By Lauri Lee
Sheryl Osinowo (Oh-shee-no-wo) moved to the Madison area a few years ago. As a late-life mom of an 11 year old and recently divorced African-American retiree, she contemplated various options to chart a new life direction. She had worked in the airline industry and as a cosmetologist, but with this new change in circumstances, she needed to secure a solid foundation for her son’s future.
Osinowo had a dream fueled for years by friends and family who enjoyed her multicultural food preparations so much they frequently urged her to open a food business. Choosing this path, she decided to offer upscale, ethnic cuisine through catering services for weddings and special events by joining forces with a professional baker friend who would provide the wedding cakes and desserts. “When the proposed venture didn’t come to fruition with my friend,” said Osinowo, “I decided to strike out on my own and learn as much as I could about the baking industry. With the hands-on training I received in the FEED Kitchen Bakery Training Program, I now have additional tools to enhance my repertoire of selections for my catering clients. I made one of the best decisions of my life when I chose to take advantage of participating in this program.”
Osinowo plans to start a catering business offering a variety of ethnic cuisines that will appeal to the American palate. “My food can best be defined as a fusion of cuisines representing the African diaspora, which is traditional African, Caribbean and African-American soul food,” said Osinowo. “I also want to package the food so the consumer can reheat, bake or drop the package into boiling water to enjoy their favorite foods.” Osinowo is not yet planning to open a brick and mortar business and would like to be located at the Madison Public Market, which is slated to open in 2019. She plans to apply to be a part of the MarketReady program to help in this process.
There is a high demand for skilled bakers and restaurant workers in Madison. Students who complete the FEED Bakery Training Program are qualified for entry-level employment as bakers in restaurants, cafes and commercial bakeries, or as a prep cook or line cook.
Making bakery items sold wholesale and retail through FEED Bakery allows students to get trained on the job. In addition to baking, students are also provided with life skills training as well as sales, marketing and customer service skills. Training also includes culinary techniques, knife skills, commercial kitchen equipment use, food safety, baking practices, product packaging and baking math. This training, combined with the ServSafe and Wisconsin Bakers certifications, helps the students to be more valuable employees to prospective employers.
The training is provided at FEED Kitchens, a certified, state-of-the-art commercial kitchen with commercial grade equipment. A consultant and managers with an accumulated 80-plus years of experience in the food service industry teach the training curriculum developed by a Master Baker and certified by the Wisconsin Bakers Association.
No prior training or experience is required to apply. Qualifying students may receive a full scholarship to the program. This is a 90-day program held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The next training class will start July 31. Please see www.feedbakery.org for the application and email the completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org or bring to FEED Kitchens at 1219 N. Sherman Ave. For questions, please contact Martee at 230-1224.