22 Aug 2014
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Baking With Love

North Montco Technical Career Center's new bakery is open for business twice a week. This week marked its special Valentine's Day concoctions

was baking with love this week.

Wednesday and Thursday marked the grand opening days of the school’s weekly bake sale.

In fact, every Wednesday and Thursday, from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m., and again from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., the new bakery will be open to the public to purchase cookies, cakes, pies, bread and the like.

This week, however, concoctions were of the special Valentine kind – heart-shaped cookies, cupcakes and pink and white swirled cookies.

“We did it purposely because Valentine’s Day is coming,” said head instructor Alan DeLong. “We also sell them on the lunch line. Every week is something different, depending on what the kids are working on.”

The bakery and restaurant is part of the school’s new two-year, $12 million renovation. It celebrated the grand opening of the bakery in December.

“We were one of the only career centers in the state that didn’t have a restaurant and bakery for our career students,” DeLong said.

The prior setup was half bakery and half culinary arts area.

A baking program has been at North Montco for more than 20 years.

The new bakery is stocked with new ovens, mixers, proofers, food processers and the like.

“I’m in Heaven,” said DeLong.

The public reaction over the past two days to the bakery has been great.

“It exceeded my expectations,” DeLong said.

Suzette McHugh, industry partnership coordinator for the center, said the first two visitors arrived at the same time on Wednesday, garnering them free tote bags.

“The 25th visitor got a $5 gift certificate and the 50th visitor got one too. We might continue with that for increments of 25,” she said.

DeLong wanted to make it clear – the center’s bakery is not in competition with other bakeries in the area.

“It’s an outlet for the students. They have to bake and those things have to go somewhere. And it’s a little less expensive,” DeLong said.

About 45 students are enrolled in the bakery program at North Montco, which serves student from five different school districts and two private schools.

“Hopefully, someday they will attend culinary school or pastry school,” he said.

What’s cooking, er, that is, baking next week to quench the hungry palate?

“You never know,” said DeLong. “The students work on a required task list and sometimes I throw things on it to see how they sell.”

There is one thing to look forward to – peanut butter eggs, coconut cream eggs and butter cream eggs, right in time for Easter.

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