Student-run bakery in Gloucester County reopens after pandemic pause

You can find the bakery inside the Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Student-run bakery in South Jersey reopens after pandemic pause
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YUM! The Fresh Start Bakery is fully operational. Students are whipping up pepperoni bread, doughnuts, pies and more.

SEWELL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- At Fresh Start Bakery in Sewell New Jersey, the real work begins when the bell rings.

The bakery is inside the Gloucester County Institute of Technology, and it recently reopened to the public for the first time in 18 months.

"The students do production for the store. We also have a staff cafe," said Daneen Clark, the Baking and Pastry Arts teacher at Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

"I was actually super excited about it because I knew we'd be a lot busier than we were last year," said Amanda Pepe, a sophomore from Mantua Twp.

Apart from COVID-19 restrictions, Clark says there just wasn't enough in-person baking students last year to keep the bakery stocked.

"We would have four to five seniors come in to work, where normally that class was 28 students," said Clark.

Now the commercial bakery is fully operational, and students are whipping up pepperoni bread, doughnuts, pies and more.

"Instead of making three of something, we're making 10-20," laughed Adrianna Cinelli, a sophomore from Washington Twp.

Any money that's made from the sale of baked goods helps to keep the program running.

But the students say it's the experience that's really valuable.

"Kids come after school to get it, and it's just good when you see them walking around with your stuff," said sophomore Raygen Huntsinger from Elk Township.

"They get to see what it's like working in a busy production kitchen, which is awesome for them," said Clark.

After baking for practice for more than a year, these sweets are made with a little extra love.

"Somebody could, say, go into the store and buy a brownie, and that brownie could maybe cheer up their it makes you feel really nice," said Pepe.

While the bakery is not currently taking custom orders, the students are preparing for their large Thanksgiving and Christmas bake sales. It's a huge undertaking they're excited to bring back this year.

The bakery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.