“Elbow five, Grace!”
Gloved hands in the air, covered in icing and crumbles from the hazelnut brownies they’d just finishing cutting, Grace and Phebe smiled widely as they jokingly tapped elbows like hands in a high-five.
This kind of goofy exchange and bright-eyed encouragement is common at Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery; that’s part of what makes it such an inviting space.
That, and the fact that co-owners Amanda & Phebe are using their business to enrich our community by partnering with us in our newest endeavor: an apprenticeship that prepares youth to work in the food-service & baking industry.
Grace, the recipient of that elbow five, is the first Nuflours & New Horizons kitchen apprentice.
Phebe looks on as Grace learns the art of making pristinely cut brownies.
THE BEGINNING OF AN EXCITING PARTNERSHIP
Nuflours began popping up at farmer’s markets and selling wholesale in 2011 until its first storefront opened in 2014. Since then, their reputation for making some of Seattle’s finest baked goods has catapulted them to gluten-free pastry stardom and grown their start-up into a thriving business.
But Amanda & Phebe didn’t only want a successful bakery – they wanted to use their success to help others and to encourage upward mobility for young people whose backgrounds might not have afforded the same opportunities as theirs.
Pictured left to right: Amanda, Grace, and Phebe.
Fast-forward to 2016: as we were working out the kinks of the kitchen apprenticeship we’d begun in 2016 with the hope of offering food service experience in our commercial kitchen, Amanda had an idea baking in the oven: she was searching online for organizations to partner with, particularly those that worked with youth, and she found us.
She attended a community tour, shared her idea with us, and shortly thereafter, our kitchen apprenticeship moved to a Capitol Hill kitchen that smells like it’s blessed daily by God Himself, where Grace now reports for duty and dons a flour-spattered apron a few times each week.
BUILDING IN-DEMAND SKILLS
This new apprenticeship will be similar to Street Bean’s, but in lieu of barista talents Grace will be honing skills in gluten-free product preparation and baking, skills that will give her indispensable experience in an industry that’s only getting more popular.
And her training seems to be off to a quite a start.
Both Amanda and Phebe heaped Grace with unsolicited praise, lauding her natural abilities in the bakery. They shared that very few people begin with the talent Grace brings to the job, especially when it comes to details like icing and adding finishing touches to brownies like the ones that prompted the elbow five.
Grace one day hopes to open her own bakery, and this apprenticeship is the beginning of a path that could make that dream a reality, all while helping Grace earn a stipend and work toward more immediate stability. It’s the beginning of a partnership we hope many youth will benefit from as they work toward stability.
And that, I think, is worthy of an elbow five.
Check out Nuflours online and pay them a visit in Capitol Hill soon, where your treat may’ve been made by Grace!