At his Brooklyn bakery, the latest New Yorker of the Week is using his culinary background to teach others the skills they need in any profession. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
Quality bread doesn't take seconds to bake. In the same way, a career doesn't develop overnight. Patience is just one of the lessons Zachary Golper teaches students looking to enter the food industry.
"You're going to learn how to bake in a bakery. The reality is that I'm going to teach these kids how to write a resume that will get them noticed, how to pass an interview, having patience with themselves, but having determination to continue to try harder," Zachary says.
Zachary does all of this inside his Brooklyn bakery through his program, "Starter Culture." Since 2011, it has introduced dozens of high school students to artisanal bread baking for free.
"It's always been something that I was interested in since I was young," says student Joel Lloyd. "My grandma used to bake a lot back home in Trinidad, and it was really fun to be there in the kitchen with her."
The idea started when Zachary noticed so many young New Yorkers with unhealthy eating habits. His students learn about wholesome ingredients, accurate measurement techniques and the skills needed to take this hands-on work to the next level.
"The process of doing that encourages them to understand that they themselves are in the preparation process, and it takes time," Zachary says. "As they go through experience and gain knowledge that little by little, they're going to be stronger members of the community."
"Starter Culture" partners with several schools across the city. Beyond practical skills, Zachary hopes to inspire confidence.
"Before, I was really shy. I didn't like to talk to people. So I talk to everyone now," says student Nicole Gracino. "Like, when I bake something, when I make something, I like everyone to taste it, I like them to tell me that it's good. And how he is, how he makes me feel, like, as a person, actually changed me."
"We teach them how to work together and how to work in a kitchen," says Matt Frankel, culinary arts teacher at George Westinghouse High School. "So it's like a sense of community. That's what I'm very proud of them about."
So, for helping students rise to life's challenges, Zachary Golper is the latest New Yorker of the Week.
For more information about Zachary's Starter Culture program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.