From Badass Baker to Teacher

A year ago, I was pondering the idea of teaching baking classes. Bill Hildebrandt mentioned it to me as a way to get people into the building and as a way to grow my business. I needed another stream of revenue for the winter because people tend to “go healthy” January 1st for a couple of weeks (or days)…for the record, 41 and still not “going healthy” anytime soon:)

I posted a tarts class in January, no one signed up, I thought, ok maybe its bad timing, Let’s try February and see what happens. I set up my first class and had 3 people sign up and at the last minute 4 more people. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had never taught a baking class before. I had managed bakers at previous jobs so I figured it is not totally foreign to me. I got this.

I am not a planner by nature, I am very scattered and ADD pretty much all the time. The kitchen somehow helps calm the chaos in my brain. I just start going and doing and somehow magic happens. I am in my element, I am focused for a bit and I just go. It is kind of like an out of body experience.

My first class had friends in it and a couple new students. I started talking and the rest just happened. The students were happy, I was happy. Success!! I set up more classes and people kept on signing up. Some classes had a few people, some had a lot of people. I had no idea how many people I could manage alone. My biggest class was 13 people.

My goals for teaching:

  1. You create your own unique product and take it home, every time. I saw too many classes that were all about decorating. You show up, pay $80, you are handed a box of pre-made product and sit for 2 hours decorating your pre-baked product that may or may not taste good. (Truth is that most of those cookies that are beautiful are TERRIBLE) Why? because not everyone can bake AND decorate. Personally, I don’t have the patience to spend 2 hours decorating 10 cookies.

  2. You work in a real commercial kitchen. The decorating classes that take place are usually in a space that does not have a kitchen. I prefer to be in a kitchen, so do my students. I am super grateful to have access to the historic Hildebrandt and the amazing commercial kitchen that Bill put in.

  3. Fun is highly encouraged- take pictures, let loose, BYOB, let go of all the rules.

  4. Inspire my students and learn from them- My students are passionate about baking, are fun, creative people and I am always honest with them about lessons I have learned from mistakes, I teach them how to shortcut certain steps and make things less overwhelming. They inspire me constantly to keep on challenging myself and letting go.

Since February, I have taught 12 different topics, held private gatherings for friends, family members, birthdays, date nights, book clubs, hosted a kids birthday party. I had a student come all the way from India, students come from all over Ohio, NY, all over Cleveland. I have children come with their parents as part of a fun outing with each other, people come by themselves that are looking for something fun to do and new thing to learn. I had a student sign up for my class after receiving a bone marrow transplant so she had something fun to do once she was able to go out again.

My students have become friends, my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. They have inspired me to keep doing what I love. I am learning countless lessons about appreciating the science of pastry, and I am hoping that they are all feeling less intimidated about baking in general.

Every single time someone signs up for a class it brings a huge smile to my face. I get that email saying someone has purchased tickets to a class and it is truly rewarding on so many levels. I have students that return again and again and again. I am humbled, honored, and so grateful that each of my students choose me. I look forward to finding new topics, seeing new faces and all of my favorite returning students.

One of my students said they could not wait to come to my school:) Talk about a day maker!

You can book private parties of 5 or more people by contacting me @ You can help pick the date and topic. Gift Certificates are available as well.




Ann LoParoComment