Monday, November 12, 2012

The Baking Family

From the time that human's realized wheat, cultivated it, milled it and baked it.......

Most of the people who plugged into this industry did so because their family had done it for generations.

This was true even at the begining of the 80's when I went to Bakers School.

I attended a place called Dunwoody Instatute, and at that point of time, it had a pristine reputation for producing some of the finest bakers in the world.

The year I went, there was only a couple us that actually came from Minnesota, since most of the students came from strong baking famlies from across the nation.

Day after day poor Klecko had to sit there and listen to how Johnny's grandpa used to make their apple fritters out in Ohio, or how Milos and his gypsy clan had been making rye breads across the pacific northwest for generations.

Klecko pretty much was a baking orphan.

I don't bring this up to draw pity.......

Well maybe I do, but I guess what I'm wanting to make sure to document is that for centuries, recipes....and more important yet, techniques were handed down through famlies.

Now that those days are gone, I guess I shouldn't judge whether its bad or good.....

But I do think most of us tend to feel a little sad when traditions begin to fade.

One thing I have found ironic in the commercial baking world is now that so-so many of these family concepts are gone for good.....

Throughout the years I never had a dad or an uncle to confide in, plot stategy or build an empire with, but yet I chose to stay in the field.

After the first 5 years of working in the industry, my Bread Master - Dick Kiwus called me into a room and asked me what I thought I would do with my career.

I think I said something like .......

"I will become the Indiana Jones of this industry and travel to exotic lands, conquers their recipes and "hang out" with there women."

The old man laughed and told me......

"You're still an idiot. If you want people to take you serious, just shut your f****** mouth and stay in one place. If you do this, and you get me kid, the world will come to you."

I'm sure some of you who are reading this are in my've been established in a career/concept for years, and in that time you've seen a lot of people come and go.

Typically most of the people that use an industry for a pit stop are the people who are not networked.

If you have family or friends in "The Show" it sure makes it a lot easier to gain some traction.

So why does Klecko think he outlasted so many others?

Truth be told.....little of it had anything to do with my passion or commitment.

There has been several occasions were I thought about hanging up my baking whites.

But now that I think back, it is important for me to remember, and doccument for future L.A.B. Rats that if Danny Klecko has ever baked anything that has pleased anyone, it has to do with the fact that his mentors were his family.

We might not have shared bloodlines, but I will pledge to you in front of the Saints from Warsaw that the following gentlemen can take pride in all of my accomplishments.

Master Dick Kiwus

Master Pete Nowicki

Master Spencer Ludke

Wherever you are, know that I have not, nor will I ever take your generous spirts for granted.


  1. Great post. It reminds me of the title of one of Robert Bly's books: "In gratitude to teachers."

    1. Thanks Richard. Bly is quite a source. Big thumbs up...................