Entering different industries such as media, food, or business can be tough due to barriers in place. Emily Kim and Heather Hodge, who met at Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle, saw this issue and decided to do something about it. They started The Pastry Project in Seattle, which offers free pastry training and important soft skills to individuals facing obstacles in the pastry industry.

We talked to Emily and Heather to learn about The Pastry Project’s beginnings, the process of creating it, securing funds, and the key lessons they’ve gained.

Founders: Emily Kim, Cofounder + Community Impact Director and Heather Hodge, Cofounder + Culinary Director
Ages: 34 and 30
Location: Seattle, WA
Education: Emily: B.A. Journalism and Political Science, University of Washington; J.D. Seattle University School of Law, LL.M. George Washington Law School
Heather: AOS Baking and Pastry, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park

Start of The Pastry Project and Why It Matters

The idea for The Pastry Project came about when Emily and Heather noticed that people facing job barriers were often ignored in the ice cream industry. Seattle lacked programs offering free specialized pastry training, prompting them to create a program that not only trains but also runs pastry workshops for the public to support free training.

Timeline from Idea to Program Launch

It took more than a year from conception to welcoming the first group, involving tasks like creating courses, finding a kitchen space, applying for grants, and recruiting candidates through partnerships with nonprofits.

Bringing Molly Moon’s Experience into The Pastry Project

Emily and Heather’s roles at Molly Moon’s smoothly transitioned into their roles at The Pastry Project, utilizing their varied experiences in community involvement, kitchen operations, and public policy to create a socially impactful pastry organization.

Overcoming Obstacles and Creating a Sustainable Environment

Obtaining a permanent kitchen in Pioneer Square was a major hurdle but essential for better access for students and involving the community in workshops, events, and retail activities.

Raising Funds and Forming Partnerships

Being a Social Purpose Corporation helped them secure grant funds from local groups and build partnerships with local businesses, providing financial aid and job opportunities for program graduates.

Professional Skills in Pastry Training

While technical skills are crucial, the focus on professional skills such as communication and attitude is equally important for a successful career in the culinary industry, a focus reflected in their curriculum.

Engaging with the Community and Promoting Sustainability through the Goody Box Program

The Goody Box program serves as a dual initiative to earn income and involve the community by showcasing student creations and encouraging local support.

Future Plans and Lessons Learned

Their future plans include expanding training facilities, offering more classes, and building stronger partnerships in the culinary community. Reflecting on their journey, they highlight the importance of time, communication, and mutual respect in sustaining their collaborative efforts.

Final Thoughts and Advice

The journey of The Pastry Project illustrates the importance of perseverance, adaptability, and self-care in entrepreneurial pursuits, providing valuable insights for aspiring social entrepreneurs.


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