I am just starting this artisan journey but I will say that it is hard work. As a customer it is hard to see that. If you go to the grocery store, it is taken for granted that the bread or pastry you want to buy should just be there. It may not occur to you that a human being mixed and shaped that bread or pastry in front of you assuming it is not factory made.
I have had a br ead book titled flour, water, salt, yeast by Ken Forkish for almost 3 months now but I just got to reading it. I got an order for bread bowls and I felt it was time to perfect my bread before it met the public for the first time. For a bit of info, Ken Forkish is an artisan baker in Portland, Oregon who has been open since 2001. His bread can compete with breads from France when it comes to quality. As I started reading chapter 1 – the backstory, I found myself crying midway through the chapter. In this chapter he discussed his struggles as he started the bakery. Finding a location, being in debt, complains about price of his product and the likes.
I have now been on this baking journey for 1 year total but out of that time only 4.5 months have actually been spent actually baking. The rest of the time was spent waiting for equipment, making and printing packages, testing and failing at recipes, dealing with family issues and personal health.
Although the job is rewarding, it takes a lot out of a person. Waking up at 6:30 or 7 and then proceeding to spend hours baking while standing up to pacify hungry stomachs. There is no guarantee customers will show up. There is no assurance anyone would by your product when they show up. As I read through chapter 1 my eyes could not compose themselves. I could feel the pain and struggles I have passed through to make this bakery dream work and I have barely started. I had an Idea of what I wanted to achieve before I started and I have not reached there by a longshot. Many days I walk into the kitchen and wonder what I am doing in there. I wonder why I decided to drop the promise of a steady engineering job to do this.
But after this period of reflection, I know this. Quality is what drives me. I believe good food should not be expensive unless it requires expensive ingredients or complex processes to make it. All tasks get hard, but it is important to remember why you are doing something and what your values are that make you feel the need to show up every day and perform. That I feel is what will make your work stand out in a crowd of equally qualified artisans.