During times of stress, it is especially crucial to pay attention to the things that sustain us. We renew our appreciation for our daily bread. And while we are socially distancing, we especially appreciate food that is both nutritious and an exciting treat. The Media Bakers Guild is continuing to supply this. Baked goods from the Media Bakers Guild will be at Wolff’s tomorrow (March 21), but the members of the guild will not be staying around to socialize this time, as much as they would like to!
Since you can’t meet them in person right now, consider this blog your chance to meet them virtually!
The Media Bakers Guild has three members: Jerry Sheehan, Terry Maguire, and Chris Parsons.
How The Bakers Met
Jerry, Terry and Chris met each other at the Sterling Pig Brewery in Media, though all at different times. Jerry and Terry both spent time at the Sterling Pig, where Jerry used the brewery’s wood-burning oven for baking. Although Terry had a background in baking, people at Sterling Pig didn’t know this. He and Jerry just happened to strike up a friendship and kept meeting for beers until finally they both decided to start selling their baked goods at a Friday night gathering at Greeks Next Door, a craft bottle shop in Narberth. They still contribute to this gathering (though like all gatherings it is on hiatus right now).
Chris on the other hand came to Sterling Pig on purpose just to meet Jerry, whose excellence as an artisan baker was well-known. The Culinary Arts program at Delaware County Community College, where Chris is studying, doesn’t offer many summer classes, so Chris had a little time on his hands, even though he was still working two other jobs. In this free time, he hoped to apprentice with an artisan baker. People told him about Jerry and said, “Go to Sterling Pig, he’s always there.” Chris met Jerry and asked to learn the craft of artisan baking by volunteering. Jerry agreed, and paid him for his help instead of having him volunteer. Every Friday, he would take Jerry’s baked goods to the Greeks Next Door.
How The Guild Began
Once school started again, Chris’s apprenticeship ended. Soon after that, Jerry suggested they start a guild. He had lived in Europe (read more about that here). There, he appreciated the long history of guilds that allowed artisans to network and support each other. And thus the Media Bakers Guild was born: existing to collaborate and help each other out, and meeting weekly at–you guessed it–the Sterling Pig.
What Each Member Brings
Jerry brings savory European breads, pizzas, baguettes and Bavarian pretzels. Terry focuses on sweet baked goods (often cookies, tarts, scones, shortbread, mini bundt cakes). Chris makes authentic Belgian waffles through Waffles for Tourette, which raises awareness for Tourette Syndrome while also providing customers with delicious Liège waffles.
They also bring different skill sets. Jerry had toured Europe learning the art of European baking. Chris’s studies have allowed him to introduce new trends and ways to streamline their processes. Terry knows how to bake large volumes efficiently, having managed restaurants for years. He also knows what they’re spending, down to the penny! His classic marble-design composition book and pencil are never far away from him. Chris says he can ask him, “how much will this cost to make?” and he always knows!
Jerry says what he loves about the guild is the chance to work with two people who are so committed to excellence. They are all very dedicated to the craft of baking and encourage each other’s dedication.
The Bakers Guild at Wolff’s
During events at Wolff’s, the bakers guild brings specialty items. Events, and the associated baked goods, are often centered around a theme. For instance, for an event before February’s Big Game, they brought high-end stuffed breads, somewhat like Stromboli, with premium meats and cheeses. They also brought cornbreads and brownies, with the thought that people could use their baked goods at their Big Game party.
Chris appreciates the media guild events in a way that’s particularly relevant for locals. He grew up nearby and notes that growing up in the suburbs meant having a certain longing for the allure of “cool” things in the city. The city, however, was a pain to get to–always tedious to fight through traffic. Bakeries were scarce in the suburbs, so he appreciates how the bakers guild brings a boulangerie to the suburbs: a neighborhood bakery where people can get fresh baguettes, loaves for dinner or snacks, all made with local, hearty, nutritious ingredients.
On March 21 at Wolff’s, Terry and Jerry will be making French-style beignets filled with chocolate, French pastry creme and jelly. Jerry will also be making a multigrain bread with Sterling Pig Schwarzbier and lots of oats. Right now, Jerry is supplying Wolff’s with baked goods most days. You don’t have to wait until Friday to get your fix of his artisan sourdoughs, Bavarian pretzels, pizzas, and more. His latest offering? Cream or jelly filled brioche doughnuts!