Despite being on the other side of the world, the Australian baking industry has played an important role in keeping a US-based baking institute afloat.
The San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI), which operates out of California, has trained thousands of international bakers since opening in 1996, including a number of Australian chefs and bakers.
Due to a delay in the processing of its registration documents however, the small, family-owned and operated school was ordered to cease and desist in January by the Californian government. Since the school relies on delivering classes to generate revenue, this suspension would have led to a permanent closure.
As soon as word got out, the international baking community began to voice their support for the institute. In Australia, Southern Cross Baking Group vice president Will McPhail contacted the relevant bureau in the US and explained how important SFBI is to the promotion of innovation and skills in the Australian baking industry.
Ultimately, the grassroots support from around the world was successful, and the institute was given permission to keep its doors open while the paperwork was processed.
“It’s great news and a good reminder that bureaucratic departments do listen to community groups if they work together to be heard,” Will said. “I’m sure the efforts of groups in the US were far more involved than ours, but it’s important to recognise that we must look out for our peers and always do what is best for the future of our industry.”
SFBI founder and owner Michel Suas said the pressure applied by US and overseas baking groups helped the institute form an alliance within the Californian government’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.
“[Our alliance] has helped us to regain legal status to operate, effective immediately. We cannot express enough our gratitude to you all for your kind words and massive effort to keep our school alive,” Michel said.