Submitted by Melissa Reynen, Marketing Manager
Lucky students at Santa Clara University have been enjoying the irresistible smell of fresh-baked breads— not to mention the taste of flaky croissants, healthy muffins, decadent Danishes, and succulent scones.
SCU’s Nobili Bakery, a commissary-style bakery at the Santa Clara,CA, university, first “rolled out” last fall, after two years in the making, and continues to add new offerings and partnerships. General Manager Bob Lubecky championed the idea, with tremendous support from Jane Barrantes of SCU’s Auxiliary Services department. Their shared enthusiasm and teamwork enabled the bakery to get started with state-of-the art mixers and a high-capacity oven. Executive Chef Michael Brinkmann assisted with planning and assessing how the on campus bakery would best serve the campus and its catering requirements.
Shortly after the opening, Pastry Chef Didier Laborde joined the team and helped launch the next phase: daily desserts for cafés, such as cake slices,miniature pies, and a few upscale and fun treats such as chocolate- dipped cheesecake lollipops, plus plated desserts for special-event catering.
Born in France,Pastry Chef Didier Laborde began his apprenticeship at the Bordeaux Culinary Academy and moved to the United States in 1984. He worked for a number of prestigious corporations as a private pastry chef before moving into the hospitality industry in Reno, NV. Didier was indeed lured by both the California climate—“helpful for producing good breads” —and the ability tomake nearly 90 percent of goods from scratch with local ingredients.
Didier helped realize an even broader dream of Bob’s, which was to make the most of a new Farm to Fork supplier, Taste California of Union City. Taste California supplies 2,000 pounds of locally harvested and milled flour per week, which adds to phase three of the bakery rollout: an incredible bread program featuring 15 kinds of breads daily. SCU now has all its catering and concessions bakery items produced on campus, down to the dinner rolls and hamburger buns. A team of eight runs the bakery and produces more than 10,000 pieces per week!
Although a lot has been accomplished already in such a short time, the SCU baking team’s long-term goals include partnering with local Bon Appétit accounts to assist in providing true Farm to Fork baked products for special events such as the Eat Local Challenge or even daily needs.The bakery is also considering expanding the selection of retail products and prepackaged bakery items. Didier has already produced well-received special Mother’s Day truffles and other special baked treats that have lured new customers and increased revenue. The Adobe Lodge at SCU has benefited from Didier’s many talents; he enjoys creating wedding cakes and delivered SCU’s first one to a very happy wedding couple this spring. And inspired by Adobe Lodge Executive Chef/Manager Tiana Driggins, Didier hopes to begin offering baking classes. (The Lodge features quarterly popular cooking classes for faculty, staff, and guests.)
The SCU community was invited to enjoy Nobili Bakery as part of the spring showcase of Mission Catering, the Adobe Lodge’s catering arm. The afternoon drew an overwhelmingly supportive crowd that indulged in a large variety of samples from the everyday bakery menu, as well as a selection of preboxed mini pastries and full-size cakes. Sales were brisk, and sample tasting was even brisker! The event brought twice as many guests as expected, as word spread through texts and social media.
Don’t worry, SCU: Even though the samples disappeared quickly, the Nobili Bakery is here to stay!