?
3) As part of the class, my kids got to decorate a cookie. Again, there was no talk on how cookies are made etc.. Essentially I paid $20 per child ($40 total) to mold a bread, go inside the kitchen for 5 minutes and decorate a cookie. I didn’t think it was worth it, considering you can eat out for $40 as a family.
4) The kids baked two breads, however they were “required” to give one way to a shelter. Giving is an important value for kids to learn, but giving without understanding why you are giving or not giving the kids the option to decide if they want to give their bread away give misses the learning lesson for the kids.
Bakers in Training is a social program. For now, if you can get 10 kids together at $20/child, you can arrange for a social activity of coloring, molding bread and decorating a cookie. You will still need to be at the location as it is not a drop off activity. This is a group social activity.
Cookie decorating at Panera