Just across the street from campus and convenient for your morning stroll to class, the Santa Rosa Junior College bakery offers blended coffee drinks and fresh, student-baked pastries, all organic.
Many students have no idea the bakery exists. Some think it is far off-campus, with strange hours, so marketing is difficult for the business. The bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday — with prices nearly half what you’ll find at Starbucks.
Unfortunately, according to Laurita Gaudioso and Yetzin Perez, the baristas who work at the bakery and are SRJC students themselves, fewer than 5 percent of customers are fellow students. The bakery serves everything from hot chocolate to espresso and a variety of both savory and sweet breakfast foods. These will keep you full until lunch when you return for an ever-expanding menu of fast, homemade and all 100 percent organic lunch foods. The menu contains a variety of soups, salads and sandwiches that change daily, and there are plans to add even more to the selection.
Joan Tam is a regular of the bakery who has been visiting ever since it moved to its new location on Mendocino Avenue. Tam comes in a few times a week to order decaf coffee and anything else in the bakery case that looks good, such as chocolate filled croissants, cream cheese and blueberry galettes and poppy seed chiffon cake.
Barbara Doble has a daughter in the baking program and has visited the bakery to try her daughter’s products a few times a week since she started at the school. “It’s quality baked goods, and it’s delicious. It’s been extremely positive to come in and support the students,” Doble said.
Next door to the bakery is SRJC’s own Culinary Café, which sports 32 tables and can seat 60 to 100 customers at a time. While it may not be the best place to grab a quick bite on your lunch break since you usually need a reservation, the café is sure to impress. The café, 100 percent staffed by students, is a perpetually growing and evolving source of income for the culinary department. It has proven essential in the constant upholding of its high-quality standards.
None of this would be possible without the new building, finished in 2012, in which houses these establishments.
Shelly Kaldunski, culinary instructor and one of the coordinators of the bakery, spoke about the specific advantages of the bakery and its new building. “A quick jaunt across Mendocino – and our bakery is accessible to faculty, staff and students on the Santa Rosa campus at last,” Kaldunski said. “We are able to train the next generation of chefs and bakers for the truly diverse Wine Country food scene which awaits them. Our building is most spectacular when filled with the energy of these excited students.”