Good Cakes and Bakes chef and owner April Anderson has been chosen by the James Beard Foundation to be part of the culinary group’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change.
The Detroit pastry chef is one of 15 professionals chosen for the camp, which aims to provide an opportunity for chefs to become more effective leaders in the fight for sustainability and justice in the food and restaurant world. The camp includes a geographically, culturally, and demographically diverse group of chefs who will visit farms, slaughterhouses and fisheries, and participate in a collaborative dinner.
“For me personally, it’s a wonderful opportunity because it allows me to be around other chefs and like-minded chefs who are about policy change and about social change,” she said. “Becoming a boot camp alum opens doors and gives us opportunities and resources that other chefs don’t have.”
Anderson opened her organic bakery Good Cakes and Bakes at 19363 Livernois in Detroit with her wife Michelle in 2013, and has created a name for herself nationally. She’s baked for Oprah Winfrey and has appeared on a panel about Detroit with President Bill Clinton during his CGI America event in April 2015.
This opportunity, Anderson says, is more important than putting Winfrey's or Clinton’s name on her resume, though, because of the impact it will allow her to have on others.
“(Boot camp) will be an opportunity for not only me, but for growth within the staff,” she said. “I’m going to bring these things back not only to my staff but to the organization that I’m a part of, FoodLab Detroit.”
Good Cakes and Bakes is one of 200 businesses involved in FoodLab, which propels a food movement in Detroit that helps businesses be sustainable, ethical and profitable.
The boot camp started in 2012 and has holds sessions a few times each year. The first session included Alex Young, who was with Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor at the time. Detroit chefs that have been invited to participate include Ben Hall from Russell Street Deli and Phil Jones of Colors Restaurant, both in 2013.
Anderson says Good Cakes and Bakes employs seven people at a living wage, and will hire more customer service employees for the upcoming summer season. Her business puts a priority on hiring Detroiters and people who may have barriers to employment.
Customers of the Detroit café enjoy not just cakes, but muffins, scones, breakfast bread, coffee cake, brownies, cheesecake, cookies and more, including vegan treats.
Good Cakes and Bakes is open noon-8 p.m. Tues. and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed.-Sat. Call (313) 466-5159 or visit goodcakesandbakes.com.