Publish Date: 08/29/2016
The crew at BowStern brings creativity, passion, and a competitive edge to everything we do. Outdoor picnics turn into field days with teams competing in volleyball, football, and cricket. Pool parties are quickly organized into water balloon-throwing tournaments, and winners of cannonball competitions are chosen within an hour of dipping our toes. So naturally, we feel the need to turn something simple like sharing baked treats with coworkers into a competition, complete with secret ballots and a trophy embossed with the names of baking champions.
The tradition began when British crew member Jeremy Spinks announced he was bringing his mincemeat pies as a Christmas treat for the office. Honorary Briton Ashleigh Melvin, who spent over a decade across the pond, felt confident in her ability to make something as dubiously named as “mincemeat” into a tasty treat that would outdo even an English-born expatriate. A couple more people jumped in the mix, a three-inch-high golden trophy was purchased, and the first BowStern Bake-Off was born.
Besides earning major street cred around the office, a new Bake-Off champion has the honor of choosing the next month’s baking challenge. That first month when Ashleigh’s mincemeat pies won us over, she chose pecan pie. It remains one of the fiercest bake-offs we’ve had, where even the pronunciation of pecan was up for judgment. It’s pronounced puh-kan, not pee-can, as we were quick to discover from our more Southern crewmates. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of baking (and more importantly, eating) everything from complicated goods like donuts and cheesecake to staple American desserts, such as chocolate chip cookies and key lime pie.
This September, in honor of the last days of summer, BowStern will be choosing their favorite apple pie. Champion hopefuls have a lot to consider when deciding on what they hope will be a winning recipe. With a dish as traditional as apple pie, is it better to stick to basics like Mom used to make? Or should you try something a little different in the hopes of standing out but run the risk of alienating your tasters if it should fail? One thing is certain – the heat is always on at BowStern, and sometimes we use that heat to bake.
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