The Bakery Cart mixes class and cuisine

Treats from the bakery cart. Photo courtesy of UAA Culinary Arts & Hospitality Administration.

You had better order fast because, as they say, the early bird gets the worm – and in this case, it is the carby goodness.

Since 2018 Chef Vern Wolfram and the Culinary Arts A111 Bakery Skills Lab has been behind The Bakery Cart, a pastry cart in the Lucy Cuddy Hall, which serves snacks on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Chef Kellie Puff said that the class teaches commercial kitchen skills and, in particular, increasing the size of batches.

Prior to COVID, the UAA community would come in person to buy the baked goods, but with the pandemic, Puff said that they “had to adapt” and put their wares online. During COVID, customers would  do curbside pickup. The purchasing is competitive, she said, considering that there is a limit to the food her class makes. 

“It opens at 10:45 and shuts down at 12:15, but it often sells out by 11 a.m.”

It is tradition that the students serve biscuits and gravy on opening day. Puff said that what they offer changes as the students learn new skills throughout the semester, but there are “staples like cookies, brownies, scones and muffins” that are always on the offering. 

“Sometimes a batch doesn’t come out quite right but is still good, so students learn how to save it by transforming it.” 

One of those items that becomes transformed is the standard ham and cheese croissant which can be turned into savory monkey bread.

On Wednesday Oct 13, I sat in my car and got online at 10:44 a.m. The website was not in action, and after a few tries, I was on. Savory monkey breads, spanakopita turnovers, and bowls of soup were ordered. Ordering was easy, but the website needed my credit card number. In the midst of ordering, product availability was reduced and adjustments had to be made. Went to the curb to meet the culinary artists who had made the food. After I chatted with the makers and teachers, I took my order to my husband’s office. The smell of food brought several coworkers to join us in the lunch room where the food was unanimously pronounced, “Delicious.”

Pickup is by the sandwich board at the Cuddy entrance facing Rasmusen Hall at Lucy’s. I spoke with some of The Bakery Cart patrons. They were UAA staff, students and others from the community. 

A graduate of the culinary arts program, Briana Brown came for her order and said that she had “good memories” of the program, as evidenced by the warm greetings between her and former classmates. Roderick Horner, a lab aid to Chef Noah Miller, shared how he got into the program after getting a nursing degree in the military. “I served three tours,” he said, “I had some great experiences, but I love cooking.”

Does the food sound good? Want to try it out? You had better act fast – the last day of operation is Oct. 20. If you miss it this time, remember that The Bakery Cart opens two weeks into the new semester, every semester. Check out their website and be ready to pounce as soon as it opens. 

The next phase of the Bakery Skills Labtakes students and the UAA community into Lucy’s, a dining experience in Cuddy Hall, opening on Nov. 3. Seating is by reservations only, though online ordering is available at Reservations for Lucy’s will be available by calling (907) 786-1122.

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