RBA Emeritus

Established in 2007, the emeritus membership was designed by the Retail Bakers of America to honor those who influenced the association and the industry. With numerous baking and decorating professionals, and those of the equipment supplier community, who continue to be active and contribute to the association and the industry, RBA decided to recognize their work by establishing this new membership category.

RBA’s Board of Directors nominates individuals from their regional associations, highlighting the significant contributions made to the Association and the industry. The membership class is for retired and semi-retired individuals, who are awarded an individual lifetime membership.

This year’s Emeritus winners are Noble Masi, CMB, Shirley Ryan Rose, and Tony Stricker.


Noble Masi, CMB

Noble Masi, a retired baking and pastry arts professor from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), is one of the three longest serving professors in the history of the CIA. Since retiring in 2000, Chef Masi was named a CIA Heritage professor in 2006, and during his 35-year tenure, he served as chairman of the baking department, coordinator of the Progressive Learning Year system, director of continuing education and the director of education.

Chef Masi was named “Chef of the Year” by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) in 1999. He earned the ACF’s Professionalism Award in 1996 and was the organization’s “Educator of the Year” in 1982.

Noble was introduced to the foodservice industry through his family’s bakery and added to his knowledge at the Food & Maritime Trades High School in New York City. He then studied at the American Institute of Baking and became a member of the American Society of Baking Engineers. Chef Masi holds an associate degree in business and a Bachelor of Science degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of New Haven in new Haven, CT. 

An advisor to the Culinary Institute of Canada and the University of the British West Indies, Chef Masi is a member of the American Academy of Chefs (the ACF’s honor society) and the Order of the Golden Toque. He is a Certified Executive Pastry Chef, a Certified Hospitality Educator and received his Master Baker certification through the RBA. He also served the RBA as Chairman of the RBA’s Master Baker Exam.

Chef Masi has also served as a program administrator of the ACF Master Chef Certification Program and founded the Mid-Hudson Culinary Association, where he served as Chairman of the Board.

He is the author of Baking Fundamentals, a publication available for purchase at RBA’s booth at the IBIE Convention Center (and if you’re lucky, you may receive an autograph copy). This book is a must have for everyone in our industry and of course.

Shirley Ryan Rose

Shirley became synonymous with cake decorating and is considered one of the premier cake decorating trainers in the country. She was the inspiration to many including Larry Powell, one of RBA’s 2009 Emeritus Award winners. Like many in the industry, it was that first job at a bakery that started a lifelong passion. Working at Rosebud Bakery in Eugene, Oregon, at the age of 17, one of Shirley’s responsibilities was to make posters. Seeing her hidden talent the bakery asked Shirley to learn how to decorate. Though she had no training, Shirley had drive to get better, which meant some very late night hours practicing and honing her skills. Because she was self-taught there were no boundaries to restrict her imagination. This included making the world’s tallest cake at over 32 feet for a local TV station and to support the Girls and Boys Clubs of the area. 

Shirley worked at the Cake Box Bakery and for Continental Mills for over 42 years decorating cakes and being an important part of their cake mix marketing. But it was her willingness to travel to others, demonstrating, and expanding the art of cake decorating that we see as Shirley’s greatest accomplishments. She has always been willing and looked for opportunities to pass on her skills. 

Shirley has contributed articles on cake decorating with step-by-step instructions for Modern Baking Magazine and the American Cake Decorating Magazine. She has made dozens of videos for training decorators that are available and timely today. She is currently on the Renton Technical College Board of their baking program helping to insure that cake decorating continues to reach for new heights. 

Shirley has been honored many times by the Retail Bakers of America and several of its affiliates as she has been an important part of their workshops; her educational classes have always had great attendance and rave reviews. 

Shirley received the Presidential Award for her contributions to the RBA in 1993; she became a member of the Pacific Northwest Hall of Fame for ICES and was awarded the leadership Award by Modern Baking magazine in 2003.  After the passing of her husband John, she decided it was time to again turn to her passion of specialty cake decorating by doing some decorating training and making special event cakes for bakery shows. 

Tony Stricker

Tony Stricker, a baker with the mind and vision of an engineer, always looked for ways to make the baker’s work life a little easier. A lot can be said from a simple statement his father made about him at a very early age. “With Tony, everything has to have a motor.”

As Tony tells the families’ history, there were no bakers in Switzerland as they all came from France and Germany. But as the start of World War TWO began to heat up, the French and German bakers were called to their homelands to fight. So Tony’s father found work learning the trade of cake baking and his future father-in-law learned the trade of bread baking.

An intertwined history of two Chicago bakery families, the Stricker’s and the Planzer’s continued as they struggled through the depression. Tony met his wife, Shirley, at the tender age of 5. Unfortunately, Shirely is no longer with us.

It was quite a journey through the struggles of depression in Chicago to Tony’s new life of a rural farmer in Harvard, Illinois. As Tony says “no cash flow in farming lead me to look for a job in town.” By then, the Planzer’s owned the bakery in Harvard so Tony took a job there until he could work at a real job. Nearly 60 years of a very successful, Swiss Maid Bakery. Tony, I guess you should probably stop looking.

Tony and Shirley had 6 boys, all of which took their place in the family bakery at one time or another. Many of them are still involved in the baking world today. Tony’s passion for creating and making a bakery a better place to work continues today as you can find him in the machine shop of The Practical Baker. “It must have a motor” lives on!

Tony’s ideas continue to spread across the baking industry. From the days that he has cookie machine dies made and sold them to area bakeries or gave them to those who couldn’t afford them, to helping us turn refrigeration into a proof box overnight so the baker’s did not have to get up so early. Tony has always been a sharing person. Streusel sifters and applicators, pumpkin pie pumps, manufacturing cookie machines and dies, rebuilding mixers and makeup tables, and just recently, launching a new cupcake icing machine to the industry – these examples show us how Tony has shared his visionary talent with other bakers. Whether it’s with the Chicago Group called “The Dirty Dozen Bakers” also known as Chicago Area Retail Bakers Association, or as a mentor and father figure to many younger bakers, it has always been about helping bakers improve their business and life. Tony is the eternal light of optimism. After he leaves your bakery from a visit, you are left with an inspiration to reach new heights.

2011 RBA Emeritus Class

To nominate someone for the 2011 RBA Emeritus Award, please contact Paul Sapienza at psapienza@rbanet.com.

Retail Bakers of America (RBA) – a 501(c)6 not-for-profit trade association caters to retail bakeries, allied suppliers, educators, students and other industry partners, and is committed to the success of the retail baking industry. Founded in 1918, RBA works as the bakers’ business partner and resource provider, and is the nation’s premier source of industry information. 

All Things Baking is a new, national trade show that will serve as the industry’s annual marketplace, meeting place and educational forum during the two-year gap in the IBIE rotation. Sponsored by Retail Bakers of America, American Bakers Association and Bakery Equipment Manufacturers Association, this show will be an exciting, high-energy event with educational and exhibit offerings focused on keeping baking and food service professionals on the leading edge of consumer trends. Professional bakers, caterers, restaurateurs, pastry chefs, cake decorators, chocolatiers, bakery directors and other culinary professionals are invited to attend to explore the ever-changing art of pastries, desserts and breads, hone their skills and get the information, answers and strategies they need to make their businesses more productive and profitable.