The center of the bread universe will rise over JWU’s College of Culinary Arts when 150 artisan educators, bakers, chefs, and food professionals convene for Wheat Stalk 2018, February 27 – March 1. Organized by the Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA), this invitation-only event brings the top bread professionals together for a comprehensive immersion into the art, science, craft, and technology of bread. Participants will learn and improve techniques, share ideas, and build community through hands-on classes, lectures, and demonstrations.
International Baking & Pastry Arts Department Chair Richard Miscovich, a past BBGA board member, believes that "bread is a social leveler," and was instrumental in bringing the event to Providence for the first time. The event occurs every few years and has been held throughout the U.S.
Nearly 700 people applied for Wheat Stalk 2018's lottery-style invitation, open primarily to BBGA members. Dozens of JWU students are skipping their "spring break" and staying on campus to volunteer, participate, and network with the "Olympians" of the bread world.
Presenters and attendees include James Beard Award winners, internationally-decorated chefs and bakers, old school and new school trailblazers, bakers, millers and growers:
- Joanne Chang, chef and co-owner of Flour Bakery + Café, Boston; 2016 James Beard winner "Outstanding Baker;" author of Flour, Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery+Cafe, and Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery.
- Hubert Chiron, fourth-generation baker from southern Bretagne, France. A master baker and head of the experimental bakery at INRA (National Institute for Agronomic Research).
- Members of JWU’s International Baking & Pastry Institute – Lauren Haas, Mitch Stamm, Richard Miscovich, Harry Peemoeller.
In addition to the upcoming Wheat Stalk 2018, JWU held the first "International Bread Symposium" at its Charlotte Campus in April 2017 where bakers, historians, scholars and millers gathered to explore the future of bread. It was led by JWU Chef Peter Reinhart, an author and bread aficionado. The second symposium will take place again in Charlotte, April 26-28, 2018.