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Natalie Sullivan
Natalie Sullivan

Casey Callahan

Chef/Co-Founder | Raising the Bar Bakery

Briefly describe your job and responsibilities.

Co-owner of local scratch bakery. Scheduling, food ordering and delivery, food prep organization/planning. Opening and closing of bakery. Menu planning for week, month, and special occasions.

What does a “typical” day at work look like for you?

We begin prepping/baking about 2 hours before doors open. We follow a solid plan of bread baking followed by filling the shop with desserts prepared the day before and continue baking throughout the day to refill and prepare for the following day.

What was your first job in the hospitality industry?

Externship for culinary school at Philadelphia Downtown Marriott. Very intense and grueling but rewarding experience.

When did you know this industry was right for you?

The moment I started school. My first day was terrifying and thrilling all at the same time. Once I made the decision to start school I have never looked back.

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to where you are today.

I attended HACC after high school and continued as an art history major at Temple University. The beginning of my senior year I made the decision to drop out. Later that year my sister (who may have been worried I needed direction in my life) had me attend an open house at The Restaurant School. I was hooked the moment they began to talk – I owe it to my sister to see that I had a talent for something I did not really know you could make a career out of.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The physical work. I enjoy having a list and getting it all done properly. Working so closely with customers there is instant feedback, and you get to see people really enjoy and appreciate something you have created. I have also been very lucky to meet and work with some very awesome people.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

As a business owner it is assessing how much food to prepare. Since we are small and bake 80% of our food fresh daily it is important that we have enough product to please customers, but not so much that there is too much waste at the end of the day. We do not sell many of our items the second day.

What advice would you give to students interested in your profession?

It can be so rewarding, but you need to really ask yourself what path you are interested in taking. Corporate baking/pastry can take you all over the world and introduce you to so many aspects of the profession, but the hours can be long and grueling. It is a physically demanding job, so if working for 10 hours on your feet doesn’t sound like fun, it may not be the best plan. It is very important to be excited and to love baking, but it is not all cupcakes and creating. It is daily chores and tasks that you do over and over.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I have a lot of little things I am proud of – even just handing someone a fresh, beautifully baked croissant makes me sooooo happy. Absolutely it would be opening a bakery with my partner. I never planned on having my own space. It was never a path I was interested in. Now I cannot imagine not doing this! I do believe the path I took brought me to this point. There is no way I could have accomplished this earlier in my career.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Typical mom – spend time with my kids and husband. I read a lot and run.

What is your favorite food to make or eat?

I love pasta. I do not make fresh pasta very often, but I really like to try different sauces.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

To travel. Like so many people in our profession I really want to visit Italy and Spain. However, I am really drawn to visiting more of our own country, so we have been planning all the different places we would like to see here at home like the pacific northwest.