You might know the old adage: give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Well, the same could be said of baking a loaf of bread.
This month sees the launch of The Bread & Butter Project, Australia’s first social enterprise bakery, initiated by the folk at Bourke Street Bakery. On the surface, it means you’ll be able to pick up a range of loaves at a weekend market or the David Jones Food Hall. But that humble loaf will be a labour of both love and learning. It will involve a team of professional bakers from Bourke Street overseeing the training of six refugees over at the Marrickville outpost. The team’s aim? To ensure that they learn all the intricacies of baking a range of loaves in different flavours and styles. That includes fruit sourdoughs, olive and rosemary flatbreads and beer and barley sourdoughs, among others.
All profits are reinvested into the business so that budding bakers can continue their paid traineeships, earning accreditation and experience from a respected bakery. The Bread & Butter Project also aims to give trainees placement in other bakeries around Sydney to garner a breadth of experience and further refine their skills. Next year, after they’ve graduated, another 12 members from a community in need will take their place.
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It’s not a charity venture that sticks Band-Aid funding on a problem, but one that aims to teach life-long skills in a way that’s purposeful, meaningful and contributes to a food culture. Drawing on a skill that is likely to always have a demand just means that the future’s looking just a little bit brighter for all of Sydney’s bakeries.