JWU Student Finds Niche in Local Business

Johnson & Wales has always had a reasonable number of selling points for prospective Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry students. Some students are attracted because of the culinary and baking labs, which are led by industry professionals and are meant to reflect what working in the industry is like. Many others are drawn in by the university’s location here in Providence, since the city has such a rich culture and significant food scene.

Katie Sullivan, JWU ‘17 is one of those who came here for this exact reason. A hardworking student with an Associate’s Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and a Bachelor’s in Food Service Management, Sullivan walked at graduation in May and is just finishing her last term of academics now. She has worked for multiple different businesses in the industry, including a current position as a Teaching Assistant at City Burger, but she has most recently found herself working at Providence Bagel. A relatively new local business, this bagel shop opened its doors last January on North Main Street, and its popularity has spread all throughout the city. All bagels are made fresh, in-house every morning, along with various cream cheeses that they mix there (excluding their vegan cream cheese). Providence Bagel also sells coffee as well.

When asked how JWU has helped prepare her for working in the industry, Sullivan said, “The work ethic I learned from working with my chefs in baking labs definitely helped prepare me for working at Providence Bagel.” She proceeds to explain the very precise process in which bagels are made, and attributes her understanding of the baking process and her time management skills entirely to her time spent here at the university.

In comparison to JWU labs, Sullivan said that working at Providence Bagel is a much more casual work environment, not requiring any formal uniform because of the informal nature of the Providence Bagel brand. “In labs,” Sullivan explains, “there’s 20-30 students typically. At Providence Bagel, we don’t have more than two bakers on at a time and I work shifts with just me in the back, so it’s a lot more independent. It requires a lot more confidence to be in the kitchen at work than it did in labs.”

During the interview process for her current position at Providence Bagels, Sullivan naturally included JWU on her resume, and it really helped get her foot in the door. The head baker there is a JWU alumni who followed the same path Sullivan is on now, creating an instant connection between the two. She also said that when people see JWU on a resume, it conveys a level of professionalism when they see the culinary or baking degree.

Since Providence Bagel is only a 10-minute drive from Gaebe Commons, Sullivan strongly recommends eating there. Not only do they have a drive through window and nitro cold-brew coffee (which is loaded with caffeine), they also have a 20 percent off discount for all college students who show their ID when they are paying. She also recommends the blueberry bagel toasted with butter, which has real blueberries in the dough. So, take some time and check out this hot breakfast spot, try one of their 20 different bagel flavors, and support a local business that supports Johnson and Wales.

Michael dePascale Jr.

Staff Writer 

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for covering a J&W baking student in The Herald! As one of three Department Chairs for the International Baking & Pastry Institute, I'd like to point out there are never more than 20 students in a lab class and often there are less than 20. Academic classes may contain this many students but not our hands-on labs. Thanks again for the coverage, Chef Richard Miscovich, M.B.A., CBB Associate Professor | Dept Chair International Baking & Pastry Institute Johnson & Wales University | Providence, RI | 02906

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