Jan 172011
Authors: Erin Udell

Walking through the Oval on weekday mornings, students and faculty might get mysterious cravings for baked goods after catching a whiff of the aroma of freshly baked doughnuts and pastries.

While many people don’t even know it exists, tucked between Johnson and Centennial halls, CSU’s bakeshop has been providing fresh, baked goods to every dining hall on campus since its move to the Oval in 1968.

With a staff of nearly 20, most bakeshop employees start working at about 3 a.m. and stay until the early afternoon to produce hundreds of dozens of cookies, pastries and various desserts.

A normal day in the life of lead bread baker Jason Gonzales includes opening the shopat 1 a.m., mixing dough and preparing bread until about 9 a.m.

Although most of the bakeshop employees can say their day is over before some college students roll out of bed, it doesn’t seem to bother them.

“I actually love my hours,” Gonzales said. “I’m a big golfer, so in spring and summer I get off around nine and am on the course right after.”

Bakeshop Director Joan Smith has worked at the shop for more than 25 years and oversees the day-to-day processes of the year-round operation, which also provides baked goods for catering around campus, conferences, summer school and Pingree Park, CSU’s mountain campus.

“I grew up in the business; my father owned a bakery,” Smith said. “It’s my life, it’s in my blood and it’s fun.”

Smith’s passion is contagious and can be seen throughout the bakeshop’s small setup, from the student workers preparing granola, to baker and employee of the year Kendy Doty, putting finishing touches on a cake.

“This is what I like to do,” Doty said. “I don’t care if I have to wake up at 3 a.m. to do what I like. I’d rather be doing this than sitting at a desk any day.”

Doty started working in the bakery business when she was a teenager. She first learned how to work the cash register at Vern’s Place, a restaurant in Laporte, once owned by her aunt and uncle.

She learned how to bake and eventually started working at CSU, joining a staff of seven bakers who have more than 157 years of combined experience, Smith said.

The bakeshop staff eventually hopes to take its expertise to a new, revamped kitchen in Edwards Hall later this year, but until then they’ll continue to enjoy their home on the Oval and one of the
best perks of being a baker: free treats.

“It’s kind of nice, but after a while it’s like, ‘Eh, I don’t think I need another donut today,’” Gonzales said.

Senior Reporter Erin Udell Can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Bakery Bites

  • CSU Bakeshop that bakes all the pastries and desserts for the dorms and catering
  • It was originally part of the Student Union Kitchen before moving to the building on the Oval in 1968
  • Opens at 1 a.m. and closes in the early afternoon
  • There are nearly 20 employees who work at the bakery
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