Elizabeth Weisberg, The Lighthouse Bakery
She originally trained as an art historian at Columbia University in New York; she co-authored "Great Paintings of the Western World" and developed a great career in intellectual property. However, she was prepared to leave all this behind when she decided to take the plunge and study at the National Bakery School at LSBU.
In her previous job, Elizabeth was the self-appointed office baker – the one who made the birthday cakes and other treats for co-workers. At home she cultivated a growing love of bread-baking, and read all the bread books she could lay her hands on, baking as often as she could. Slowly, she began to think seriously about a career in food. Moving to London in 1998, Elizabeth decided to study at the National Bakery School – the oldest bakery school in the world. It seemed the perfect stepping-stone for her before launching her own bakery.
"After years of home baking, it seemed the natural step to get some formal training before embarking on this business venture. I chose the National Bakery School because it seemed like the best place for practical training."
Given her aim of owning her own bakery, but lack of direct experience in a professional bakery, the course was especially useful for Elizabeth, "The teaching was extremely good and gave me an excellent foundation to open up my own bakery. In the second year we took part in an industrial simulation, where you take turns being the manager of your classmates for one day, as if working to a production schedule in a real bakery. We were responsible for all aspects of production, from recipes to the flow of production and pricing structures. It was a real challenge and brought together all of the different aspects we had learned in class."
After graduating in 2000, Elizabeth was armed with the knowledge and expertise necessary to transition from an amateur baker to a professional baker. Along with co-owner Rachel Duffield, she owned and ran The Lighthouse Bakery in Battersea, London. The pair decided to move to East Sussex in 2007 to set up the Lighthouse bakery school and a small wholesale bakery.
Thankful for her time at LSBU for laying a platform to start her own bakery, Elizabeth is keen to recommend the course to others. "I really enjoyed my two years at the National Bakery School and would recommend it to anyone that is looking for an excellent foundation in baking technology management."
Elizabeth has no regrets over her decision; she fully enjoys doing what she loves for a living. "What I like most about this industry is having the opportunity to make things by hand that is gratifying to other people. Baking provides a direct link to a craft that has been practised for generations and I find it very satisfying to be part of that unbroken chain."
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